MacBook Air 2022 won't launch any time soon – but will it be worth the wait?

Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) Rear Lid
(Image credit: Future)

The MacBook Air 2022 is set to enter mass production in the third quarter of 2022, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo has been pretty on the money when it comes to predicting Apple’s moves in the past, and this sort of time frame does make sense.

The MacBook Air 2022 has been rumored to come with a rather radical design overhaul, with a thinner and lighter build, USB 4 support and a MagSafe charging connector. There are also rumors that the new MacBook Air 2022 will come in a variety of colors, like the new iMac 24-inch (M1, 2021), and will feature a mini-LED display.

The previous MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is a fantastic device – and is currently our pick for the best laptop in the world – so it was always likely that we’ll be seeing a new version, but if Kuo’s prediction is right, then the wait for a new MacBook Air is going to be a long one.

No new MacBook Air for 2021?

If this rumor is true, then it means there won’t be a MacBook Air released in 2021. This could be a blow to anyone who was hoping to get an updated version – especially as 2020 actually saw two MacBook Air releases, an earlier one with an Intel processor, then a second release in October that came with Apple’s new M1 chip.

There are rumors that Apple is gearing up to show off new MacBooks in October, and these are looking increasingly likely to be new MacBook models running a more powerful chip – rumored to be the M1X.

This makes sense, as Apple has moved much of its products to the M1 chips, but the MacBook Pro 16-inch hasn’t had an update. If Apple has been working on a more powerful version of the M1 chip for its high-end pro devices, then it may hold off releasing a more affordable MacBook Air device at the moment.

Analysis: Good things come to those who wait

In our view, Apple’s switch to the M1 chip was a triumph. The MacBook Air that was released at the end of 2020 was a brilliant device, which offered an excellent performance, long battery life, and compatibility with iOS apps.

However, it seems as though Apple's switch to its own chips means we may not see a yearly update for MacBooks - at least, for now.

This isn’t a bad thing, though. For a start, it means you’re one-year-old MacBook isn’t going to feel outdated as soon as a new model is released.

It also gives Apple more time to improve and innovate. The MacBook Air is a great laptop, but on the outside, its design has barely changed for years. If the MacBook Air 2022 doesn’t hit mass production until the third quarter of the year, it means it probably won’t launch until October 2022 or later – around two years since the last model was launched.

According to rumors, those two years will bring a welcome new design with cutting edge technology, and gives Apple the chance to make the M2 chip (or whatever it calls the follow up to the M1) an even more impressive bit of silicone.

If that indeed happens, then the MacBook Air 2022 will definitely be worth the wait.

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. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.