According to people with knowledge of the matter, Apple plans to expand its lineup of laptop computers using its new, faster in-house chips next year, aiming to capture a larger share of the market.
The company is working on a larger MacBook Air with a 15-inch screen that could be released next spring. The people requested anonymity because the plans aren't public. The MacBook Air would be the first model of that size in its 14-year history. The company is also working on its smallest laptop in years.
Apple uses its processors to gain a foothold in a market dominated by Lenovo and HP. After separating from longtime partner Intel in 2020, the company announced its latest chip, the M2, at a developer conference earlier this week. Apple's Mac lineup has experienced a resurgence due to better performance and new designs. The Mac lineup accounts for about 10 percent of Apple's sales.
The 15-inch model in development is a larger version of Apple's 13.6-inch MacBook Air announced this week. The new design, unveiled at Monday's developer's event, is thinner than recent models, relies on the M2 chip, and abandons the wedge-shaped frame. This is the biggest update to the MacBook Air since Steve Jobs introduced it in 2008.
The company had previously planned to release a 15-inch version of this year's MacBook Air but shelved those plans to focus on the 13.6-inch model. Even that model will take some time to reach consumers. Despite the unveiling this week, it will not go on sale until July due to supply-chain constraints.
In addition, Apple is working on a 12-inch laptop that could be released at the end of 2023 or in early 2024. Upon release, it would be the company's smallest laptop since it discontinued the 12-inch MacBook in 2019.
In 2015, Apple introduced its last 12-inch laptop with a slim frame. However, the device was criticized for keyboard problems and sluggish performance. It's unclear whether the new 12-inch laptop would be a lower-end device or a higher-end machine that's part of the MacBook Pro line, which currently comes in 13.3-inch, 14.2-inch, and 16.2-inch sizes.
Apple also sold a 12-inch version of the PowerBook, the predecessor to the MacBook Pro between 2003 and 2006. It also briefly offered an 11.6-inch MacBook Air. Based on the same architecture as the iPhone and iPad, Apple's new Mac processors allow the company to improve performance inside slimmer enclosures.
Apple plans to release new high-end MacBook Pros with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips as early as the end of 2022, but the release date could slip into early 2023. The new 14-inch and 16-inch models, codenamed J414 and J416, won't offer any new features beyond the speedier chips. Next month, Apple will release a 13-inch MacBook Pro with the same M2 chip as the MacBook Air.
There will be 12 processing cores and 38 graphics cores in the next high-end MacBook Pro, up from a maximum of 10 processing cores and 32 graphics cores in the current models. Bloomberg has reported that Apple is also testing new versions of the Mac mini and Mac Pro. An M3 chip is already under development for a future iMac and other products.
Apple's move away from Intel chips has contributed to a significant increase in Mac revenue so far. Apple generated $10.4 billion (roughly Rs. 80,900 crores) in Mac sales during the second quarter of fiscal 2021, nearly double the $5.4 billion (roughly Rs. 42,000 crores) generated in the second quarter of 2020 before Apple made the switch.
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