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Rumour | The MacBook Air 2020 will not be what we expect from Apple

The MacBook Air is due a processor upgrade. (Image source: Apple)
The MacBook Air is due a processor upgrade. (Image source: Apple)
While the iPhone SE 2 may have been put on hold, the MacBook Air 2020 could be arriving as early as next week. The device, which received a minor update last year, is said to be using scissor switching keyboards this year. The MacBook Air 2020 is likely to receive a processor upgrade too, although it may still remain within the Amber Lake-Y family.

While we awarded the Macbook Air 2019 an 85% overall rating, we also felt that it was also outdated. Simply, the Macbook Air 2019, like its 2018 predecessor, has comparatively weak CPU performance. Apple could be about to change that though, while chucking in a keyboard upgrade to boot.

Citing an anonymous source, MacRumors claims that Apple will release the MacBook Air 2020 "as early as next week". While anonymous sources should always be treated with caution, this is the same source that correctly tipped off MacRumors to Apple releasing new iPad Air and iPad mini models on March 18 last year. They also correctly claimed Apple would then release new iMacs a day later. The same source also stated that Apple would release a new iPod on March 20, 2019, but the company unveiled new AirPods instead.

Now, the source is quoted as reporting that "Apple plans to announce new MacBook Air models next week". While the source did not provide any additional information, Apple has form for quietly launching products in March.

If true, then the MacBook Air 2020 could be the first proper upgrade for the series since 2018. According to Ming-Chi Kuo the next MacBook Air will feature scissor-switch keyboards, a reasonable prediction considering that Apple switched to these for the MacBook Pro 16. Additionally, the MacBook Air is due a processor refresh. The Macbook Air 2019 runs on the Core i5-8210Y, a chip that Intel announced in late 2018 alongside the MacBook Air 2018.

Before you get excited, we doubt that Apple will upgrade the MacBook Air to Ice Lake-Y processors. Debuting a new architecture on its low-end laptop would be a strange move. Instead, it seems more likely that we will have to wait until the rumoured MacBook Pro refresh later this year before we see Ice Lake processors powering Apple hardware.

However, there is another option. As Forbes reported last year, Apple may keep the MacBook Air an Amber Lake-Y laptop, while upgrading it to 10th generation Intel Core processors. Confusingly, Intel lists Comet Lake-Y processors like the Core i5-10210Y under "Products formerly Amber Lake Y". Apple being Apple, then it would probably include a custom Intel chip in the MacBook Air called something like the Core i5-10410Y or Core i7-10610Y. The main upgrade would be core count, with the MacBook Air going from dual-core to quad-core processors.


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 03 > The MacBook Air 2020 will not be what we expect from Apple
Alex Alderson, 2020-03-13 (Update: 2020-03-13)