Apple plans thinner, high-end MacBook Air

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 22
A revamped MacBook Air will reportedly feature next-generation Apple Silicon, and a MagSafe charger, plus become both thinner and lighter.

Having a coffee while working on the 2020 MacBook Air
Having a coffee while working on the 2020 MacBook Air


Following previous claims that the MacBook Air will be revamped in 2022 with a mini LED screen, a new report says it will may be released sooner -- and will feature a more substantial redesign. Alongside potential changes to the display, it's said that Apple will cut both the weight and size of its current lightest notebook.

According to Bloomberg, the new MacBook Air will not replace the current one, but rather fit into the lineup as a higher-end option.

It is expected to feature the next generation of Apple Silicon, and to be released in 2022. However, the publication claims that it is also possible that it will come out in the second half of 2021.

Reportedly, Apple has looked at reducing the size of the MacBook Air by retaining the current 13-inch display size yet reducing the bezels around it. It has also evaluated producing a 15-inch version, though the unnamed sources claim that Apple has decided against that for this version.

Bloomberg's report does not mention mini LED, but does follow a Ming Chi-Kuo prediction that Apple will reintroduce MagSafe to the Mac. Kuo only specified that it would be in the MacBook Pro models, however.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,422member
    I have a feeling the current M1 systems were a stop-gap solution using current designs to get them on the market and in users' hands as soon as possible. And that we have yet to see what is truly possible until Apple designs chassis specifically optimized for these new SoCs as far as thermals (and battery) are concerned.

    Having two models of the MacBook Air makes sense, just as it does for every other Mac model. A newly designed higher end 14" model makes sense now (with stronger GPU performance) and then later in the year, possibly replacing the current 13" model with a smaller 12" model.

    Also hoping that every new M1 variant is made available as upgrade options in the mini.
    edited January 22 buttesilverdewmewilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 42
    Jony Ive is gone...for good.  Enough of the obsession on thin.  What does a thinner MacBook translate to?  It means less battery life and a lousy keyboard.  Two things no one wants.
    buttesilverwilliamlondonAI_liaselijahgozzieboy
  • Reply 3 of 42
    mjtomlin said:
    I have a feeling the current M1 systems were a stop-gap solution using current designs to get them on the market and in users' hands as soon as possible. 
    No.  They are not a stop-gap solution.  Apple made the mistake of having the first M-based Macs be the most basic and low-cost models, instead of upgrading their most popular models first.  You know, like they did with the first Intel Macs, the iMac and the 15" MacBook Pro.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 42
    I have never heard anyone in the last three years wish for an even thinner MBP.
    Give us battery, not another mm of Ive-ness please.
    williamlondonelijahgozzieboy
  • Reply 5 of 42
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 2,942member
    mjtomlin said:
    I have a feeling the current M1 systems were a stop-gap solution using current designs to get them on the market and in users' hands as soon as possible. 
    No.  They are not a stop-gap solution.  Apple made the mistake of having the first M-based Macs be the most basic and low-cost models, instead of upgrading their most popular models first.  You know, like they did with the first Intel Macs, the iMac and the 15" MacBook Pro.
    I don’t think it was a mistake or a stopgap solution. The lower end models are generally used by people for whom performance is nice but not the absolute deciding factor, and for whom running some apps under Rosetta wouldn’t be a big deal. 

    As far as the form factor goes, the existing MacBooks were generally well designed and there were no glaring deficiencies, so keeping the same general design while updating the motherboard made perfect sense. How often does Apple seriously update the form factor of MacBooks anyway? 

    Moving forward, they can take the time to take full advantage of the new possibilities that the M1 processors allow. 

    As far as a thinner MBAir, I’m not sure what that would accomplish. The existing model is already pretty thin - so thin that it compromises their keyboard and leads to the keyboard leaving smudges on the screen. I agree with the others - I’d rather have better battery life then shave a millimeter off the thickness. 
    baluelijahgapplguyRayz2016docno42ozzieboy
  • Reply 6 of 42
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,524member
    Jony Ive is gone...for good.  Enough of the obsession on thin.  What does a thinner MacBook translate to?  It means less battery life and a lousy keyboard.  Two things no one wants.
    Speak for yourself.  Perhaps you've never owned a MacBook Air?  I've owned two of them and the thinness and lightness, along with the decent performance they had was the reason I bought them.  I did a lot of traveling, and the MBA was the clear winner and made other laptops feel like heavy bricks.

