On Monday, June 6, Apple will review upcoming changes to its iOS and macOS operating systems, as well as other key software announcements. The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is a developer-focused event where the Cupertino company likes to share details about the latest software updates for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Although this is a software-centric event, Apple could use the stage to announce new Macs with next-gen M-series chipsets.
What can Mac consumers and pro-level users expect this year? Let’s recap what Apple might launch at WWDC 2022 in terms of Mac hardware.
The All-New MacBook Air
The MacBook Air remains the most popular Mac on the market, and there’s a reason people love this computer so much. The MacBook Air is one of the fastest laptops in its segment, but it’s 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 different colors similar to the new iMacs. It will still have a thin and light design, but the classic tapered edge will be replaced with a flat edge design that resembles the iPad Pro and iPad Air. It should also have white bezels around the display, a Full HD 1080p webcam and revised ports. It’s unclear if Apple will package the next M2 chip inside the Air. However, a March tweet from reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that the next MacBook Air will have an M1 chip, not an M2 processor. He also pointed out that production of the next-generation MacBook Air might not begin until the end of the second or third quarter.
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Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman think the new MacBook Air will come with the M2 chipset as these laptops are already in testing, although the Covid-19 supply chain disruptions have complicated things a bit. In his latest newsletter, Gurman thinks that if any Mac hardware makes an appearance at WWDC, it’s likely to be the MacBook Air, although previously he said that it will only appear after September 2022.
New Mac Pro with Apple Silicon
At the company’s March event, John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, shared a teaser of a new silicon Mac Pro from Apple on stage. Not much is known about the professional-grade Mac Pro, which will replace the 2019 Mac Pro, the one with a 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 found in the Mac Studio. The Mac Pro could have a smaller case and a lower price. Another speculation is that Apple will release 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 for purchase from the Apple Store, starts at $5,999 and goes up to $50,000 for the top-end model. Remember, you have to shell out an extra $4999 to get a 32-inch Pro Display XDR 6K.
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 WWDC next week would be interesting. According to leaks and reports, the computer will likely have a glossy, pixelated glass-like surface, similar to the original Mac mini from 2005. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has explained in the past how he expects Apple to put upgrade the Mac mini. 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 that Apple would continue to support the most affordable Mac desktop.
13-inch MacBook Pro
Last updated in late 2020, the 13-inch MacBook Pro occupies an odd place in Apple’s Mac lineup. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is neither as fast as the 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro, nor as affordable and light 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 experts and trade insiders say, the 13-inch MacBook Pro will continue to attract a portion of users who don’t want to pay a premium price for a 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro but still need a light-weight portable professional quality.
It might be easier for Apple to market the new 13-inch MacBook Air to those who want a Touch Bar and better battery life. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro may have the same M2 processor as the next MacBook Air, along with similar storage and memory options.
No new 27-inch iMac
The 27-inch iMac, an all-in-one desktop computer aimed at professionals, is due for an upgrade. And while Gurman has talked about a larger iMac Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max chip options on the cards, it’s unlikely to make an appearance anytime 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 that Apple won’t need a specific ‘pro’ desktop line in the future just to show off more power.
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