An ongoing oddity about Apple's Mac lineup is the continued existence of both a 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Very similar except for a few extras found on the Pro version, both laptops have been expected to get a refresh later this year. (Many thought Apple would reveal a refreshed MacBook Pro at this week's "Peek Performance" event, but that didn't happen.)
Rather than release two new laptops in 2022 that feature a 13-inch display, Apple should merge the Air and the Pro at that size and give us simply an all-new MacBook. Although this goes against my earlier stance on both the Air and Pro, it seems increasingly like the best move on Apple's part.
Rumors until this point have suggested significant design changes were incoming for the next MacBook Air, but not the next 13-inch MacBook Pro. The industry chatter has gone so far as to suggest the latter would still include a Touch Bar, which makes absolutely zero sense given that the feature was pulled on the current 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.
At yesterday's event, Apple made it clear the M1 Ultra found on the all-new Mac Studio would be the last variant we'd see with the M1 system-on-a-chip (SoC). In other words, the next Mac announced is likely to include an "M2" for the first time.
In recent months, Apple has gone out of its way to introduce professional versions of Apple silicon, taking the form of M1 Pro, M1 Max, and now, M1 Ultra. I don't believe Apple would refresh the 13-inch MacBook Pro to include either the M1 Pro or M1 Max chipsets since doing so would take away from the 14-inch MacBook Pro. At the same time, given Apple's push towards including professional chips on professional products, I can't imagine Apple would reveal another MacBook Pro with simply an M2.
Apple has gotten a lot of mileage out of the Air name on the MacBook and iPad lineups. And yet, an even better name for Apple's last remaining 13-inch laptop would simply be MacBook. After all, having a MacBook lineup without a MacBook makes about as much sense were Apple to discontinue the consumer-friendly iPad and keep around an iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro.
There hasn't been a singular MacBook since Apple discontinued the 12-inch MacBook in 2019. So it's high time Apple does something about that.
Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.
Every time Apple tries to find a "happy medium", it generally ends up with them removing needed features from the Pro models. The Air and Pro models serve vastly different purposes, but the regular MacBook is the outlier here. That's what needs to go.
Fewer laptops, more desktops (no all-in-ones). I'll provide my own monitors, keyboards, and mouse/trackpad, thank you very much. Clamshell laptops are a terrible ergonomic compromise for real work, and I will never understand why consumers and the workforce flocked to them. I like the Mac Pro. I like the Mac Studio. I very grumpily use my 16 inch Macbook pro on a stand over the top of my two 32 inch monitors, hooked up to a pair of OWC Thunderbolt docks (so I can get all the peripherals connected), because....it's more powerful for what I do than my 28 core Mac Pro. Looking forward to the Mac Studio, which I'll probably lease, and trade up to a Mac Pro when it comes out. Enough about the laptops. Tired of hearing about laptops. Seriously. If you just want a device for email and web browsing; Chromebooks are great. If you wanna do real work....get a desktop, with no cooling constraints and ergonomic compromises.
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