Apple M1 devices and Apple M2 devices are now the default recommendation for many reviewers when it comes to popular laptop classes. Slim and light? Try the 13.2-inch MacBook Air. Big and powerful? Grab the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The 15-inch Ultralight is one of the few Windows PC form factors that still dominates the market.
Until, perhaps, next week. Apple announced that its 15″ MacBook Air, powered with the M2 chip will be available on shelves starting June 13th. I can’t wait to see how it feels. I’m curious about what the 15-inch MacBook Air is like. More importantly, I am excited to see what impact it will have on the 15″ lightweight space. Because I think that it could be huge.
Apple has dominated many segments of laptop sales since the introduction of the M1 processor in 2020. Apple’s chips are superior in terms of battery life and performance to Intel’s offerings for Windows computers over the last few generations. I find it difficult to recommend any other 13-inch ultraportable for productivity and office work, even though its lack of ports and webcam notch make me angry. Since their release, I have recommended the 16-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pros to video editors. There are no other workstations for creators in my Best Laptops List.
Apple hasn’t offered a large screen laptop for a long time. The hadwas Windows options in abundance. The Gram. The Microsoft Surface Laptop. The Samsung Galaxy Book. The Dell XPS 15 is available in certain models. All of these devices are portable and well-built, with many features to offer. Since the M1 chip was introduced in 2020, these are among the few Windows PCs to have maintained their position.
The 15-inch MacBook Air, weighing 3.3 pounds, is set to change all that.
Right now, laptops with large screens are niche products. Office workers are always looking for solid, portable 14-inch or 13-inch laptops. I rarely hear anyone asking for an ultraportable 15-inch. The larger devices account for more than half the laptop market’s revenue. However, many companies (such Asus and Acer), derive a large portion of their revenues from gaming devices. In our current zeitgeist, I believe there is a general belief that a large screen means big power and smaller screens are for the rest of us.
It doesn’t need to be this way. With a large screen, you can do more, from Tweetdecking and Excel spreadsheeting to Netflixing. After all, people love huge phones. One wonders if the Air, a well-known brand, will help consumers to see the benefits of the 15-inch screen.
It is my hope, but perhaps even more important, that the giant Air will raise the overall 15-inch category. I hope that it will do for its competitors what the 13-inch Air has done to the ultraportable category. It’s important to put pressure on them. Make them sweat. Find out how to make the top line of companies stand out.
After the M1 MacBooks, we received the Dell XPS 13 Plus. This ultra-thin version, which we had seen for years, featured an OLED display, an invisible touchscreen, and an LED function bar. It was a laptop that had flaws but it could reach a new audience and revolutionize the way people view the laptop as a gadget. The PC was a way to make a statement and to be different from Apple. This could be the first 15-inch PC.
Intel’s Meteor Lake is expected to be released towards the end of the year. If Apple’s M2 performs the same in the 15″ Air as in previous MacBooks that we have tested, Windows OEMs are likely to demand more from Intel — longer battery life and more performance. I hope Meteor Lake will be competitive. The consumer will then really benefit.