Forget the MacBook Pro, Apple’s got something better

Apples go to design its own ARM processor the Macs garnered critical acclaim and commercial success. It is an attractive combination if you are looking for a new laptop for a new year. But hold on. You might want to think about Apple’s next step before you take out your wallet.

With the high-end MacBook Pro laptops launched late last year, those who really needed the performance levels offered by the professional 14-inch and 16-inch macOS machines will have been satisfied. This power is expensive and can far exceed the needs of most consumers.

This is of course where the MacBook Air comes in. Apple’s mainstream laptop has always been a balance between the fashionable thin wedge that Apple’s design team loved and the specs needed to power a well-specified laptop. It might be Apple’s entry-level laptop, but it’s still a thousand dollar laptop.

The move to Apple Silicon and the launch of the MacBook Air with the M1 chipset in late 2020 took the chains off the macOS laptop and benchmarks jumped as a result. Yet this chipset is now over a year old on consumer shelves and has likely spent a lot more development time on it. Apple has already improved it for the aforementioned MacBook Pro laptops.

Apple’s next-gen M2 chip will launch this year, and recent leaks have already identified it as offering more performance than the M1 Pro and M1 Max currently available. The M2 is also expected to follow the M1 and debut in the MacBook Air, so it makes sense to put any upgrades on hold to see the performance differential Apple will offer.

You also have to think about design. The first Apple Silicon MacBook Air differed very little from previous Intel-equipped MacBook Air laptops; it certainly gave the line a sense of continuity and assurance that nothing had fundamentally changed and everything was working as usual… but it was already a tired laptop design.

Apple has shown with the new MacBook Pro laptops that it has a new design language for its laptops. With the upcoming MacBook Air refresh, you can be sure that the design language is going to influence the mainstream laptop in the same way as the business laptop.

The move to the new design means you need to think about new features in this year’s MacBook Air. Switching to a miniLED, which offers brighter colors for less power consumption, would match the miniLED displays already found in the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro. The new MacBook Pro laptops also come with a fast charging system via the return of the MagSafe port (although you would have to buy a new charger and a new cable for $ 150 if you wanted the fastest possible charge time). And they’re going to come in different pastel shades, pretty much the same as last year’s M1-powered iMacs.

An increase in performance, a new sleek and modern design and a number of new hardware features. There’s a lot to look forward to in 2022 with Apple’s MacBook Air. Wait and see …

Now read the latest headlines on iPhone, iPad and Mac in Forbes’ regular Apple Loop news column….


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Steven L. Nielsen