M2-powered MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro might land later this year

A colorful array of MacBook Air laptops against a splashing, pastel backdrop
(Image credit: Jon Prosser / Future)

With the Apple March event in the rearview mirror, we're all still waiting on a new MacBook Air and new MacBook Pro 13-inch, and a new report says we might have to wait for a good while longer.

Many of us expected the two new MacBook models to make an appearance this week, so much so that the Mac Studio and Studio Display announcement caught a few of us by surprise. Unfortunately, a new report from 9to5Mac indicates that we might have to wait until later this year before we'll see the new devices.

According to unnamed sources, the new MacBooks will feature the rumored M2 system-on-a-chip (SoC), which is codenamed J413 and referred to internally as "Staten." According to those sources, the SoC is based on Apple's A15 Bionic chip that powers the iPhone 13, though, obviously, it would be a scaled-up version of that processor in order to power a full-sized computer rather than a mobile device.

These sources also indicate that the M2 will have the same 6-core CPU, but will have a slightly beefier 10-core GPU. That would give it two or three more GPU cores than the M1 (which comes in seven-core and eight-core GPU configurations) and there is no word yet on whether there would be an upgrade to the SoC's neural engine core count or any additional features it might introduce.

The report also says that the M2 Pro, M2 Max, and M2 Ultra are also in the works and that the M2 Ultra would have a massive 24-core CPU, but these are likely too far in the future for us to even begin to speculate on.

Analysis: take everything with a grain of salt

As this author noted earlier this week, unnamed source reporting isn't always wrong, but it's impossible to distinguish between what is speculation and what is actual fact and until you get an official confirmation, you need to treat everything with skepticism.

While there's no reason to doubt that 9to5Mac's sources are legit (they did break the news that the Mac Studio and Studio display were in the works), not all of the details in its exclusive were accurate. The Studio Display is not a 7K monitor but 5K, for example, and the Mac Studio and Studio Display weren't "in the works" with an eye towards a WWDC announcement, they were ready to go less than a week after the report was published.

So, in short, these reports can be more or less on target, but we can't know until we see it confirmed, and even then it might only be partially legit. The problem is, we can't say which parts will pan out, and this is especially true of historically tight-lipped Apple. 

We've gotten contradictory reports on whether the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air will get a redesign, whether they'll feature an M2 chip, and honestly, the release date rumors have been all over the map. There's a reason nearly everyone this week expected a 13-inch MacBook Pro announcement, at the very least, but we didn't see one.

In the end, it's a fairly reasonable assumption that we will see a new MacBook Air at some point, possibly even this year. It's Apple's most popular computer, by far, and it is arguably the best laptop you can buy right now. We can't imagine a world where it is discontinued. But honestly, take even that assumption with a grain of salt. 

If there's one thing we can definitively say about Apple it's that it loves making surprise announcements no one expected. It's a hell of a marketing strategy that's served it well in recent years, so we don't expect that to change any time soon.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).