– Expected to debut in 2024, perhaps in March or April
– Will have M3 chip inside (of course)
– May not bring in any other major changes
– Won’t upgrade to an OLED screen
The M3 chip launched late last year, and Apple introduced new MacBook Pro models packing the SoC (as well as an iMac 24-inch), meaning expectations are high for this silicon to power-up the MacBook Air in 2024.
It’s fully expected that we’ll see a revamped MacBook Air in 2024, but what else will this laptop pack save for the obvious M3 upgrade? That’s what we’re going to explore here, as well as all the gossip on release timeframes, pricing, and everything else you might want to know about the next-gen Air.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next-gen MacBook Air laptop from Apple
- When is it out? Rumors suggest spring 2024
- How much will it cost? We’re guessing pricing will likely hold at current levels
MacBook Air 2024 rumored release date and price
It’s a pretty safe bet that the next iteration of the MacBook Air carrying the M3 inside – both 13-inch and a revamp of the new 15-inch version launched mid-2023 – will be released this year. With new MacBook Pro models having arrived late in 2023, Apple will surely follow swiftly enough with similar refreshes for its other laptop range.
Rumors about the MacBook Air coming out in 2024 have been flying around for a while, and this makes sense with Apple’s release cadence thus far. We had the MacBook Air with M1 in 2020, then the M2 model (13-inch) first turned up in the middle of 2022, so the logical progression is a 2024 debut for the M3-toting laptops.
Speculation even suggests that the MacBook Air M3 models were near enough ready in October 2023 – and according to well-known Apple leaker Mark Gurman, they’re set for a spring 2024 launch, although more recently Gurman has pinned that down to a likely release at the end of March.
The leaker also mentioned April as another possibility recently, but whatever the case, it seems like the MacBook Air M3 will arrive in the spring of 2024 at some point, and the laptop is already in production, Gurman has told us.
As to pricing, we haven’t heard anything as such about where Apple might pitch the next-gen MacBook Air, but there is an idea floating around (still) that Tim Cook’s firm may be mulling a low-cost MacBook (possibly reviving the 12-inch form factor) to sit under the MacBook Air (and Pro).
If that’s the case, and this notebook turns up in 2024 (as the rumor mill has theorized), then that doesn’t bode well for the MacBook Air getting any more affordable. Not if Apple is planning this other alternative laptop to eventually launch and sit in the wallet-friendly category.
Also, remember that Apple hiked the price of the MacBook Air 13-inch (M2) in 2022 when it first launched, notching it up to start at $1,199 / £1,249 / AU$1,899 (though subsequently it knocked a hundred bucks off after the 15-inch Air was launched).
Given all this, we’re not too hopeful of positive movement in the pricing department, and it seems most likely the pricing might hold (or even creep up slightly – though in the current sales climate, the latter may be an ambitious move to say the least).
MacBook Air 2024 news and rumors
Are we going to see Apple incorporate some major changes and eye-opening new elements with the next-gen MacBook Air? Most likely not, according to the rumor mill.
Okay, so the M3 chip is a given upgrade, as we’ve already mentioned, and that’s a solid step up which will certainly make a difference in adding some extra pep to the laptop (even if it doesn’t make all that persuasive a case for those who already have an M2 inside their portable).
Of course, we presume the MacBook Air 2024 will carry the vanilla M3 and not the faster Pro or Max variants. (Unless the latter come to the 15-inch model, but that’d further blur the line between the MacBook Pro and Air offerings, so we’re not sure Apple would want to do that).
We can keep our fingers crossed that the more efficient M3 chip should help bring better battery life to the next-gen Air, too.
What about the possibility of an OLED screen? True, this was rumored in the past (cast your mind back to March 2023), but since then the speculation from the grapevine has consistently claimed Apple will bring OLED to the MacBook Pro first, then the MacBook Air will follow.
So, you can forget OLED on the MacBook Air 2024, in short.
Mind you, the MacBook Air screen is great anyway (as we point out in our reviews of both the current 13-inch and 15-inch versions), so does it need an upgrade? It’s high-quality and very bright and punchy, so will do for now, we reckon.
Otherwise, chatter about the MacBook Air 2024 has been seriously thin on the ground, which in itself tells a story: namely that big upgrades probably aren’t coming outside of that M3 performance boost. One thing we can expect, though, is better wireless connectivity – Apple brought in Wi-Fi 6E with the new M3-powered MacBook Pro models, so it’d be very odd if the same didn’t happen with the Air.
It’s also likely that the design will remain pretty much the same for these next-gen MacBook Air laptops, especially seeing as the MacBook Air 13-inch (M2) benefited from a new design when it emerged. It’s unlikely Apple will change much so soon, and the lack of any buzz about possible revamps from the rumor mill is another signal that Apple will stick pretty much with what it has already, maybe applying only minor tweaks.
MacBook Air 2024 wishlist
Rumors aside, here’s what we’re hoping Apple might do with the next-gen MacBook Air:
1. Drop that price tag, please
While we already discussed the possibility of Apple making the MacBook Air more affordable as seeming rather unlikely, we can still hope for this.
Or rather, we can hope that Apple isn’t taking the angle of the rumored 12-inch cheaper model of MacBook, and that may allow for the Air’s asking price to be brought back down to the level it was before the mentioned price hike in 2022. Especially if the refreshed Air for 2024 isn’t doing all that much work on the upgrade front, and Apple wants to make it look more compelling in a market with sales headwinds.
But sadly, what’s more likely is that the M2 version will be kept on by Apple as a cheaper alternative to the new M3 models, just as the M1 variant is currently positioned.
2. A more meaningful 15-inch laptop
Not everyone understands or wants the 15-inch model, given that it defeats some of the point of the MacBook Air to an extent, being heavier and less portable (and unable to fit on the tiny tables you’ll be using when traveling on the train or plane).
But for those who do want the benefits of a larger screen and form-factor, it’d be nice to see the supersized Air packing a bit more power under the hood – or some kind of upgrades that make it more than a ‘MacBook Air 13-inch but bigger’ laptop. This lack of differentiation was one of the main complaints in our MacBook Air 15-inch review.
3. A splash of color?
As the MacBook Air is the consumer spin of Apple’s laptops – though the line between the Air and Pro has been considerably more blurry in recent times – could we possibly get some funkier shades of color, aside from the traditional silver and gray paint jobs?
Don’t get us wrong, those look good, but adding a more diverse spray of colors is a pretty simple change that would make the incoming MacBook Air models more attractive.
4. Cool customer
It‘s a fair argument that the passive cooling employed with the MacBook Air is not ideal, and a better cooling system would obviously be an improvement in terms of pepping up the performance of the M3 chip inside. And there‘s a wisp of a possibility that some new tech could come to the next MacBook Air to make this happen, namely the Frore AirJet.
This has been shown off with Frore demonstrating three AirJet Mini ‘cooling chips’ in a modified MacBook Air 15-inch (M2), so we can but hope that maybe Apple might have considered this, or a similar solution, for improved cooling with the M3 take on its thin-and-light laptop. Or at least that down the road, we‘ll see something like this realized...
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).