MacBook Air (2022): rumors, news and leaks

The Apple MacBook Air currently sits comfortably at the top of our list for both the best Apple laptop and the best laptop on the market you can buy right now, and for good reason. One of Apple’s most popular products, this premium-feeling ultra portable is the most affordable MacBook on the market, making it accessible for working professionals and students alike.

It’s been almost a full year since Apple revealed the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) in November 2020, alongside other Apple silicon products like the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020), and Mac mini (2020).

As we approach it’s first birthday, the Silicon-powered MacBook Air could be due for a design refresh, and rumors all point to Apple’s next-generation laptop being launched on October 18 at the company’s Fall 2021 event.

The current MacBook Air offers an 8-core Apple M1 system on a chip (SoC) that integrates the CPU, GPU, and other essential inner workings into a singular, powerful chip. While the design has remained unchanged since 2018, the most recent model is rocking a CPU 3.5x faster and GPU 5x faster than the previous, Intel powered version. 

Alongside other benefits we expect to continue over to the MacBook Air 2022, you also have a fanless design for silent working and the existing battery, which even if remained unchanged provides the longest battery life seen to date on Mac Laptop.

While the current model is a fantastic product, there are improvements to be made, with many rumors suggesting that a complete redesign is planned that will feature a spectrum of colorful chassis to choose from, inspired by classic Mac products, much like we saw with the 2021 iMac and 4th generation iPad Air release.

The current webcam remains at 720p despite 1080 resolutions for broadcasting cameras being the standard for some time now (with the new iMac also featuring an improved full HD webcam), and the M1-powered MacBook Air was actually a step back regarding connecting to additional displays as you can only run one external monitor with the current model. For context, the last Intel-based MacBook Air could run two 4K external monitors, so we might see this feature return.

MacBook Air (2022): Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The new MacBook Air (2022)
  • When is it out? Likely Q3-Q4 of 2021
  • What will it cost? Unknown, but likely similar to current pricing (starting at $999/£999)

MacBook Air (2022): release date and price

A row of colorful MacBook Air renders against a plain backdrop

(Image credit: Jon Prosser)

Apple could reveal the MacBook Air (2022) during it’s event on 18 October, though the redesigned laptop has been speculated for so long that we even anticipated a potential announcement back during the iPhone reveal event on September 14

The latest 24-inch iMac was only released back in May 2021, and given that featured the same M1 SoC as the first wave of Apple silicon, it’s anyone’s guess as to if this latest MacBook Air will offer the very same M1 with a complete design update, or if a new chip will be revealed during the Fall event.

The current MacBook Air model is also still relatively new at just under a year old, so while we’re expecting new laptops to be announced on October 18, this could be the highly anticipated MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch, which would then mean the new MacBook Air announcement will be bumped into 2022.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, supply issues could even push this model to an early 2022 debut, a claim backed up by additional production estimates by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In fact, given we expect these two upcoming MacBook Pro models to contain a currently unannounced upgraded chip (likely the M1X), it’s unlikely that the 2022 MacBook Air will contain the same, ultrapowerful Soc during the same release window.

There’s no official murmurings on price yet, but we anticipate the new MacBook Air will start at $999 / £999, just like the current model.

MacBook Air (2022): design

Possible MacBook Air (2021) design

(Image credit: Jon Prosser / RendesByIan)

Regardless of when the new MacBook Air arrives, there’s been plenty of leaks and speculation regarding its new design to make it worth the wait. We anticipated back in April that the MacBook Air is overdue for its own colorful redesign following the release of the 24-inch iMac during the Spring Loaded event, when the new models took inspiration from some classic, colorful Mac designs.

This was reinforced when serial Apple leader John Prosser claimed that the MacBook Air (2021) could launch in the same seven colors as the iMac (2021). These colors are Blue, Green, Pink, Silver, Yellow, Orange, and Purple.

According to renders provided by Prosser, these new MacBook Air laptops could also feature white keycaps, larger function keys, and a slightly smaller trackpad. The chassis is also noticeably slimmer and ‘boxier’, doing away with the current sloped edges and instead opting for a very modern, blunt edge. With these rumors all collated, it would seem this anticipated redesign will be the thinnest, lightest MacBook Air to date.

Additional leaks and rumors also suggest that the entire 2021 MacBook lineup is expected to see the return of MagSafe charging, with analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also suggesting the 2022 MacBook Air will feature a Mini-LED display, citing “burn-in concerns” as Apple’s reasoning for not opting for OLED.

MacBook Air (2022): leaks and rumors

Possible MacBook Air (2021) design

(Image credit: Jon Prosser / RendesByIan)

A thinner design suggests that the MacBook Air (2021) will include some variance of the Apple M1 SoC, though it’s unclear right now if this will be the same M1 chip featuring in the current MacBook Air, or a new all-in-one M2 SoC.

It’s been suggested that a beefier M1X will be reserved for the MacBook Pro devices, which could enhance the chances of both ranges being announced on October 18.

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Outside of the chip itself, it’s likely that Apple will keep many of the other specifications the same as the current model. This is the ‘budget’ laptop option after all, so any boost to power could push the price higher and eat into the market for the MacBook Pro. 

This means you’ll see a choice between 8GB or 16GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of SSD, alongside established features like the Magic Keyboard, and Touch ID. We’re also anticipating thinner bezels, a 13-inch display (as is currently the standard), and an improved 1080p webcam. Updated webcam tech was featured on the 2021 iMac, with Apple claiming this to be the “best camera ever in a Mac”, so we’d be surprised if this isn’t extended across the entire range of MacBook devices given how dire the current 720p webcam performance is.

While the number of ports on the MacBook Pro (2021) is expected to jump, the same might not happen on the MacBook Air (2021), which will likely remain at two ports. 

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