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A 15-inch MacBook Air wouldn’t really be a MacBook Air

OPINION: 15.5-inches is way too large to call the rumoured notebook release a MacBook Air. Let the name that revolutionised the laptop industry keep its diminutive dignity!

I just bought a MacBook Air M2 and absolutely love it. The redesign is what I’ve been waiting years for, Touch ID works amazingly, the keyboard is fantastic, and I don’t even hate the notch display! As a certified klutz I love having MagSafe back. I know it’s going to save me a trip or two to the Apple Store, for which I’m always grateful. 

It’s a giant upgrade on my faithful 2017 MacBook with Retina Display (and that horrendous butterfly keyboard) and I couldn’t be happier. 

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But let’s be real. It’s not really a MacBook Air. Certainly not in the spirit of the device’s lineage, which was all about being the thinnest and lightest possible. It had that unique angular design that got gradually thinner, and very much had an identity of its own. The whole idea of the MacBook Air was the portability of the range, and now you might has well have a MacBook Pro in your knapsack. 

The new model is squarer and has almost pared back the design so there isn’t much to distinguish it from the current MacBook Pro models. Indeed, there’s only 0.3lbs or 126g between them in weight. The Air is now less than half a centimetre thinner than the Pro. Much of a muchness.

Reports Apple is planning to launch a 15.5-inch version of the MacBook Air would be the final nail in the coffin for that lineage. It just wouldn’t be a MacBook Air in spirit. I’ve felt this way multiple times down the years when this idea has been floated and rumoured, never to actually materialize.

According to reports from in the know Apple reporters, including the latest word from display industry expert Ross Young, it could now materialise as soon as April 2023.


The original MacBook Air was one of the first “wow” products I remember covering as a budding tech journalist, back in 2008. 

I vividly recall the launch at MacWorld where Steve Jobs came on stage with a manilla envelope and pulled out what would become an entirely new category, spelling doom for the disc drive and the ability to connect a vast number of peripherals and accessories with ease.

The thin and angled design was a world away from the god-awful Windows laptops I’d been used to using in other jobs, and even the plasticky black and white MacBooks of the era. It felt truly revolutionary.

The modern incarnation feels more traditional than it ever has. It’s a safer, more functional design that isn’t trying to prove a point. But it isn’t a MacBook Air. I love most of the changes Apple has made to its Mac line since the era of Jony Ive design hegemony came to a merciful end.

I’ve got no problem whatsoever with Apple launching a 15-inch MacBook laptop that’s more affordable than the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but don’t call it a MacBook Air.

While the current trend has swung back towards larger devices, I’d like to see another Apple notebook that’s entirely focused on squeezing the best possible tech into the smallest possible package – just like the original MacBook Air. 

If anything, I’d have liked to have seen the Air name reserved for a revamp of my old Retina MacBook range. An 11-inch bezel-free model would be fine by me!

All I ask is would ask that Apple call this forthcoming 15.5-inch model what it is – a MacBook – and let the MacBook Air name keep its dignity! 

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