15-inch MacBook Air likely launched at WWDC – will you buy one?

Home » 15-inch MacBook Air likely launched at WWDC – will you buy one?
15-inch MacBook Air likely launched at WWDC – will you buy one?

While both Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and display analyst Ross Young originally expected Apple to announce the upcoming 15-inch MacBook Air at a spring event, that’s looking less and less likely now that we’re into May – and WWDC is approaching.

Gurman now expects the new machine to be launched at WWDC, and it would certainly make for a solid keynote headline …

Our calls for a 15-inch MacBook Air

We’ve been calling for a larger-screened MacBook Air for years now. Indeed, Zac Hall first said more than a decade ago that this would be his dream machine, and he’d buy one back as soon as Apple made one.

I came across a tweet from 2012 in my Timehop feed this week where I declared my intent to buy a 15-inch MacBook Air assuming one would exist eventually. 

Chance Miller agreed, saying that it would be the ultimate MacBook for him and many others.

This would be the ultimate portable MacBook for me, and probably many other people. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is a great machine, but weighing in at 4.8 pounds means it’s noticeable in your backpack. If you need the power that the 16-inch MacBook Pro brings, then it’s a great option. My situation, however, means that I don’t need that power, but I would like the 16-inches of screen real estate. 

I argued that there are a lot of people who want the productivity benefits of a larger screen without needing the power of a MacBook Pro.

There are many reasons people might want a large-screened MacBook Air. Being able to work with two windows side by side is an obvious one. You don’t have to be using pro apps to benefit from this. A student might have a website open as they write a paper. A keen cook might have a recipe open as they compile a shopping list. A writer may have their notes open as they write (if they haven’t yet heard of Scrivener!). There are countless possibilities.

We’ll soon be getting one

With a significant number of people buying a MacBook Pro purely for the larger screen size, Apple was likely worried about cannibalizing those sales. But as the MBP has grown increasingly expensive, the risk of this has substantially reduced – as has the likelihood of Pro buyers downgrading.

Today, for example, someone can buy a 13-inch MacBook Air from $999. If they want to boost the screen size to 16-inches, the cheapest MacBook Pro they can buy will cost them at least $2499. Very few people are going to be willing to pay two-and-a-half times the price just to get a larger screen.

Since almost all MacBook Pro users are buying the machine because they need the power, we’re unlikely to see too many of them choosing instead to buy a 15-inch MacBook Air.

We first heard reports about a 15-inch MacBook Air almost a year ago now, with subsequent suggestions of an April or May release.

That’s still not completely impossible, but given that April has come and gone, we’re into May with no Apple event announced, and getting ever closer to WWDC next month, the smart money is now on an announcement in the developer keynote.

Do you plan to buy one?

We don’t know how much the new machine will cost, but the difference in price between the entry-level 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models is $500. That precedent would suggest that the 15-inch MacBook Air might come in at $500 above the 13-inch M2 model, which would make it $1,799.

However, given the likely volumes the company will sell, Apple may be able to shave $100-$200 from that, to come in somewhere in the $1,599-1,799 range.

At this kind of price, do you plan to buy one? Please take our poll, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Render: Luke Miani

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