Apple’s working on a 15-inch MacBook that could launch sometime in 2023. That’s according to supply chain exfiltrators Ross Young and Kuo Ming Chi. But… are they though?
Ross says it’ll be 15.2-inches, or slightly smaller than the 15.4-inch displays on Apple’s older, pre-16-inch MacBook Pros.
Kuo, riffing off Ross, predicted that it could go into production 4th quarter of 2023, that the goal was to use the same 30W power supply as the current MacBook Air, but that it might not be branded as… an Air.
But that’s all in stark contrast to Mark Gurman of Bloomberg fame, who reported a year ago that Apple was exploring a 15-inch MacBook Air but ultimately decided to not… not push that model into production, at least not back then.
And I’ll explain the discrepancy in a minute, so hit that subscribe button for an emoji cookie… or three, and let’s break it down!
Small things first. Ross also reported that the 13-inch MacBook Air would be going from 13.3 to the 13.6 inches. And… if true, this kinda bums me out.
Because I, like some of you, all-caps loved the really small MacBooks and Airs of generations past. 12-inch PowerBook, 11-inch MacBook Air, 12-inch MacBook, and were kinda high-key hoping Apple would use the next big redesign to cut the bezels and casing size rather than increase the display size, at least on the most ultra-portable end of the product line.
And I realize that has precisely zero basis in recent history, where the 11-inch iPad Pro got a bigger display and the 12.9 inch got a smaller casing, or both MacBook Pros got bigger displays… but… like I always say, the Mac nerd heart wants what the Mac nerd heart wants, and going bigger on the Pro displays could be a real opportunity to go smaller on the non-Pro casings. I’m just saying.
Anyway, 15.2 being ever-so-slightly smaller than 15.4, combined with the ongoing Thanos snapping of every bezel Apple can get its redesign gauntlet on, means a 15-inch MacBoo would not only be lighter than the old 15-inch Pro, but smaller as well. By a good amount.
And, combined with reports of a bigger iPhone 14 non-Pro Max, it would show Apple finally de-coupling bigger displays from pro-level products and pricing. Which… Cleo Abrams level huge if true.
Because, currently, on everything but Apple Watch, they are very much like British-level sitcom Couplinged.
The only bigger iPhone is the 6.7-inch Pro Max, the only bigger iPad is the 12.9-inch Pro, the only bigger MacBook is the 16-inch Pro. The only bigger iMac is… oh, yeah… damn…. Well, You get my point!
But, if we get a 6.7-inch iPhone non-Pro Max, just Max, and a 15-inch non-Pro MacBook, just MacBook, then that flips the tables, the giant Apple retail tables on the whole entire product story. Because if you just want or need a bigger display for any reason, from web app productivity to visual accessibility, you’ll be able to get it without the pro-level performance, sure but also without the pro-level weight and pricing that currently comes with it.
And since the MacBook Pros have gotten their retro future CHONK back with the last redesign, instead of trying to go as light and thin as Air like the one before, that opens up a ton — not literal ton, more like a pound — of room for differentiation based only on weight, not just size.
So, why the discrepancy in reports? Why Ross and Kuo yes, Gurman nope. Well, last year versus this year. Then versus now. But actually for exactly the reasons I outlined in my iMac Pro video from earlier this week, link in the description below the like button.
Apple’s probably studying our reactions to the first wave of M1-based Apple Silicon Macs, and seeing what overlaps there are, what gaps remain, and how they can cover the most customers needs as possible with as few products as possible. Because that’s how they roll.
And right now, there’s the 13-inch M1 MacBook Air, and the step-up is the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro for people who either just want the pro name for the pro flex, or who want a fan for longer sustained perf, or, sure, a Touch Bar. But maybe a 15-inch Air or whatever the branding is would be an even better step up for an even larger swath of people. Not between the $1000 Air and $2000 Pro, because the redesigned 13-inch Air would probably go back up to $1100 or $1200 for a year or couple first, but still between that and the $2000 Pro. So, call it $1600.
Now, me, personally, if I got to run God Mode over at Apple, this is the lineup I’d love to go with
13.3-inch MacBook, same physical size as the old 12-inch MacBook, but with the bigger, bezel-snapped screen. And 15.2-inch MacBook. Both ultra-light and fanless, with the bigger size allowing for bigger battery to compensate for bigger display. That, and bigger efficiency for A15-based M2.
Then, 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro. Exactly what we have now. Because, they just got their redesigns and they’re aces, both.
And I know, I know, I can hear some of you yelling at the screen. Screw smaller! Go big or go iPad! You want your Kaiju-class back, the return of the battleship — an 18-inch MacBook Pro the size of the old 17-inch, with all the ports of a Mac Studio, and just about as portable too! With M1 Ultra under the hood. So what if it burns down to the earth’s core. I’m just not sure there’s a market as big as that MacBook, not that even Tim Cook’s pivot tables could tell. But… I have some ideas, so let me know if you want a video on that!
Otherwise, basically, that’s it. 4 MacBooks: 2 ultra-portables, 2 ultra-performance. 2 sizes each.