    Considering how well the performance of the M1-based MBA's are right now,  Apple rarely every lowers the performance on newer models so if that's the case, your concern is moot.  It'll only get better from here.
    dewmefastasleeprepressthiswilliamlondonbaluapplguyRayz2016watto_cobradocno42
  • Reply 7 of 42
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,073member
    Jony Ive is gone...for good.  Enough of the obsession on thin.  What does a thinner MacBook translate to?  It means less battery life and a lousy keyboard.  Two things no one wants.
    1). He does take charge of the new Mac Pro, don’t blame on him.

    2). It has more to do with Intel than Apple.  Sure that chassis won’t hold the i9 but who else can?  In fact the 13” and 16” actually did better than most laptops during sustained performance.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 42
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,422member
    Jony Ive is gone...for good.  Enough of the obsession on thin.  What does a thinner MacBook translate to?  It means less battery life and a lousy keyboard.  Two things no one wants.

    I think it's perfectly acceptable for the Air models to become thinner and lighter as long as battery life is kept at a respectable level; at least 12 hours under normal workload. The performance does not need to increase, for entry level systems the M1 is just fine, although as I posted above, it would be nice to have an option with more/faster GPU cores.

    I do agree the MBP's don't need to be thinner nor lighter than they already are - performance here should take precedence over mobility.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 42
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,422member

    mjtomlin said:
    I have a feeling the current M1 systems were a stop-gap solution using current designs to get them on the market and in users' hands as soon as possible. 
    No.  They are not a stop-gap solution.  Apple made the mistake of having the first M-based Macs be the most basic and low-cost models, instead of upgrading their most popular models first.  You know, like they did with the first Intel Macs, the iMac and the 15" MacBook Pro.
    Except it's been noted that the MacBook Air was(is) their most popular model and it was replaced outright with the M1. The stop-gap models I was referring to still have Intel models available.

    I'm pretty sure it was not a mistake,  they know exactly what they're doing, as only they know what's coming next and when. It seems pretty damned smart to me to first show what these systems are capable of on the very low end... That builds excitement and anticipation for what's possible when higher end systems are unleashed.
    edited January 22 fastasleepbaluwatto_cobraozzieboy
  • Reply 10 of 42
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,073member
    At this point pretty much every Apple forum is out of touch with reality 🙄.

    You don’t know what the realistic standard is.
    You don’t see benchmarks & reviews.
    You can’t tell which one actually did a good test.

    No all that matters is he said she said.

    It’s possible for thinner laptops to cool well, you saw what the 16” could do and that does not make the cooling system any bigger.

    Nor does all the big & heavy coolers did any better.  No there are water coolers that’s worse than what the Mac Pro could.

    But that’s okay, again forums really aren’t for facts rather just feelies thinks how the world turns.  So long you’re happy.
    muthuk_vanalingamRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 42
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 607member
    mjtomlin said:
    I have a feeling the current M1 systems were a stop-gap solution using current designs to get them on the market and in users' hands as soon as possible. And that we have yet to see what is truly possible until Apple designs chassis specifically optimized for these new SoCs as far as thermals (and battery) are concerned.

    Having two models of the MacBook Air makes sense, just as it does for every other Mac model. A newly designed higher end 14" model makes sense now (with stronger GPU performance) and then later in the year, possibly replacing the current 13" model with a smaller 12" model.

    Also hoping that every new M1 variant is made available as upgrade options in the mini.
    As an owner of the M1 MacBook Air, I'm not seeing it as a stop-gap at all. It is very well designed and works amazing well without a fan. I don't really see how Apple could improve its thermals. Of course Apple is going to follow on with new designs for the MacBook Air and Pro. That is just normal progress and the new M1 probably gives them more leeway to make radical changes than what they've been allowed for years because of the stagnant nature of the Intel's x86 lineup.

