Could Apple kill off the MacBook Air for an even thinner laptop?

(Image credit: Future)

A new rumor has emerged that suggests Apple could be planning to discontinue the MacBook Air, due to its move away from using Intel processors in favor of its own silicon.

An apparently reliable leaker (according to Apple Track) has suggested that because Apple silicon will allow the company to make thinner and lighter laptops, the MacBook Air will effectively become obsolete, with standard MacBooks filling its role of combining a thin and light design with plenty of power and an affordable (by Apple’s standards, at least) price tag.

According to the leaker, a new 14-inch MacBook – possibly called ‘The New MacBook’, will become the most affordable Apple laptop after the MacBook Air is discontinued. The leaker also suggests that the 16-inch MacBook Pro will continue to be Apple’s high-end option.

So long MacBook Air?

So, how likely is it that Apple drops the MacBook Air? First of all, we need to note that this rumor comes from a single leaker, and no matter how accurate their previous leaks have been, you should always approach rumors like this with a healthy degree of scepticism.

Also, Apple has only just released a new MacBook Air this year, so talk of the company ditching the model does feel a little premature.

However, after the 2015 MacBook Air, Apple didn’t release a new MacBook Air model for two years, so it’s clear that Apple has no qualms about stopping – or at least pausing – MacBook Air releases until it makes sense for a new model.

Apple also discontinued the 12-inch MacBook in 2019, with the 2019 model of the MacBook Air taking its place as the most affordable MacBook. Again, this shows that Apple isn’t scared of dropping a product line if it comes up with another product that does the same job – but better.

If moving to its own custom chips for future MacBooks does indeed result in thinner, lighter and more affordable laptops, then it could easily make the MacBook Air’s USP redundant.

We’ll be finding out more about Apple’s plans for the future of its laptops soon, hopefully. Until then, we have to admit the idea of the MacBook Air being replaced by the product it was brought in to replace is somewhat poetic.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.