MacBook Air 15-inch release date: April 2023 launch tipped – maybe with a different name
Thin and light goes bigger this year as Apple is rumored to spin up production on the 15-inch MacBook Air
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: 15-inch April showers
💻 15-inch MacBook Air screen size tipped for April 2023 launch
📅 Previous rumors pointed to a Q4 2023 release and a new name
🔋 The MacBook Air 15-inch could use the same 30-watt adapter as the 13-inch
📣 Announcement via press release possible, rather than at Apple spring event
🤔 Apple may drop the MacBook Air name and go with just ‘MacBook’ again
Despite a recent sales downturn, Apple had a good year in 2022 compared to the rest of the PC landscape. Much of that comes down to its new Apple silicon Macs, including the Macbook Air M2, which debuted to rave reviews in July 2022 and is one of Apple’s best laptops.
Now, it looks like Apple is preparing to announce the MacBook Air 15-inch release date for April 2023, possibly during its presumed upcoming Spring event, according to reliable supply chain analyst Ross Young, who alleged that Apple had begun production of 15.5-inch panels for the new MacBook Air 2023, as reported by MacRumors on February 13.
Two days later, Digitimes corroborated the story, saying the laptops had been in production since late January, which would put them on target for an April release.
That Apple is working on a 15-inch MacBook Air with its custom silicon has been rumored as far back as January 2021, when Mark Gurman wrote in Bloomberg that Apple had considered, but ultimately rejected the idea in favor of the 13-inch model that launched the next year.
It seems Apple wasn’t content to leave it at that, however, and in March 2022, Young told 9to5Mac the company had plans to release a 15-inch variant of the thin and light laptop in 2023. That was corroborated later by another prominent analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, who said not only would it happen, but it would begin mass production in the first half of 2023, with a launch by the second quarter of this year.
That’s great news, considering his previous prediction in March 2022 of a fourth-quarter 2023 launch of the 15in MacBook Air – possibly with a different name, at that, and with the same 30-watt power adapter as the 13-inch model (though that could be out, given the newer Kuo tweet only mentioning a 35-watt adapter).
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MacBook Air 15-inch release date: what to expect
Apple seemingly accelerating the timeline for the MacBook Air 15-inch release date actually lends credence to December reports that the Apple headset is delayed to late 2023. If the company did have to move its VR headset back, it may have high hopes for the larger MacBook Air to sell well and doesn’t want sales of the headset to cannibalize it.
It’s still expected we’ll see an Apple VR/AR headset reveal in spring 2023, making it possible the new MacBook Air 2023 will actually be announced via press release. If that happens, it could come sometime before or after the VR headset’s big unveiling. That would keep the MacBook Air 15-inch from being buried in the headlines of the week, while still giving the Apple VR headset room to breathe.
MacBook Air 15-inch name: letting the ‘Air’ out
The MacBook Air may get a different name for this launch. Kuo’s earlier prediction for a later launch also said the new big, light and thin laptop could see a new name. While I’m pulling for MacBook BLT, Apple would probably update its naming convention to reflect those in use elsewhere in its portfolio – could we see a MacBook Plus? MacBook Air Plus? MacBook Studio? Just MacBook?
Some signs point to just MacBook. Prior to Kuo’s Tweet, on October 21, 2021, a short-lived, yet often accurate, Twitter leaker under the handle Dylandkt said Apple’s then-rumored 2022 MacBook Air would drop “Air” entirely, as reported by MacRumors. Still, a bigger MacBook Air could prompt Apple to use a new name.
MacBook Air 15-inch specs: M2 Pro goes thin and light
Per the Kuo tweet above, the 15-inch MacBook Air may add an M2 Pro chip to Apple’s budget laptop lineup, bringing it in line with the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini. That would almost certainly mean a warmer laptop since it would probably be fanless like the smaller 13-inch MacBook Air. That said, my own use of the 2022 MacBook Air has shown that even under heavy load, while it gets warm, it’s only just, and the bigger chassis for the 15-inch Air could mean better passive cooling.
An eagle-eyed journalist at MacRumors spotted a Bluetooth filing showing a just-published, possible MacBook Air 15-inch Bluetooth 5.3 design filing that referenced a previous design related to macOS. Of course, I say “possible” because the filing isn’t attached to any specific product, leaving a lot up to inference.
With reports the Apple Reality Pro was scheduled to debut this spring, it could be that if not for the new filing referencing that older macOS design. That, plus the assumption that we won’t see the next spate of 14- and- 16-inch MacBooks Pro until late 2023 or even 2024, there’s not much else that this design could be intended for.
MacBook Air 15-inch dimensions: thin and wide
Apart from the 15-inch size, I haven’t seen any good information on other MacBook Air 15-inch dimensions. If it’s just a screen size bump, it’s possible it could be as thin as the 2022 MacBook Air, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a slightly thicker laptop, especially considering the thermal requirements of the M2 Pro chip that’s rumored to be included.
MacBook Air 15-inch screen size: larger, probably higher resolution
The MacBook Air screen size may be a touch smaller than the old 15-inch MacBook pro, which actually measured 15.4 inches. That’s according to an early rumor from Young published at MacRumors that preceded the launch of the 13.6-inch 2022 Air.
Young then predicted the 13.6-inch screen size of the then-upcoming 2022 MacBook Air accurately, lending credibility to his prediction for the 2023 MacBook Air. That said, his most recent prediction, reported at the top of this story calls for a 15.5-inch display, so I would expect that to be the most accurate rumor.
Assuming it’s got the same 16:10 aspect ratio as the 13.6-inch MacBook Air, that would put the new 15.5-inch model’s screen measurements at 13.1 inches wide and 8.2 inches tall. It’s likely Apple would target more than the 2,560 x 1,664 native resolution of the 2022 MacBook Air to keep the fine-pixeled retina designation, so I would expect something closer to the 2,880 x 1,800 resolution found on the last 15-inch MacBook Pro.
MacBook Air 15-inch rumors: keep the salt handy
As always, these are just rumors, meant to be taken with a grain of salt. But given our expectations for the MacBook Air 15-inch release date, it looks like we won’t have to wait long to find out what’s true and what isn’t. Stay tuned to The Shortcut as the story develops…
Updated: February 22, 2023