    I'm not sure if a higher end MacBook Air is really possible unless Apple wants to add the fan back. That would be disappointing. Sure they can add features like a second external monitor but there really isn't much else missing and the power vs cooling for a fanless design is going to limit how much more performance they can wring out of this 5nm generation of Apple Silicon.
    watto_cobradocno42ozzieboy
  • Reply 12 of 42
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,422member
    jdb8167 said:
    mjtomlin said:
    I have a feeling the current M1 systems were a stop-gap solution using current designs to get them on the market and in users' hands as soon as possible. And that we have yet to see what is truly possible until Apple designs chassis specifically optimized for these new SoCs as far as thermals (and battery) are concerned.

    Having two models of the MacBook Air makes sense, just as it does for every other Mac model. A newly designed higher end 14" model makes sense now (with stronger GPU performance) and then later in the year, possibly replacing the current 13" model with a smaller 12" model.

    Also hoping that every new M1 variant is made available as upgrade options in the mini.
    As an owner of the M1 MacBook Air, I'm not seeing it as a stop-gap at all. It is very well designed and works amazing well without a fan. I don't really see how Apple could improve its thermals. Of course Apple is going to follow on with new designs for the MacBook Air and Pro. That is just normal progress and the new M1 probably gives them more leeway to make radical changes than what they've been allowed for years because of the stagnant nature of the Intel's x86 lineup.

    I'm not sure if a higher end MacBook Air is really possible unless Apple wants to add the fan back. That would be disappointing. Sure they can add features like a second external monitor but there really isn't much else missing and the power vs cooling for a fanless design is going to limit how much more performance they can wring out of this 5nm generation of Apple Silicon.
    I'm not saying the M1 systems aren't great. They are. I think they exceeded everyone's expectations.

    If you look inside those systems it is obvious that the M1 motherboards were designed to fit in those current chassis, which were built specifically around Intel based motherboards. That's a stop-gap measure. When Apple redesigns the motherboard and the chassis to work together, then we'll see even more efficient computers. Maximizing battery space and optimizing thermal dissipation.
    baluwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 42
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,073member
    mjtomlin said:
    I have a feeling the current M1 systems were a stop-gap solution using current designs to get them on the market and in users' hands as soon as possible. 
    No.  They are not a stop-gap solution.  Apple made the mistake of having the first M-based Macs be the most basic and low-cost models, instead of upgrading their most popular models first.  You know, like they did with the first Intel Macs, the iMac and the 15" MacBook Pro.
    What makes you think the high-end was the most popular?

    the bestselling iPad right now is the iPad;
    the bestselling iPhone is ... the iPhone 8!
    the bestselling Mac before the M1 was the entry-level 13” Pro and now possibly the M1 Air.

    That thing was called to be “for everyone” not without reason!
    edited January 22 watto_cobradocno42
  • Reply 14 of 42
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,506member
    MBA, thinner,lighter all good but making screen 14" or bigger is better by reducing bezel and keeping smaller frame as possible.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 42
    It seems those looking for optimized mobility and are willing to compromise somewhat on CPU performance to maintain or gain battery life really appreciate a lighter weight design and care less about ultimate thinness, as long as it is reasonably thin. I would think the focus should be on weight, not thinness.

    It's hard to imagine a laptop with a proper keyboard and good battery life getting much thinner. I suppose shaving off another millimeter could be done, but there is also structural integrity to think about. Perhaps a good way to go would be to lose the tapered design of the current MBA chassis and go with a slightly thinner MBP (or iPad Pro*) style chassis. 


    *Interesting to note that an iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard is actually about as thick as a 16" MBP.
    baluwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 42
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,533member
    sflocal said:
    Jony Ive is gone...for good.  Enough of the obsession on thin.  What does a thinner MacBook translate to?  It means less battery life and a lousy keyboard.  Two things no one wants.
    Speak for yourself.  Perhaps you've never owned a MacBook Air?  I've owned two of them and the thinness and lightness, along with the decent performance they had was the reason I bought them.  I did a lot of traveling, and the MBA was the clear winner and made other laptops feel like heavy bricks.

