Apple MacBook: is a 15-inch Air and 12-inch laptop on the way?

A bigger Air and smaller device are reported to be in the works

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Apple has announced an update to its MacBook range, with the launch of its second-generation M2 chip set to supercharge the latest iteration of the MacBook Air.

However, there could be more changes to its popular laptop range, according to reports, as it looks to expand its share of the market.

Here is what we know so far:

Release date: a 15-inch screen MacBook Air for 2023

Fresh from the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference at Apple Park in Cupertino, where a host of software updates were announced, attention is now on the future hardware the company will release.

While the iPhone 14 is expected in September, two new sizes of MacBook Air are reportedly in the pipeline for a release at a later date.

Bloomberg reported that Apple is working on a larger MacBook Air with a 15-inch screen for release as early as next spring, marking the first model of that size in the MacBook Air’s 14-year history.

This is a wider version of the 13.6-inch MacBook Air that Apple announced this week, and is considered to be the biggest overhaul to the device since it was introduced by Steve Jobs in 2008.

It is also said to be working on a smaller 12-inch version of the MacBook, which would be its smallest laptop since it discontinued the 12-inch MacBook in 2019.

Its last 12-inch laptop was released in 2015 but suffered from sluggish performance, and it is not clear if the forthcoming version will be part of the Air range, or more high-end MacBook Pro range.

Apple is also planning new high-end MacBook Pros with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips for as early as the end of 2022, although the release date may slip into early 2023, Bloomberg reported.

These new 14-inch and 16-inch models, code-named J414 and J416, will not be radically new products beyond offering the speedier chips. Apple is also releasing a new 13-inch MacBook Pro next month with the same M2 chip as the MacBook Air.


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The new M2 chip

Built using the second-generation five-nanometre technology, M2 silicon comes with central processing unit that is 18 per cent faster than the M1.

It offers a graphics processing unit that is 35 per cent more powerful and a neural engine that is 40 per cent faster, the company said.

“M2 starts the second generation of M-series chips and goes beyond the remarkable features of M1,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technology, while unveiling the new chip.

Apple said that the M2 chip is designed to dramatically speed up video workflows. It has also added a next-generation media engine and a powerful ProRes video engine for hardware-accelerated encode and decode, so systems with M2 will be able to play back more streams of 4K and 8K video than before.

The new MacBook Air has a larger display with thinner borders, giving users more screen real estate. The battery life allows for up to 18 hours of video playback.

What else was announced at WWDC 2022?

Apple unveiled iOS 16 — one of the biggest upgrades in the history of iPhones.

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, said iOS 16 was “a big release with updates that will change the way you experience iPhone”.

It features new personalisation features, iCloud photo sharing, updates to Messages, Apple Pay Later and a fitness app that does not require an Apple Watch.

Apple also unveiled macOS Ventura, the latest version of the desktop operating system, and the next generation of CarPlay, which will be able to provide content for several screens within the vehicle, creating an experience that is “unified and consistent”, Apple said.


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Updated: June 23, 2022, 7:21 AM