New MacBook Air bristling with upgrades could arrive mid-2022 – but how much might it cost?

Apple MacBook Air M1 being used by a photographer
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s next killer laptop -- the Macbook Air 2022 -- will be landing midway next year complete with plentiful color options and a Mini LED screen, a fresh rumor insists.

This comes from one of the more reliable Apple sources around, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, although any speculation regarding an upcoming hardware launch should be regarded with a good deal of caution, no matter the source.

Skeptical heads on, then, but the details spilled here do line up with previous spinning from the rumor mill. iMore reports that it has seen a note from Kuo which claims that the MacBook Air will be redesigned in the same vein as the MacBook Pro models due later this year – which are supposedly running with a flat-edged design – and that it’ll also come equipped with a Mini LED display.

As per a previous leak from Jon Prosser, another respected Apple source, the MacBook Air may come with different colors, and Kuo backed up Prosser, saying this would be the case. Those colors will purportedly be along similar lines to the new iMac, with a good selection of vibrant hues on offer (this could also mean white bezels for the Air, too).

The refreshed MacBook Air which could arrive in the middle of 2022 is expected to run with a new Apple SoC, of course, and the MacBook Pro models due for later in 2021 are supposedly going to have the new M1X. The MacBook Air could step things up to an M2 chip, going by another rumor which has been floating around (as well as throwing in MagSafe charging, too).

Kuo reckons that the new MacBook Air could entirely replace the current M1-powered model, and do so at the same price point. Or alternatively, Apple could keep the old M1 Air going, and reduce its price accordingly to offer a more wallet-friendly alternative to the new laptop.

Analysis: Upgrades aplenty, but no price hike – is that realistic?

Obviously, if the M1-powered MacBook Air is kept on when the 2022 model is introduced by Apple, then the former would have to be discounted to ensure it’s cheaper – assuming Apple wants to bring in the new MacBook Air starting at the existing $999 (£999 / AU$1,599) baseline, as indicated.

While Apple stuck with that same pricing when the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) debuted, we can’t help but wonder if the firm won’t be hiking things with this next Air launch. In other words, bring in the new MacBook Air at $1,200 or $1,300, and keep the existing M1 model at $999, still as a cheaper option.

Remember that if the rumor mill is right, there are a lot of goodies coming with this fresh take on the Air: a redesign, peppier M2 (maybe) processor, attractive colors, and that much-hyped Mini LED screen, all of which won’t come at a small cost in terms of the bill of materials for the laptop – particularly that high-end display.

In short, while Apple brought the M1 to the MacBook Air without a price increase – which was certainly commendable – we’re not at all certain that’ll be the case with the MacBook Air for 2022, if the purported upgrades pan out, that is. But hey – we can always remain hopeful for a killer new Air at an equally killer price point.

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).