On Monday, June 6, Apple will look at the upcoming changes to its iOS and macOS operating systems, along with other key software announcements. The event, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), is a developer-focused event where the Cupertino company likes to share details on the latest software updates for iPhones, iPads and Macs.
Although it’s a software-centric event, Apple could use the stage to announce new Macs with the next-generation M-series chipsets. What can Mac consumers and pro-level users expect this year? Let’s round up what Apple may launch at WWDC 2022 in terms of Mac hardware.
All-new MacBook Air
The MacBook Air remains the most popular Mac on the market, and there is a reason why people like this computer so much. The MacBook Air is one of the fastest laptops in its segment, but it is also lightweight and costs about the same as popular ultra-portable Windows laptops. If the latest rumors are to be believed, the Air will get a major refresh, and the new model could be announced as early as next week at WWDC.
The next generation of MacBook Air is expected in various colors similar to the newer iMacs. It will still have a thin and light design, but the classic tapered edge will get replaced with a flat-edge design that resembles the iPad Pro and iPad Air. It is also expected to get white bezels around the screen, a 1080p Full HD webcam, and revised ports. It is unclear whether Apple will pack the upcoming M2 chip inside the Air. However, a March tweet from reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts the next MacBook Air will have an M1 chip, not an M2 processor. He also stressed that production for the next-gen MacBook Air could only start by the end of the second or third quarter.
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Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman believes the new MacBook Air will come with the M2 chipset as these laptops are already in testing, although the Covid-19 related supply chain disruptions have complicated this in China. In his latest newsletter, Gurman thinks that if any Mac hardware does make an appearance at WWDC it will probably be the MacBook Air, although previously he has stated that it will only make an appearance after September 2022.
New Mac Pro with Apple Silicon
At the company’s March event, Apple senior vice president of Hardware Engineering John Ternus shared the teaser for a new Apple silicon Mac Pro on stage. Not much is known about the professional-grade Mac Pro, which will replace the 2019 Mac Pro, the one with an Intel chip inside and a modular, high-performance Mac tower.
One possibility is that the updated Mac Pro could feature the same M1 Ultra chip that is on the Mac Studio. The Mac Pro could have a smaller body and lower price. Another speculation is that Apple will launch a beefed-up version of the M1 Ultra chip and market it with a different name and use case.
The existing Mac Pro, which is still available to buy from the Apple Store, starts at $ 5999 and goes up to $ 50,000 for the top-end model. Remember, you have to shell out another $ 4999 to get a 6K, 32-inch Pro Display XDR.
Mac Mini with M2
Two years ago, Apple updated the Mac mini with the M1 chip alongside the MacBook Air. Now, Apple unveiling an updated version of the Mac mini at next week’s WWDC would be interesting. According to leaks and reports, the computer will likely have a glossy, “pixel glass-like” surface, similar to the original Mac mini from 2005. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has talked in the past about how he expects Apple to upgrade the Mac mini to two variants: one with the M2 chipset and one with an M1 Pro chipset.
The new Mac Mini is also expected to have four Thunderbolt ports, two USB-A ports, HDMI, Ethernet and a magnetic power connector. Although interest in desktop computers has slowed, Apple continues to sell the Mac mini. Frankly, it makes sense for Apple to continue supporting the most affordable Mac desktop.
13-inch MacBook Pro
Last updated in late 2020, the 13-inch MacBook Pro holds an odd place in Apple’s Mac lineup. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is neither as fast as the 14 or 16-inch MacBook Pros, nor as affordable and lightweight as the entry-level MacBook Air. So, why would Apple want to keep the 13-inch MacBook Pro? Well, the answer is less complicated than it seems. No matter what trade pundits and insiders say, the 13-inch MacBook Pro will continue to attract a section of users who don’t want to pay a high price for a 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro but still need a light- weight professional-grade laptop.
It might be easier for Apple to market the new 13-inch MacBook Air to those who want a Touch Bar and a better battery life. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro may get the same M2 processor as the next MacBook Air, as well as similar storage and memory options.
No new 27-inch iMac
The 27-inch iMac, an all-in-one desktop computer targeted at professionals, is due for an upgrade. And while Gurman has talked about a larger iMac Pro with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chip options being on the cards, it is unlikely to make an appearance any time soon. With the M1 silicon family, Apple has finally streamlined its Mac lineup with a solid strategy. The recent introduction of Mac Studio and the expected upgrade to the Mac Pro will mean Apple will not need a specific ‘pro’ desktop range in the future just to showcase more power.