New MacBook Air may not arrive for almost a year – and its M2 chip could come with a surprise

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

Apple’s MacBook Air refresh which is rumored to be the first laptop with the new M2 chip, could be delayed until 2022.

The new rumor comes courtesy of DigiTimes, which we should note is not always the most reliable source.

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The key points raised in the report are that the M2 chip could debut with the MacBook Air, as we’ve already heard from leaker Dylandkt, but that it has been delayed – possibly to early 2022 or beyond, meaning the new laptop and SoC might not be here until nearly a year from now (again echoing previous speculation).

The M1X, a pepped-up version of the original M1 chip, will theoretically arrive with the redesigned MacBook Pro models later in 2021, again as per previous spinning from the rumor mill.

The M1X is expected to run with 10-cores – having 8 performance cores, and 2 power-efficient ones – compared to the M1’s 8-cores (with 4 performance, 4 power-efficient cores).

Core climbdown

Interestingly, DigiTimes asserts that the M2 will actually drop the core count from the M1X’s 10-cores, so perhaps scaling things back to the original 8-cores. However, because the M2 is set to be built on an entirely new architecture – supposedly based on the A15, the chip that’ll power the incoming iPhone 13 – as well as using a 4nm process (rather than 5nm with the M1, and supposedly the M1X, though that should have an enhanced 5nm process), this means the M2 could potentially be clocked faster.

That would mean better overall performance than the M1X despite having fewer cores, because as we know, core count is far from everything (and the benefits of multiple cores very much vary from app to app). Naturally, the M2 would have to be more powerful than its predecessor, otherwise the chip wouldn’t make any sense, so it seems Apple might be pushing forward with clocks rather than cores.

This report also falls in line with previous rumors in terms of suggesting that Apple could release an M1X-powered Mac mini alongside the new MacBook Pro models later this year.

Note that the DigiTimes report, which should be taken with a heap of salt anyway, seems to be slightly confused in that it also suggests the new MacBook Air could be launched in the fall of 2021, contradicting the rest of the piece (unless this is a mistake, or something has been lost in translation).

So, take some extra caution on-board here, but a lot of this recent speculation is corroborated by previous leaks. Speaking of that previous speculation, a further detail not mentioned here is that the MacBook Air will come in iMac-like different color schemes, and we’re also expecting the return of MagSafe charging.

Via Wccftech

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).