New MacBook Air: our 3 biggest unanswered questions

We know it's coming. But when? And how much is it going to cost? And what will its specs be?

MacBook Air M2
(Image credit: Jon Prosser, RendersByIan)

After the Apple Spring Event, the deluge of questions. And one of the biggest ones is this: when will we see the 2022 MacBook Air? Rumours have helped put flesh on many of the next MacBook Air's bones, and each one makes us a little more excited by the prospect and a little more irritated that we can't buy it yet. So when is it coming and what can we expect? Here's what we know so far.

When is the MacBook Air 2022 coming?

So much for the rumours that we'd see the MacBook Air 2022 at Apple's Spring Event. Rumoured timescales have been shifting, so while we were originally told by various outlets to expect a late 2021 or early 2022 launch it's now looking increasingly likely that we won't see it until the second half of 2022 – although an April event isn't entirely impossible just yet. 

A later-2022 release makes sense, though, partly because that's the peak buying season for college and uni students: any time we're on a campus there are so many MacBook Airs it feels like we've stumbled into an Apple ad. And the semiconductor shortage may have been easing lately, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine could bring it back: Ukraine is where half of the world's neon gas comes from, and that's a crucial gas for making microchips. So Apple may well be playing safe with its production plans.

How much money will the 2022 MacBook Air cost?

That depends. If it's a like-for-like replacement of the current model we'd expect the starting price to remain the same too: that's currently $999/£999. But if Apple makes the next MacBook Air a slightly higher end model instead, then we'd expect it to be more expensive. But not too expensive: the Air is one of the best laptops right now, but if it gets a lot more expensive that'd make it too pricey for many.

What will the 2022 MacBook Pro specifications be?

The most solid-seeming rumours say we'll get a similar range of colours to the fourth and fifth generation iPad Air, and that the design will be thinner and lighter than before too. Together that would mean a very different-looking device.

The original MacBook Air sacrificed connectivity for thinness and was criticised for it, but the 2022 MacBook Pro could still include twin USB-C ports while getting so thin you could cut cheese with it. If you look at the current model some of its size is disguised by clever design: it's not as thin as it looks, and if you view it from side-on you'll see that quite a lot of it sits underneath the visible area. A more iPad-esque design could remove the need for such visual trickery. We're not expecting many more ports – again, the bigger MacBook Pros offer that – but we do think MagSafe will make a welcome return and we're really hoping we'll finally see a decent quality webcam, ideally with Centre Stage support like the new Apple Studio Display

An M2 processor, a more efficient version of the M1, is widely expected too, but we're not convinced by the rumoured mini-LED display: we think Apple will reserve that for the MacBook Pros

The truth is, Apple doesn't need to think too different for the MacBook Air to sell like hotcakes: it just needs to keep it current, and ideally make it visually different for that all-important campus cred. The current version is already one of the best laptops of any kind, so the 2022 version doesn't need to reinvent the wheel to be similarly successful.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).