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MacBook Air’s next big refresh will bring back MagSafe charging

Published Jan 22nd, 2021 8:14PM EST
MacBook Air 2021
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • Apple’s iconic MacBook Air is expected to get a major upgrade as soon as the second half of 2021.
  • The new Air will be smaller, lighter, and more powerful than the 2020 M1-powered model.
  • The laptop will also come with MagSafe support, just like the new MacBook Pro that Apple will launch later this year.

A few days ago, a report said that Apple plans a major makeover for the MacBook Pro, the top-of-the-line laptop that many professionals use and that other companies try to imitate. The new MacBook Pro will get MagSafe charging back, the feature Apple removed a few years ago, much to the dismay of loyal Mac fans.

The new Pro will also address other criticism, as it’s supposed to feature more ports and do away with the Touch Bar. But it’s actually the MacBook Air, the most iconic, best-sold, and most copied Mac design out there. And Apple is working on a massive update for the Air as well, which will include a redesign, high-end performance, and MagSafe charging.

Buy the Apple M1-powered MacBook Air that Apple released in November, and you essentially get a 2020 M1 MacBook Pro variation. The same custom Apple chip powers the Air as well, making it one of the most powerful Air versions ever made. Both laptops have received praising reviews, showing that Apple is definitely on the right track here. But the 2020 M1 Air features the same design as every Air launched since 2018. That’s about to change going forward.

Bloomberg’s well-informed Mark Gurman, who reported on the MacBook Pro redesign a few days ago, also have inside information on the Air refresh.

The new MacBook Air will be released in the second half of 2021 at the earliest, or in 2022. The device will feature the next-gen version of Apple’s M-series chips, MagSafe charging, and two USB 4.0 ports. Apple is also looking at making the laptop smaller and thinner, according to Gurman. The laptop will retain its 13-inch display, but the bezels will be even thinner.

Interestingly enough, Apple is also considering making a 15-inch MacBook Air, a first for the Air series. Apple did make 11-inch Air versions, so it wouldn’t be the first time the Air would come in two distinct screen sizes. However, the 15-inch model would not debut alongside the 2021/2022 Air refresh.

The 2020 M1 Air will remain in Apple’s lineup as an entry-level version, the report says. The new Air would be a higher-end version of the current Air, although it’s unclear what other upgrades it would have in store aside from a new M-series processor.

The report also notes that Apple plans redesigns for the iMac and Mac Pro, in addition to the MacBook Pro. The SD card is returning to the MacBook Pro, and Apple is working on adding Face ID and cellular connectivity to Macs. The upcoming iMac should have been the first Mac with Face ID support, but those plans were pushed back. Cellular support has also been postponed.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.