    Considering how well the performance of the M1-based MBA's are right now,  Apple rarely every lowers the performance on newer models so if that's the case, your concern is moot.  It'll only get better from here.
    Yes, I totally agree. The problem here is simply the title of this article, which obscures Apple's design intentions behind one possible attribute of the redesign. I own a MacBook Air and it is the single most enjoyable and ergonomic portable computer I've ever used. The light weight, deck thinness, quietness, and keyboard+trackpad responsiveness of the MacBook Air absolutely contribute in a positive way to the usability and joy of traveling with the Air. However, for many years now these superior qualities of the MacBook Air have come at a cost - lower resolution display (*until recently), excessive bezels, too few ports, shorter battery life, and lower performance. With the Retina display and advent of the M1 SoC Apple negated some of these costs, or negativities, associated with the Air. Hey, why not try to squash the remaining negativities? That's what this article is all about.

    If the title of this article was "Apple to revamp the MacBook Air design to improve on all of the things we like about the Air and remove all of the things we don't like about the Air" I think it would be more accurately reflect Apple's true intentions. Mentioning thinness in an environment where some folks equate excessive thinness with "sacrifices" is poisoning the well. Let's wait and see how Apple improves what we like and removes what we don't like before we jump to any conclusions. Hey. if they do make the Air a little thinner without sacrificing anything that matters to us - at least we'll be able to hold off on buying another cheese slicer for the kitchen. Nothing wrong with that. But the predictable Ive whining whenever "thin" is mentioned, meh. 
    roundaboutnowbaluwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 42
    Jony Ive is gone...for good.  Enough of the obsession on thin.  What does a thinner MacBook translate to?  It means less battery life and a lousy keyboard.  Two things no one wants.

    The Macbook Air, as the name suggests, is designed to be an extremely thin and light laptop. The original introduction literally advertised the fact that it could fit in a paper envelope. It was severely underpowered relative to other macs at the time.

    But that's ok, because unlike many other Apple products, Macs have product lines. You have Macbook Pros which can focus on providing the most powerful and extensible portable mac with lightness and thinness being secondary concerns, Macbooks which are a sensible compromise that will appeal to the broadest base, and Macbook Airs which prioritize weight and size, and is willing to compromise some performance in order to excel there.
    baluwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 42
    neilmneilm Posts: 874member
    jdb8167 said:

    I'm not sure if a higher end MacBook Air is really possible unless Apple wants to add the fan back. That would be disappointing. Sure they can add features like a second external monitor but there really isn't much else missing and the power vs cooling for a fanless design is going to limit how much more performance they can wring out of this 5nm generation of Apple Silicon.
    Now that the M1 SOC has enabled it, I'm betting that a fanless design will be one of the distinguishing features of the MBA into the future. This will ensure the Air's reduced size and weight compared to the MBP, and off course help battery life a bit too. Those cooling fans don't run on, well, air.

    The Air could stand to go on a weight loss diet though. A good target would be under 2.5 lb, instead of the current 2.8 lb.
    baluwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 42
    hopefully, “higher end option” would mean the current price point for this new air while the current M1 air will go down in cost as the entry level for the rest of us. 
    baluwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 42
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,886member
    mjtomlin said:

    mjtomlin said:
    I have a feeling the current M1 systems were a stop-gap solution using current designs to get them on the market and in users' hands as soon as possible. 
    No.  They are not a stop-gap solution.  Apple made the mistake of having the first M-based Macs be the most basic and low-cost models, instead of upgrading their most popular models first.  You know, like they did with the first Intel Macs, the iMac and the 15" MacBook Pro.
    Except it's been noted that the MacBook Air was(is) their most popular model and it was replaced outright with the M1. The stop-gap models I was referring to still have Intel models available.

    I'm pretty sure it was not a mistake,  they know exactly what they're doing, as only they know what's coming next and when. It seems pretty damned smart to me to first show what these systems are capable of on the very low end... That builds excitement and anticipation for what's possible when higher end systems are unleashed.
    Agree, the MBA has always been the biggest seller since 2013. although the current design of the M1 MBA was not only was it to demonstrate high performance even at the low end, keeping everything else the same (design, battery, case etc) makes it clear it is the M1 that is the difference.

    this new Air will go a long way to correcting the bad misstep of the rMB. While smaller was good, a single port and more expensive was a big mistake.
    edited January 22 baluwatto_cobra
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