The Case for a 15-Inch MacBook Air     – CNET

The Case for a 15-Inch MacBook Air – CNET

Apple’s iconic MacBook Air laptop comes in one 13-inch screen size, for now. 

A steady stream of rumors points to a new 15-inch MacBook Air debuting at Apple’s upcoming WWDC conference in June. The latest not-quite-confirmation comes from Bloomberg’s noted Apple prognosticator, Mark Gurman, who says the new 15-inch Air will join WatchOS 10, iOS 17, MacOS 15 and Apple’s long-awaited mixed-reality headset at the June 5-9 event


Watch this: Why Apple Needs a 15-inch MacBook Air

This would not be the first time Apple has offered a MacBook Air in a different screen size. From 2010 to 2016, the company offered an 11-inch MacBook Air, which we reviewed several times during its six-year lifespan

Apple MacBook Air (11-inch, 2013)

The 11-inch MacBook Air. 

Read more: Best MacBook for 2023

Following that, Apple released the 12-inch MacBook (minus the “Air”). That small system ended up being one of my favorite laptops of all time, but it has sadly also been discontinued. 

Further, Apple’s long-standing 15-inch MacBook Pro vanished in 2019, replaced by new 14-inch and 16-inch versions, leaving Apple without a 15-inch laptop, which is still one of the most common screen sizes for Windows laptops.  

Apple Macbook 12-inch 2017

The 12-inch MacBook.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Throughout all this, the 13-inch Air has remained a standard, although the exact screen dimensions shifted a bit between the 16:10 aspect ratio of the M1 Air and the slightly larger 3:2 aspect ratio of the newer M2 MacBook Air. 

But there’s an excellent case to be made for a 15-inch version of the MacBook Air. The 13-inch MacBook Air remains my default choice as the single most universally useful laptop for most people. But a 13-inch screen, no matter how good, isn’t necessarily big enough to be your all-day, everyday laptop. Especially if, like me, you have a set of aging eyes, bigger screens are becoming more important.  

The problem is that the least-expensive 14-inch MacBook Pro is $1,999. The least-expensive 16-inch MacBook Pro is $2,499. That’s a big jump from the $1,199 13-inch MacBook Air. 


A 15-inch MacBook Pro from 2018. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The idea of jumping into a larger 15-inch screen for a MacBook Air, using the same M2 chip as the 13-inch Air is an appealing one, especially if it adds only a modest premium to the price. Personally, I’d say around $1,300 to $1,400 would be a reasonable starting price, if you assume it would have specs similar to those of the 13-inch M2 Air. 

This is far from the first time we’ve talked about this. A quick Google search revealed that I wrote about the potential appeal of a 15-inch MacBook Air way back in 2012. According to a poll we ran in 2012, a 15-inch Air was the winner among CNET readers for the most-anticipated laptop of 2012.

We were clearly jumping the gun back then, but a mere decade later, it may finally be time to give the MacBook Air a supersized option. 

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Dan Ackerman

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