New MacBook Air may arrive this year, huge MacBook Pro feature returning

Macbook Air M1
Macbook Air M1 (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A new report says a new MacBook Air could debut this year.
  • Bloomberg's Mark Gurman also says the SD slot is coming back to the MacBook Pro.
  • Gurman also says that Apple considered a 15-inch MacBook Air, and is working on Macs with cellular support and Face ID.

A new report says Apple's new MacBook Air with next-generation Apple Silicon could debut this year.

From Bloomberg's Mark Gurman:

Apple Inc. is working on a thinner and lighter version of the MacBook Air, the company's mass-market laptop, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The new computer is planned to be released during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed making the laptop smaller by shrinking the border around the screen, which will remain 13-inches. The current model weighs 2.8 pounds and is just over half an inch at its thickest point.

The headlines; the new MacBook Air will be both thinner and lighter and could debut as early as the second half of 2021. It will feature MagSafe and next-generation Apple silicon processors. Apple could make the laptop's bezels smaller to reduce the form factor, but the display will remain at 13-inches.

Shockingly, Gurman says Apple had considered a 15-inch version but isn't moving forward with this for now.

MagSafe will return to the MacBook Air as per previous rumors, and it will have two USB 4 ports.

Gurman says the new model is a "higher-end version" of the current MacBook Air, rather than a replacement. This makes sense given how new the device is.

More big news, Gurman says Apple plans to bring back the SD slot to the MacBook Pro this year:

The upcoming MacBook Pro is an example of Apple's renewed focus on Mac loyalists. The company is planning to bring back an SD card slot for the next MacBook Pros so users can insert memory cards from digital cameras. That feature was removed in 2016, to the consternation of professional photographers and video creators, key segments of the MacBook Pro user base. The heavily criticized Touch Bar, the current model's touchscreen function row, is also going.

Looking further ahead, Gurman says Apple is looking at cellular connectivity for Mac, as well as Face ID. The latter was originally planned for this year's iMac redesign, however, neither feature "appears to be coming soon." The news reflects reports last week about big new changes to the Mac. From that report:

First up, supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has revealed several key new details about the expected devices. In a note seen by iMore, Kuo reiterated that Apple will release a new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro in Q3 of 2021. They will feature a new chassis design with a flat, right-angled top and bottom cover akin to that of the iPhone 12, rather than the slight curve of previous models. Kuo says that MagSafe charging will return, but the Touch Bar is out in favor of a row of physical buttons. Kuo says there will be no Intel option for the new Macs, and that they'll be equipped with more types of port so that users "may not need adapters." Kuo says the new MacBooks will boost MacBook shipments by 25-30% in 2021 to some 20 million units, with the MBP accounting for 60-70% of total shipments. Kuo also says the new MacBook Pro models will adopt a heat dissipation style similar to the current 16-inch MBP for improved cooling.

Gurman also says that Apple has big plans across the board for its Macs in future:

The Mac is Apple's oldest product line and has a loyal following. A few years ago, the company was criticized for not updating these computers enough and not paying attention to customer demands. Now, there's a flood of updates coming. In addition to the new MacBook Air, Apple is planning its biggest update to the MacBook Pro since 2016, the first redesign of the iMac in nearly a decade, a new Intel-based Mac Pro, and a half-sized Mac Pro desktop with in-house chips.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9