Forget the new MacBook Pro, Apple has something much better

Updated March 5: article originally posted March 4.

The launch of the M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pro, joining the M2 MacBook Air, completed the macOS laptop portfolio and moved up from the M1 to the M2 architecture. Those looking for something bigger have no choice but to move up to the MacBook Pro, even if they don’t need the excess power and performance of Pro laptops.

That will change as Apple prepares a better option for consumers than the MacBook Pro.

Update: Sunday March 5: Writes for Bloomberg’s Power On newsletter, Mark Gurman highlights the debate still going on at Apple. Should the next MacBook Air stick with the M2 chipset and allow the larger display to be the main selling point, or should it follow precedent and also bundle a more expensive Apple Silicon:

“But the chip destined for the new MacBook Air models is a little less clear. If these machines launch in a few months with the M2 chip, they will quickly become obsolete. A 15-inch MacBook Air with an M2 chip may still excite consumers, but a new M2 13-inch MacBook Air is unlikely to be convincing.”

The chip selection feels like the old MacBook days, when the option of a larger screen was only available if you bought a machine with more power. Will Apple continue this and push up the price of the new MacBook Air due to the choice of chipset?

Back in the Intel days, there was a natural hierarchy in the MacBook portfolio. Light and thin meant less processing power but more convenience. It was the place for the MacBook Air. As you demanded more power, you claimed the portfolio for the MacBook Pro, bigger, bulkier, with better thermal options and, of course, more expensive.

Apple Silicon changed all that. The launch of the M1-powered MacBook Air offered more power than today’s Intel MacBook Pro by a noticeable margin. The prosumer level of Mac owners no longer needed to lean into the larger and more expensive laptops because the MacBook Air had more than enough for the amount of rendering and software development that the keen hobbyist or small business owner needed.

As for the MacBook Pro, the M1 Pro and M1 Max pushed performance higher, and the M2 Pro and M2 Max built on that. Pro laptops have the power and performance of a workstation. While some will continue to buy the MacBook Pro because of the status of the “Pro” name (and perhaps old habits from the Intel days), those who really need the MacBook Pro are a smaller portion of the addressable MacBook audience.

The launch of the next-generation M2 chipset increased the flexibility of the MacBook Air to a level not seen before. In an instant, the MacBook Air became fit for purpose for countless users (the less said about the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2, the better).

All that’s missing from this mix is ​​something that Apple’s faithful macOS users have been asking for many times over… a MacBook Air with a larger screen to match the capabilities of Windows-powered hardware.

The long-awaited larger Air is on its way. Displays have been ordered, certifications have been sought and production lines have started. At some point in the next few months — in all likelihood, before the Augmented Reality party that will be WWDC 2023 — Apple will deliver a 15-inch MacBook Air with power that would compete with Intel’s fastest and most expensive MacBook Pro days old.

It will hit the sweet spot of performance, size and price. This is the laptop you’ve been waiting for.

Now read the latest Mac, iPhone and AirPods headlines in Forbes’ weekly Apple Loop news roundup…
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