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MacBook Air 2020 release date and specs rumours

Posted July 9, 2019 | Mac

Apple updated the MacBook Air in 2019, but the only change that came with that update was a slight improvement to the screen (the addition of True Tone) and a price drop. Therefore we are looking forward to the 2020 version of the MacBook Air, which will hopefully address issues with the keyboard, amongst other things.

Find out what will happen to the MacBook Air in 2020. In this article, we round up all the rumours, hints and clues about the 2020 MacBook Air, including price, tech specs, new features and design.

The latest rumour – Apple will revert to the scissor-switch keyboard for the 2020 MacBook Air following problems with the butterfly-mechanism, more below. 

MacBook Air 2020: Release date

Apple updated the MacBook Air in July 2019, in time to catch the back-to-school shopping period. However, as we said, that was a minor update – the addition of True Tone and a price reduction along with the removal of the older-style MacBook Air.

As for 2020, we could see a new MacBook Air at any time really, as this update is so minor. We suspect that there will be an Apple event in the Spring, so we might see something then. Alternatively we might see something at WWDC in June 2020. But the company could just update the Mac laptops and issue a press release as it did in July 2019.

MacBook Air 2020: Price

In July 2019 Apple discontinued the older MacBook Air, as we predicted it would. When it did so it reduced the price of what was the £1,199 model to £1,099.

It’s unlikely that we will see the price decline any further.

However, the rumours about the new MacBook Air in 2018 were predicting that it would cost less than $1,000. It turned out that the new MacBook Air in 2018 started at £1,199 with the older Air maintaining its £949/$999 price. That’s not the cheapest MacBook Air we’ve seen: in 2015 the entry-level 13in model cost £849 and the price has been even lower than that – before the 11in MacBook Air was axed in October 2016, you could get one for £749.

2020 MacBook Air: Design

Since the MacBook Air was redesigned in 2018 – with slimmer bezels, thinner profile, and new colours, it’s unlikely that it will see any significant design changes in 2020.

Will Apple ever release a new 11in MacBook Air? We doubt it. The problem with making a smaller MacBook Air would be the size of the keyboard – there is an optimum keyboard size and a smaller laptop would be less comfortable to type on … Read more about the future of the MacBook here. Plus our review of the 2018 MacBook Air is here.

2020 MacBook Air: Specs

If the MacBook Air is to get an update in 2020, what can we expect?

The 2018 and 2019 models both feature Intel’s 8th Generation dual-core Coffee Lake CPU and the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 617. The 2018/2019 Air also offers up to 16GB RAM, which is twice as much as the last generation.

For the 2019 MacBook Air Apple reduced the price of 1TB SSD to £400/$400, previously it only offered a 1.5TB SSD cost which cost an additional +£1,000/$1,000

We would expect to see the introduction of a new processor and integrated graphics card in 2020. Speaking of processors…

Apple-designed processors

Some reports are suggesting that Apple may be creating its own processors to power its MacBooks. The reports are suggesting those processors could appear in 2020.

Bloomberg reported in January 2018 that Apple is developing more of its own co-processors (like the T2 chip in the iMac Pro and the 2018 MacBook Pro and now Air) for use in its desktop and laptop computers.

According to 9to5Mac, who spoke to supply chain sources in May 2018 about a new processor that is being built on behalf of Apple by Pegatron (who manufactures other Apple iOS devices), an Apple-made processor could feature in the “First ARM-based Mac, with a ship date as soon as 2020.”

That site claims: “We do know that it has a touchscreen, a sim card slot, GPS, compass, is water resistant and it also runs EFI.”

While the inclusion of a touchscreen, SIM card slot and water resistance might suggest an iPhone or iPad, 9to5Mac believes that it could be a Mac. That site points out that EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) is the boot system used by Macs.

9to5Mac suggests this new chip will be used for a brand-new device family that it will run a derivative of iOS.

Could this new device be a new 13in MacBook Air? Possibly – but we probably won’t see it until 2020.

MacBook Air 2019

Built-in LTE/4G

Speaking of this new Apple chip – one feature it is said to include is LTE connectivity. Will we have to wait until 2020 before Macs ship with such capabilities?

Digital Trends suggested, in April 2018, that a new Mac could have built-in LTE connectivity.

This would place them in direct competition with the new ‘always connected’ Windows 10 PCs, which are laptops with built-in cellular connections.

One such machine is the HP Envy x2. That laptop uses Snapdragon 835’s X16 LTE modem so that it can keep users connected all the time.

Touch Bar

The 2018/2019 MacBook Air offers Touch ID, with a fingerprint sensor built into the keyboard. This is useful for security (unlocking the MacBook Air) and for making Apple Pay payments.

MacBook Air Touch ID

Unlike other Touch ID equipped Macs, there is no Touch Bar on the 2018 Air though. Apple says that the Touch Bar is aimed at professional users and hence has no place on the Air. Perhaps a future Mac could replace the Touch Bar functionality with on-screen controls, which we feel might be more intuitive. Incidentally, when Catalina launches it will bring a new feature that allows users to connect their iPad to their Mac and use it as an additional screen with Touch Bar functionality.

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