On Monday, June 6, Apple will keep an eye on upcoming changes to its iOS and macOS operating systems, as well as 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 about the latest software updates for iPhone, iPad and Mac.
Although this is a software-centric event, Apple could use the stage to unveil new Macs with next-gen M-series chipsets. What can Mac consumers and professional users expect this year? Let’s wrap up the Mac hardware Apple is likely to unveil at WWDC 2022.
The 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 class, but it’s also lightweight and costs about the same as popular ultraportable Windows laptops. If the latest rumors are to be believed, the Air will get a major update, and the new model could be revealed as early as next week’s WWDC.
The next-generation MacBook Air is expected to come in a variety of colors similar to the new iMac. It will still have a thin and light design, but the classic tapered edges will be replaced by flat edge designs similar to the iPad Pro and iPad Air. Expect white bezels around the screen, a 1080p Full HD webcam, and improved ports. It’s unclear if Apple will package the upcoming M2 chip in the Air. However, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted in a March tweet that the next-generation MacBook Air will feature an M1 chip, not an M2 processor. He also stressed that production of the next-generation MacBook Air can only begin at the end of the second or third quarter.
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Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman believes that the new MacBook Air will feature the M2 chipset, as these laptops are already in testing, although supply chain disruptions related to Covid-19 have complicated the situation in China. In his latest newsletter, Gurman believes that if any Mac hardware does make an appearance at WWDC, it’s likely to be the MacBook Air, although he has previously said 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 the new Apple silicon Mac Pro on stage. Not much is known about the professional-grade Mac Pro, which will replace the 2019 Mac Pro, which has built-in Intel chips and a modular, high-performance Mac tower.
One possibility is that the updated Mac Pro might have the same M1 Ultra chip as the Mac Studio. The Mac Pro may have a smaller body and a lower price. Another speculation is that Apple will launch an enhanced version of the M1 Ultra chip and market it under a different name and use case.
Existing Mac Pros are still available from the Apple Store starting at $5,999, with high-end models starting at $50,000. Remember, you’ll have to shell out another $4,999 to get the 6K, 32-inch Pro Display XDR.
Mac Mini with M2
Two years ago, Apple updated the Mac mini with the M1 chip and the MacBook Air. Now, it’ll be interesting to see Apple unveil an updated version of the Mac mini at WWDC next week. According to leaks and reports, the computer will likely have a smooth “pixel glass-like” surface, similar to the original Mac mini from 2005. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has talked in the past about how he wants Apple to upgrade the Mac mini to two variants: one with the M2 chipset and one with the M1 Pro chipset.
The new Mac Mini is also expected to feature four Thunderbolt ports, two USB-A ports, HDMI, Ethernet, and a magnetic power connector. Although interest in desktop computers has slowed, Apple has continued to sell the Mac mini. Frankly, it makes sense that Apple continues to support the most affordable Mac desktops.
13-inch MacBook Pro
The 13-inch MacBook Pro was last refreshed in late 2020, and it has a 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 lightweight as the entry-level MacBook Air. So why is Apple keeping the 13-inch MacBook Pro? Well, the answer is not as complicated as it seems. Regardless of what industry experts and industry insiders say, the 13-inch MacBook Pro will continue to appeal to a segment of users who don’t want to pay the premium price for a 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro, but still want something light. A heavyweight 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 better battery life. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro will likely feature the same M2 processor as the next-generation MacBook Air, along with similar storage and memory options.
No new 27-inch iMac
The 27-inch iMac, an all-in-one desktop computer for professionals, is about to get an upgrade. While Gurman has talked about a larger iMac Pro and M1 Pro and M1 Max chip options, it’s unlikely to appear anytime soon. With the M1 chip family, Apple has finally streamlined its Mac lineup with a solid strategy. The recent launch of the Mac Studio and the expected upgrade to the Mac Pro means that Apple will no longer need a specific line of “professional” desktops in the future to showcase more powerful features.