The latest Apple rumors say a 15-inch MacBook Air could arrive as soon as April. That’s just two months away! Does this make any sense? Should you believe it? What about M3 MacBooks later this year, or a return of the 12-inch “MacBook”? Let’s go through each one.
15-inch MacBook Air: Likely
A low-end 15-inch MacBook—we’ll discuss the Air branding later—makes sense. A significant percentage of users want a big-screen laptop larger than 13.6 or 14.2 inches, and Apple’s got nothing to offer them for less than the $2,499 MacBook Pro. What’s more, there’s a huge price gap between the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air starting at $1,199 and the 14-inch MacBook Pro starting at $1,999.
The latest rumors about the 15-inch MacBook come from pretty reliable sources. Ross Young of Display Chain Supply Consultants has had a few misses in the past, but typically when he says “production has begun” he’s right on the money. Prolific (and often accurate) Apple leaker Mark Gurman has been saying that this larger MacBook is coming since last year, and as early as January reiterated that it would be a major saving grace for the Mac lineup in 2023.
Most of the rumors refer to this new MacBook as a larger version of the MacBook Air, which would take away the last remaining remnant of the MacBook Air’s original identity. Apple already took away the ultra-thin wedge design when the M2 model arrived last year, and with a 15-inch display, it would no longer be Apple’s lightest or most portable MacBook either. But since the MacBook Air is Apple’s most recognizable, and we assume best selling MacBook, so the reports of Apple using the Air name are probably true.
So while the April date is not set in stone–that’s an estimate based on supply chain timetables–it seems as though a 15-inch MacBook Air is almost certainly on the way 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 as close to a confirmation as we ever get for unannounced Apple products.
M3 MacBook Air: Plausible
When it comes to other MacBook rumors, the situation is a lot more sketchy. Many sources say that Apple is expected to release the M3 processor this year–probably in the fourth quarter. If true, that would likely come at a late fall event in October.
The timing for an M3 announcement makes sense, as a late 2023 release would put it about a year and a half behind the introduction of the M2 and three years after the M1. If Apple unveils the new chip, you can probably count on an update to the 13.6-inch M2 MacBook Air at the same time, as well as the 24-inch iMac and maybe the Mac mini.
If the M3 arrives in October, the M3 Pro and M3 Max probably won’t make an appearance until mid-2024. After all, we just got MacBook Pros with the M2 Pro and M2 Max last month, and while reports say Apple planned to ship them a few months earlier, a major upgrade later in 2023 is perhaps too quick of a pace.
12-inch MacBook: Very skeptical
Finally, a recent rumor points to the revival of the polarizing 12-inch MacBook, a successor to the model sold from 2015-2017. That rumor’s source is a post on the Korean blog Naver from a user with a sketchy track record who claims to know someone in the Taiwan supply chain—so it should be taken with a huge grain of salt.
However, there have been previous rumors that Apple is working on a laptop smaller than 13 inches. Gurman reported in June that Apple was working on a 12-inch laptop that was pitched as a far-future consideration due for release in late 2023 or 2024. Ming-Chi Kuo, on the other hand, reported at the same time that he hadn’t heard of any plans for the rumored 12-inch MacBook yet. But it’s been more than six months since we heard anything about a 12-inch MacBook, so we’re not holding our breath.
Plus a 12-inch model would add yet another option in a sea of them: 13.3 inches (M1 MacBook Air, M2 MacBook Pro), 13.6 inches (M2 MacBook Air), 14.2 inches (M2 Pro/M2 Max MacBook Pro), 15 inches (rumored MacBook Air), and 16.2 inches (M2 Pro/M2 Max MacBook Pro). Do we really need a 12-inch model? Who is it for?
Let’s say that while we wouldn’t be surprised to see M3 MacBooks released late this year, we’re not holding our breath that a new 12-inch model will be one of them until we see more concrete evidence.