After launching a redesigned MacBook Air with a 13.6-inch display and M2 processor in the summer of 2022, Apple is reportedly working on a new, larger, model. According to numerous reports, Apple is developing a 15-inch Air for the first time, which could launch in 2023. It’s a project with a very long history: As revealed in documentation used in the Apple and Epic court battle, Steve Jobs discussed a 15-inch MacBook Air as far back as 2007, prior to the release of the 13-inch MacBook Air in 2008.
Update 03/06/23: Mark Gurman is claiming that the 15-inch MacBook Air will be one of three new Macs coming this spring and summer.
Will there be a 15-inch MacBook Air? Latest news
In his newsletter on March 5 Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman indicated that mass production of the displays is underway and the 15-inch MacBook Air could be announced in March, with a release in April. More on that below.
In a tweet on February 13, Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants said the 15.5-inch panel for the new MacBook Air has entered production. Given the usual timeframe for such a thing, this suggests a launch in early April of 2023.
In a January 2023 Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman wrote that the 15-inch MacBook Air will be a “major saving grace for the Mac lineup,” in 2023. This isn’t the first we’ve heard of the larger MacBook Air: Gurman and others have been sharing details of the unreleased Mac laptop for some time.
Gurman first wrote way back in January 2021 that Apple had explored the idea of a 15-inch MacBook Air. Gurman’s sources suggested that Apple wishes to introduce this new model in order to grow its slice of the laptop market with more models and more choice for consumers.
Following that report, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also tweeted about a 15-inch MacBooks, indicating that this new model could arrive in 2023 and that it may offer an M2 Pro chip. Interestingly, Kuo, unlike Gurman and Young, doesn’t refer to this as a MacBook Air, but rather calls it a MacBook.
15-inch MacBook Air: Release date
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has for a while suggested that the new MacBook Air could see a spring 2023 launch. This could mean a March or April launch–Apple often holds a Spring Event: such as the one for the 24-inch iMac in 2021. Display analyst Ross Young says the panel entered production in February, which suggests a launch around early April. Analyst Ming Chi Kuo also indicates that the 15-inch MacBook Air will arrive in the second quarter of 2023 or later.
Alternatively we could see Apple announce the new Macs without an event, instead issuing press releases to announce the new products, as it did with the iPads in 2022.
Gurman’s March 5 newsletter suggested that the 15-inch MacBook Air with M2 or M2 Pro “could be announced in March (likely with a glossy site update and not a live event), with a release in early April.”
Another possibility is that Apple will unveil the new MacBook Air at WWDC 2023 in June. Gurman notes that the M2 chips were introduced at WWDC in 2022 and that could mean we will see M3 chips at the June event. In that case: “Having the new MacBook Air sport the M3 would also make sense from a timing perspective.”
15-inch MacBook Air: Price
To get an idea of how Apple will price the new 15-inch MacBook Air, we can look at the prices of Apple’s current line up of Mac laptops.
13-inch M2 MacBook Air: $1,199/£1,249 or $1,499/£1,549.
13-inch M2 MacBook Pro: $1,299/£1,349 or $1,499/£1,549.
14-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro: starts at $1,999/£2,149
16-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro: starts at $2,499/£2,699
Looking at that line up the first challenge is working out where the new 15-inch MacBook would sit. Assuming it’s a MacBook Air without a fan, introducing a 15-inch MacBook as a replacement for the 13-inch MacBook Pro makes a lot of sense. If that was the case we’d expect pricing to be slightly above what the 13-inch MacBook Pro costs right now, so: $1,399/£1,449 or $1,599/£1,649.
If it’s more of a higher-end model, it could start as high as $1,799, the starting price for the original MacBook Air back in 2008.
Note that we may see prices rise when the new Macs are introduced. In October 2022 Apple increased prices of iPads outside the U.S. in line with currency fluctuations.
15-inch MacBook Air: Design and display
When Apple first announced the MacBook Air in 2008, it was only available in a 13-inch model, though an 11-inch model was added in 2010 and discontinued in 2015. So offering two sizes of the MacBook Air wouldn’t be unprecedented.
Nor will it be the first time Apple has sold a 15-inch laptop. Apple introduced the popular 15-inch PowerBook in 2001 and the 15-inch MacBook Pro in 2006. Apple continued to sell a version of the 15-inch MacBook Pro until it was replaced with the 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2019.
The last model of the 15-inch MacBook Pro had a 15.4-inch screen and dimensions of 13.75 inches (34.93 cm) x 9.48 inches (24.07 cm) x 0.61 inch (1.55 cm). A newer model would have smaller bezels like the M2 MacBook Air, so the screen could be a big bigger. For example, the M2 MacBook Air has a slightly larger 13.6-inch display compared to the 13.3-inch display in the MacBook Pro and M1 MacBook Air, but the dimensions are practically identical.
However, Apple could be going even smaller instead. Analyst Ross Young, who correctly predicted the M2 Air’s 13.6-inch display, suggested in March 2022 that the screen on this new model will measure 15.2 inches. That would be about a quarter-inch smaller than the 15-inch MacBook Pro and much smaller in stature, likely measuring around 12.5 inches x 8.75 inches. Along with smaller bezels, the new 15-inch display will likely feature a notch and have a thin profile of less than half-an-inch. Later reports have said the panel will measure 15.5 inches.
While there have been rumors that the MacBook Air would get a mini-LED display in 2022, Apple opted to use a similar LCD panel for the redesigned laptop. So it seems that ProMotion mini-LED tech will be reserved for the higher-end MacBook Pro models so the new 15-inch MacBook Air likely won’t offer either feature. In addition, Apple may be planning an OLED upgrade in 2024, according to analyst Ross Young, so don’t expect this technology until next year.
We assume the 15-inch MacBook Air will come in colors other than silver and space gray like the 13-inch model. We haven’t heard rumors about specific options, though there were previous rumors about a green version of the M2 MacBook Air that never materialized.
15-inch MacBook Air: Specs
We don’t know much about the specs of this new laptop, but Kuo tweeted in June that Apple may offer two CPU options: an M2 like in the new MacBook Air and a M2 Pro option. The M2 Pro is currently only offered in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models and Mac mini.
If Kuo is correct, it’s hard to believe that new laptop will be marketed as a MacBook Air. A M2 Pro equipped Air would require at least one fan for cooling, as with the higher-end Pros, or substantial changes to the Air’s thermal design, likely resulting in a thicker case. So it’s possible that Kuo is wrong or his source has confused the 15-inch MacBook Air with another laptop.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman expects that the 15-inch MacBook Air will ship with an M2, and maybe an M2 Pro chip. He feels that “A 15-inch MacBook Air with an M2 chip may still excite consumers”, but he also notes the possibility that the MacBook Air could soon ship with an M3 chip. More here.
For other features, we expect this new model to be similar to the 13-inch Air. It will likely feature 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM in the entry-level model with 512GB and 1TB, and 16GB and 24GB options. It will also probable have a MagSafe charging port and two Thunderbolt 4 ports as well as a 1080p FaceTime camera. Finally, the new Air will likely ship with Apple’s new dual-port 35W adapter.