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 MacBook 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 in 2021, 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 May 16, 2023: Soon to launch 15-inch MacBook Air won’t feature M3 chip.
15-inch MacBook Air: Release date and latest news
Rumors of an unreleased 15-inch Mac laptop have been circulating for some time. Gurman first wrote 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 choices for consumers.
It looks like this new 15-inch MacBook Air could be announced soon. In a Bloomberg report on April 14, 2023, Gurman claimed that “Apple is ramping up testing of fresh Macs with processors on par with the current M2 chip.” Test logs seen by Bloomberg indicate that “Apple is readying a laptop with processor specifications similar to the current M2 model but with a larger, higher-resolution display.”
A report by DigiTimes in May suggested that the 15-inch MacBook Air was already making its way off the production line, with sellers “stocking up” on the new laptop ahead of its release at this spring. On April 10, analyst Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants tweeted (subscription required) that Apple had ramped up production of a 15-inch MacBook Air in the previous two months. Young indicated that the laptop could ship in late April or early May–so an update is feasible before WWDC. This followed a tweet on February 13 where he said the 15.5-inch panel for the new MacBook Air had entered production.
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 lineup 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.
15-inch M2 MacBook Pro: From $1,749/£1,849 predicted.
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 15-inch MacBook Air with M2 chip, we’d expect it to sit between the 13-inch MacBook Pro and 14-inch MacBook Pro, with a higher price than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. There is a big gap between the price of the 13-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro, so a starting price between $1,499/£1,549 and $1,999/£2,149 seems like a reasonable assumption. So, $1,749/£1,849 seems likely.
If it’s more of a higher-end model, with an M2 Pro chip, the price could be even higher–$1,799 was the starting price for the original MacBook Air back in 2008 so there is a president for such a high price. However, a 15-inch M2 Pro MacBook Air that costs less than a 14-inch MacBook Pro with the same chip would be confusing for consumers, so it is also possible that Apple will also introduce a higher-priced 15-inch MacBook Air that sits between the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro.
15-inch MacBook Air: Specs
There is a lot of speculation about the processor that will feature in this new 15-inch MacBook.
Respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted back in June 2022 that Apple may offer two CPU options for the 15-inch Air: an M2, like in the 2022 MacBook Air, and an M2 Pro option. The M2 Pro is currently only offered in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models and Mac mini.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also seems to be confident that it is a 15-inch Air that Apple is planning to launch. Gurman expects that the 15-inch MacBook Air will ship with an M2 chip, but he does allow that it may offer an M2 Pro chip. In a March newsletter he even noted the possibility that the MacBook Air could ship with an M3 chip. As Gurman has stated: “Having the new MacBook Air sport the M3 would also make sense from a timing perspective,” WWDC 2022 has been the launch of the M2 MacBook Air. However, the launch of the M3 is said to be delayed until late 2023, or more likely 2024, because of “yield issues,” at the chip manufacturer TSMC. Apparently the A17 chip being used in the 2023 iPhone 15 is taking precedence over the M3, both of which will use the new 3nm chip-making process.
In an April 14, 2023 report, Gurman indicated that Apple has ramped up testing on “fresh Macs with processors on par with the current M2 chip,” and claimed that test logs seen by Bloomberg indicate that the chip in the new laptop has eight main processing cores and 10 graphics cores and 8GB RAM, like the M2.
Gurman suggests that “A 15-inch MacBook Air with an M2 chip may still excite consumers”. However, it will still be a year-old chip if Apple does announce an M2 MacBook Air at WWDC 2023. So is it more likely we will see the M2 Pro inside this new MacBook Air?
An M2 Pro-equipped Air would require much better cooling–the current MacBook Air doesn’t even include a fan–so, if Apple was to include an M2 Pro inside substantial changes to the Air’s design would be required (which we will discuss below). Alternatively, it’s possible that, as Kuo stated in the tweet above, the rumored 15-inch Mac laptop is not a MacBook Air.
Including M2 Pro chips in the 15-inch MacBook Air and potentially the 13-inch MacBook Pro model–could also negatively affect sales of the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro.
If Apple was to use the M3 chip inside this new MacBook Air that would avoid the need to redesign the machine, but introducing an M3 at the same time as it announces M2 variants of other products at WWDC (the M2 Ultra Mac Pro for example) could make those products look dated by comparison.
As for other features, we expect this new model to be similar to 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 likely 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.
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 inches (1.55 cm). A newer model would have smaller bezels like the M2 MacBook Air, so the screen could be a bit 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.
The design of this 15-inch MacBook may also determine whether it runs an M2 or M2 Pro chip. If Apple was to include an M2 Pro inside then the design would need to be adjusted–an M2 Pro-equipped Air would require at least one fan for cooling, as with the higher-end Pros. If there was no fan then substantial changes to the Air’s thermal design would be necessary, likely resulting in a thicker case.
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 2024.
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.