Apple faces a critical decision on the future of the MacBook

When will Apple release the new M2-powered Macs? Will it be in a macMini or MacBook Air? Will we have a definitive answer at the 2022 Worldwide Developers Conference? And how will this decision impact the entire Mac line for years to come?

Apple’s WWDC is of course the perfect place to announce the capabilities of Apple Silicon’s next generation and M2 chipset family. Although Apple didn’t announce the M1 chips at WWDC in 2020, it did offer the Developer Transition Kit, a macMini-based desktop computer using an A12Z chipset from the iPad Pro but running macOS. This allowed developers to have their ARM-based applications ready to go when new hardware arrived. Essentially, Apple lined up as much as possible before pulling the Intel switch to ARM.

it advertised the M1 alongside the Apple Silicon-powered MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and macMini, ensuring there was no Osborne effect on the latest Intel-based laptops.

The move from the M1 family to the presumed M2 family won’t be as traumatic as that first Intel-to-ARM moment, but the moving parts should be handled with care. You have the introduction of the new Apple Silicon itself; macOS updates to support new features and actual hardware that will be made available to consumers.

The MacBook Air has long been considered the lead machine to be the first M2-based Mac, and if you expect Apple to be traditionally cautious, a new entry-level MacBook Pro and macMini would launch alongside the Air from the middle to the end. -October.

Still…

…there’s a lot of talk surrounding June’s WWDC as the launch event for two new Macs. While there are different combinations on what it could be, the aforementioned MacBook Air and macMini are in the mix. Now these could launch with upgraded M1 chips to provide more powerful options – having an M1 Pro and macMini M1 Max in the portfolio provides flexibility – or Apple could run a similar game through October 2020 and release new hardware, new version of macOS and new M2 chipset in one big power play.

Still…

…we’ve already had talks of a new Mac being built ahead of an Apple event this year, and many were disappointed when the MacBook Air didn’t show up at the Peek Performance event in March. Could this be repeated?

Then there’s the Mac Pro problem. Apple has said its entire line of Mac machines will be switched to ARM-based Apple Silicon by the end of the year, and the Mac Pro stands out for its Intel character. At some point, the biggest, baddest, baddest Mac will need both the update and a boost from a proud Apple. Wouldn’t a supposedly powered M1 Ultra Mac Pro – with a faster macMini – be a better fit for WWDC than the attention-getting entry-level mainstream models? And wouldn’t you like to complete the M1 range before moving on to M2?

So here is Tim Cook’s critical decision. Sticking to the road that pretty much echoes the rest of Apple’s product lineup, set up a semi-annual update cycle on the laptop and chipset; and complete all versions of M1 in a timely manner. Or push ahead with new technology and new hardware, launch a whole new line of products in an unconventional time slot, and disrupt the planning of the entire Mac family.

Now read the latest thoughts on when you should buy a MacBook Air…

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