A 15-inch MacBook Air Could Be Apple's Most Important Laptop in 2023

A larger version of Apple's most popular laptop is going into production just in time to save Apple's Mac sales.

The M2 MacBook Air.
Photography by Raymond Wong

A bigger MacBook Air is on the way. Or at least, it seems like one is. Display suppliers are ramping up production of 15-inch panels for the next version of Apple’s laptop, according to 9to5Mac, and it couldn’t come at a better time — the analysts at IDC report Apple’s Mac sales have fallen some 40 percent since last year, part of a larger contraction of the PC marketplace on the whole.

For Apple, a new version of the company's most popular laptop could be just the thing to help turn sales around while also filling an, until now, unaddressed audience. Not everyone needs the power of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, nor can they afford the price or the added weight. A larger MacBook Air could give everyone the best of both worlds.

Bigger Displays Sell — Usually

The camera difference makes choosing between the iPhone 14 Plus and Pro Max easy.

Photography by Raymond Wong

If all of this seems sudden, it's because it is, at least to outside observers. Apple just redesigned the MacBook Air last year and used it to launch the second generation M-series chip, the M2. The sleek and squared-off M2 MacBook Air was generally well-received, but mere days after it was announced, Bloomberg reported Apple was working on a larger version. This 15-inch MacBook Air is now expected to launch sometime this year, possibly as early as WWDC 2023 in June, and potentially sporting Apple’s next-generation M3 chips.

Apple’s no stranger to the allure of big screens. You’ve been able to buy a “big” iPhone since the iPhone 6, and a larger screen size at a lower cost was recently introduced in the form of the iPhone 14 Plus. In the case of the iPhone 14 Plus, Apple’s Pro Max models have proved to be more popular, to the point that Apple reportedly actually halted production to figure out how much demand there actually was — the few extra hundreds for the Pro cameras made sense. Considering the simpler set of features on Apple’s laptops, the MacBook Air likely won’t have the same issue.

More Room, More Options

While Apple’s entry-level laptops seem meant for students and office workers, those are two types of people who need just as much screen space as the video editors and software engineers of the world. Why not give them a laptop with more wiggle room? That extra screen real estate is a big quality-of-life feature, and it could likely be paired with another; longer battery life. In general, the overall larger body a new screen requires has allowed Apple to increase battery capacity. A more efficient chip, be it the M2 or M3, will likely help too.

A 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999. The current MacBook Air starts at $1,199. There’s about $800 worth of wiggle room for a 15-inch MacBook Air, and that’s if Apple doesn’t make the most consumer-friendly choice of lowering the price of its redesigned MacBook Air. There’s space for a bigger Air, and reasons enough to make it. Now the ball is in Apple’s court.

Related Tags