As an avid user of the best MacBooks – when my last laptop gave up the ghost, I went out and bought a 13-inch MacBook Air (albeit an M1 model, not 2022's redesigned M2 version, as I was tight on cash) – I am so here for the rumoured arrival of a 15-inch MacBook Air from Apple.
Right now, however, the supposed 15-inch MacBook is nothing more than imaginary – with speculation pointing to Apple's June 2023 WWDC showcase for the reveal – but a strong rumour that seems increasingly likely. And it's already got me thinking rather fondly about Apple's yet-to-be-released laptop.
So what features would a 15-inch MacBook Air need to bring to the table to be an immediate purchase? I'm already in the MacOS ecosystem, sure, but the 16-inch MacBook Pro is too pricey (and probably too powerful) for my needs, while the 13-inch MacBook Air, despite its strengths, does still have shortcomings. So here are the three features I'd like to see from an all-new 15-inch MacBook...
1. Minimal bezel, maximal screen
I know, it's kind of obvious: a 15-inch MacBook would need to bring a bigger screen. The clue's in the name, as it's believed Apple will use a 15.5-inch panel, meaning it's not a million miles away from the 16-inch MacBook Pro that's already available.
However, there are ways I'd like to see Apple deliver this to better effect: namely minimise the bezel to make more screen fit into less available space. I can just about cope with the screen notch up top, where the cameras will be housed, which I'll assume is a given at this point.
But I don't want Apple to mess around with the 16:10 aspect ratio that's been MacBook standard for years, as that works just fine for majority of tasks. And the rumours suggest the 15-inch model will forego the faster refresh-rate of Pro Motion, i.e. it'll be 60Hz rather than 120Hz, but that's a differentiator the MacBook Pro models offer and I'm fine with that if the balance of price is fair.
2. Silent, fanless design
Current thinking is that a 15-inch MacBook Air will come fitted with Apple's M2 silicon. And I don't expect that'll mean M2 Pro or M2 Max options in this particular fit. Which, I think, for an Air product is the right move.
Why? Because I don't want a MacBook Air that's going to require 'Active Cooling' as Apple calls it – or fan-based cooling as pretty much every other human calls it. I don't want the thickness associated with cooling, nor do I want the noise. Silent operation is bliss.
The compromise? Well, if Apple delivers a fanless M2 design, as it does in the 13-inch Air, then the 15-inch MacBook Air is going to be throttled. It won't deliver on Pro-level of potential, therefore, but again I'm fine with this – because a large part of the point of this rumoured Mac is to get all that's great about Air, just at a bigger scale.
3. More ports!
This might be wishful thinking: I want a MacBook Air with more ports. And while I'd love it to include an SD card slot (yes, I'm one of those camera users!), I can't truly foresee that happening. Same with HDMI: I'd love to see an HDMI 2.1 port for 4K/120Hz output, but that's the reserve of the Pro models and can't foresee the 15-inch Mac following suit.
But I do think that Apple really needs to utilise the inevitably larger chassis of a 15-inch MacBook in creative ways, including offering more ports. An extra Thunderbolt 4/USB-C port on the opposite side of the existing two would be an obvious starting point.
However, like with the M2-toting 13-inch MacBook Air, I do suspect the 15-inch model will come with Magsafe charging, which is helpful for opening up an extra port. But also on the wishlist is that fast-charging is supported out of the box: I've previously written about which MacBooks ship with which speed of charger, so here's hoping for a 140W plug as standard.