Forget The New MacBook Pro, Apple Has Something Better

Forget The New MacBook Pro, Apple Has Something Better

Updated February 19: article originally published February 18

What’s one of the major missing features of the MacBook Air? How about a bigger screen?

Unlike the MacBook Pro family, MacBook Air is locked to one screen size. If you want a macOS laptop with a bigger screen, you have no choice but to opt for the more expensive and, in all likelihood, overpowered MacBook Pro. It’s the choice today, but if you want a better option, you have to wait. Apple has something big planned for 2023.

Update: Sunday, February 18: We’re expecting that new macOS laptop as soon as possible. Jason Cross examines what we know about Apple’s plans for 2023and offers a schedule for the arrival of this new MacBook Air:

“So while the April date isn’t set in stone – it’s an estimate based on supply chain calendars – it looks like a 15-inch MacBook Air is almost certainly in road and will likely arrive no later than WWDC in June. If you’re excited about the prospect of such a product, start saving your money. This is the closest confirmation we’ve ever received for unannounced Apple products.”

Apple has another big project in the works, namely its augmented reality headset. Writing for Bloomberg’s Power on newsletter, Mark Gurman suggests that WWDC is going to focus on this brave new world. Given that, and Apple’s recent propensity for making smaller releases via press release rather than a large-scale event, this quiet April date seems more likely.

Apple’s iPhone portfolio has grown over the past decade to accommodate more prices, more features, and more models. It’s certainly helped with sales, but it also makes the buying decision a more personal experience, although the options always tend to go up all at once… if you want a bigger phone, you’ll have to upgrade to a superior model. This model also has higher specs, probably more storage and a more powerful processor. You can’t just increase one feature and leave the rest as is.

The same is true in the Mac world, especially with Apple laptops. If you want a more powerful CPU, you’ll move to the next tier of the portfolio, which means more processing power, more highly-specified features, and more cost. The a la carte approach to the Windows PC market barely exists within Apple.

But that simple sliding scale of “best laptops” will be challenged later this year with the launch of a new MacBook Air.

This MacBook Air will deliver something that fans of Apple’s consumer-focused laptop have repeatedly asked for. A bigger screen. Apple is reportedly making these new laptops and display components right now..

Why is this new MacBook Air so interesting? Because these reports also indicate that Apple is offering the 15-inch MacBook Air with the same Apple Silicon M2 chipset as the 13-inch MacBook Air models. Right now, if you want a larger-screen MacBook, you have no choice but to upgrade to the 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro models, with the old-school leaps in specs and performance.

The 15-inch MacBook Air looks like a simple screen “swap”. There will no doubt be a price increase for the larger screen, but there won’t be a cost increase as Apple incorporates faster widgets to increase the dollars on the sticker.

A quick sidebar; some reports suggest that Apple may include an option on this 15-inch MacBook Air to upgrade the processor to the MacBook Pro family’s M2 Pro chipset. If this is the only 15-inch option, it would be a curious option from Apple. If that happens, I hope Apple offers both the M2 and M2 Pro for a larger MacBook Air.

With the upcoming MacBook Air, Apple is opening up the Mac laptop portfolio to give consumers more choice at every price point. While Apple’s approach is still far less modular or feature-rich than the competition, this change will be welcomed by many. Assuming the 15in option is just the bigger screen and no bells or whistles added to raise the price.

Now read the latest MacBook, iPhone and App Store news in Forbes’ weekly Apple Loop column…

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