Apple’s upcoming 15-inch MacBook Air could be launching sooner than expected, which is encouraging for anyone who has been waiting for this much-rumored device. But the good news doesn’t end there, as it could also get a sizeable chip upgrade that would leave rival devices in the dust.
For months, it had been suggested that Apple was working on a new 15-inch version of the MacBook Air that was going to be released at a spring event. However, now that Apple has announced it will host its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) — but not a spring event — it seems that the latter isn’t happening. That suggests the 15-inch MacBook Air will have to wait until WWDC before seeing the light of day.
Yet that assumption has been thrown into question by display industry analyst Ross Young, who explained to his paid Twitter followers that Apple has ramped up production of the device in recent weeks. That could mean the new MacBook Air launches in late April or early May, Young believes, which would be a welcome springtime surprise for fans of Apple’s lightest laptop.
That said, there are still some doubts about the timing, and Young himself has said he doesn’t know the “precise launch timing.” What’s more, it would be unusual for Apple to release the 15-inch MacBook Air right before a planned in-person event like WWDC. Apple likes to debut entirely new devices — those adopting new form factors or exploring new segments — on stage at large events so that it can fully explain the device to its audience. A press release timed right before WWDC might not achieve that.
Whenever the MacBook Air launches, it could pack much more of a punch than has previously been expected. That all comes down to the way its chips are due to be made.
It’s long been rumored that the Apple silicon chips inside the next MacBook Air (both the 13-inch and 15-inch variants) will be made using a 3-nanometer process, which will be more powerful and efficient than the current crop of 5nm chips inside Apple’s laptops.
According to various sources, those chips would be created by chip manufacturer TSMC using its N3 node. Now, though, China Times (via Wccftech) says Apple will instead use the more advanced N3E process. And while we previously heard that Apple had ordered the entire supply of TSMC’s 3nm chips, China Times says these will all be made using the advanced N3E process, giving Apple a significant lead over its competitors.
Both the N3 and N3E nodes are 3nm processes, but the latter is thought to produce even more performant chips. While that might sound a bit confusing, what it means in practice is that the chips inside the next MacBook Air could be real screamers — even more so than we previously thought they would be.
So, while the launch date for the 15-inch MacBook Air is not quite pinned down yet, what seems increasingly certain is that it will be a real corker of a laptop in terms of performance. If you’ve been waiting to upgrade, Apple could soon give you a very good reason to do so.
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