As a Macbook Air user, I'm extremely excited about what the future will hold for Apple's most popular laptop. I wanted to talk about some of the rumors and how it may impact actual usage for many people. As a warning, these are just rumors and I have no idea if any of these features will actually see the light of day.
Currently, you can purchase a Macbook Air in 11" or 13" screen sizes. If the rumors are true, it looks like the next generation Macbook Air will be available in a 12" screen size. Now does that mean the 11" and 13" version will go away? Not necessarily, Apple loves to expand its product lines to offer customers more choice. More than likely, this will be another choice in the Macbook Air line up. Will it be a more or less expensive choice? I'm not too sure but I'm leaning toward this new model being the more expensive and the 11" and 13" to drop in price a bit.
Although this new version will feature a 12" screen size, that does not mean you'll have less screen real estate to work with if you're coming from a 13" Macbook Air. There's no doubt that this will feature a Retina Display and with Retina you have the ability to adjust to a higher resolution. The 13" Macbook Pro with Retina Display has a native resolution of 2560 x 1600 while the 13" Macbook Air can only go up to 1440 x 900. While these two models have the same screen size, you can have a lot more room to work with on the Macbook Pro with Retina Display
Now this might be the most important part of the new Macbook Air. First, let's talk about what USB Type-C is. It's backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0, features a reversible connector, can deliver up to 100 watts of power, and has the ability to output video via DisplayPort. This means with one connector you could potentially charge, use a second monitor, plug in a keyboard/mouse, and charge/sync your iPhone. This would have to be used with some sort of breakout box like a Belkin Thunderbolt Dock but the possibility is there. What does this mean for MagSafe and Thunderbolt? We'll have to see what the future holds.
If you look closely, this mock-up seems to have the keyboard layout a bit different than Apple's standard keyboard. The esc key has been pushed over by a power button but besides that all keys still remain. The distance between each key looks to be a bit closer and the arrows keys have changed a bit. If you have been typing on an Apple keyboard for some time, this may need some getting use to.
This would be the first time we have ever seen speaker grills on a Macbook Air. In previous versions, speakers would be hidden beneath the keyboard. While not the greatest, they definitely get the job done. Mostly likely this will be an improvement in the sound quality and if the rumors are true, the grills will double as vents for cooling since this will be a fan-less design.
SD card slot, 2nd USB port, MagSafe, and Thunderbolt are all left out in this potential new version of the Macbook Air. All of these can be replaced with the one USB Type-C connector with an adapter of some sort. It looks as though Apple is willing to sacrifice all of these to make the device slimmer and lighter. With so much wireless connectivity now this makes a lot of sense. If you're someone that relies on a bunch of ports this probably is not the machine for you.
Apple has always looked at the ultra portable category differently from other companies. Windows netbooks were inexpensive but were always cheaply made and underpowered. Chromebooks are glorified web browsers that have almost zero native app support. While the concept of having a disposable machine is great, most people cannot use these devices for more that browsing the web and editing some Google docs. The Macbook Air is a no compromise, ultra portable laptop. My 2012 Macbook Air is my main machine for work and home. I can very easily use any pro application like Final Cut, Logic, Photoshop and many more ease. This new version will be very tempting for any Macbook Air user.