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Apple’s secret 15-inch laptop might not be a MacBook Air

Earlier this week, well-regarded display industry analyst Ross Young claimed Apple is working on a 15-inch MacBook Air. Now, another reputable tipster has chimed in to reveal more details on this highly secretive laptop project.

The new info comes from a tweet posted by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a strong reputation for accurate leaks regarding the Cupertino giant’s future plans. And interestingly, Kuo takes issue with some of Young’s own claims.

A MacBook Air on a desk with an open book in front of it.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For instance, Young explicitly called the device a MacBook Air. Kuo, however, states that the device “might not be called MacBook Air,” leaving the door open to either a new name for the MacBook Air range or the idea that this product is something else entirely.

Judging by the rest of Kuo’s information, the former might be the more likely scenario. That’s because Kuo tweeted that the device would have one key similarity with the existing 13-inch MacBook Air: “Although a larger display generally consumes more power, the design goal is to use the same 30W power adapter as MacBook Air.”

Because Apple’s MacBook Pro is more powerful than the MacBook Air, its charger requires anything from 61W to 140W of power, depending on the model. A 30W power adapter suggests a much more lightweight laptop — a position the MacBook Air currently occupies.

Predictions for Apple's potential 15" notebook in 2023:
1. Mass production in 4Q23 if all goes to plan.
2. Although a larger display generally consumes more power, the design goal is to use the same 30W power adapter as MacBook Air.
3. It might not be called MacBook Air.

— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) March 24, 2022

Elsewhere, Kuo believes the mystery device (whatever it ends up being) is expected to enter mass production in the fourth quarter of 2023, “if all goes to plan.” That suggests a launch date of late 2023, and Kuo backs that up by describing the laptop as “Apple’s potential 15-inch notebook in 2023.” Young predicted a release date of 2023, so it appears the two analysts are aligned on that point.

Either way, it seems there’s growing evidence that Apple is seriously considering a larger MacBook Air. The last time Apple offered the MacBook Air in two sizes was 2015 when it sold an 11-inch version alongside the familiar 13-inch size. Stepping the device up to 15 inches would give more choice to users who don’t need the power (or expense) of the MacBook Pro.

And it’s hardly the only MacBook Air rumor doing the rounds at the moment. If the leaks and speculation are correct, the next MacBook Air could be updated this year with a new design in a range of bright colors. While this might not be the same device as the one discussed by Kuo and Young, it might pass on some of its design choices to that larger device. Whatever happens, it’s certainly an exciting time to be a fan of the MacBook Air.

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