Apple is rumoured to be on the verge of releasing a completely new 12-inch all-aluminium MacBook Air for 2015, with a radical design overhaul that has fewer ports but a much higher resolution display and gorgeously thin lines.
New MacBook Air: super thin and light
The new design was revealed in an article on Mac website 9to5Mac.com and shows a fresh design that makes the already svelte MacBook Air (one of the best and most popular ultra-light laptops) even thinner and lighter. This makes the new machine almost a cross between an iPad and a laptop, but Apple has replaced most of the ports (including the excellent MagSafe port) with a reversible USB Type C connector that will handle charging and presumably peripherals. The Air might not even have an SD card slot if 9to5Mac’s report is accurate.
Apple already redefine slim and light laptops when it introduced the original Air, and the concept has been refined to perfection since then. The new design (which retains the tapered ‘teardrop’ profile) looks set to be another game changer when it’s released, if the rumours are true of course.
Edge to edge keyboard and no ports…
If Apple does only provide one port (besides the headphone jack on the right) then users may need a USB adaptor or other accessory if they want to plug anything else in, but it’s possible that the leaks on 9to5Mac may not be the final design. It’s still possible that Apple may opt include two USB Type-C ports for convenience.
In terms of the physical characteristics of the new laptop, the keyboard is now an edge-to-edge design with a slightly different layout and less space between keys (shown below), as well as redesigned speaker ports which also double as a heat outlet. If true, it’s a strange choice to relocate the power key next to the escape key, however.
Intel has just released its new Broadwell series of ultra efficient CPUs, so it’s expected that Apple will use this chipset in the new MacBook Air, as well as increasing the display resolution to a so-called Retina Display which means that images and text are sharper and clearer – that’s something that Mac lovers have been anticipating for a year or more now as the majority of Apple devices now include hi-res screens.
What other changes can we expect?
It’s quite possible the Air will sport a fan-less design (so extremely quiet), and there’s even a remote chance it could use one of Apple’s A-series CPUs as found in the iPad and iPhone. However it’s thought that those chips aren’t yet quite powerful enough to power a fully-fledged laptop. If Apple sticks with Intel this time around, the Air will still achieve a superior better battery life thanks to Broadwell.
Another change expected relates to the trackpad – it’s still pretty much the same size but extends further towards the keyboard and edge of the computer. The article claims the trackpad cannot be physically clicked anymore to save space – current Macs have a clickable trackpad that users can press anywhere on the surface. In my personal experience, I usually just click by a single tap, so the click isn’t something that would be missed by most people. Apple was awarded a patent in January 2014 for a force-feedback trackpad design, which could be what we see on the new Air.
MacBook Air release date?
As for the release date, nothing is certain yet, but since Intel is already shipping Broadwell, it’s quite possible that we might see the new MacBook Air sometime in February or March, around the same time as the Apple Watch or at the latest by the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June this year.
We can’t wait to get our hands on the new machine!