In November 2020 Apple upgraded the MacBook Air to its own-brand processor - the M1. So, is this the right time to pick one up or should you hold out for a few more months to see if the rumours about the next model are true, or should you just wait a days to see if there are any Black Friday discounts? We explore whether you should buy an M1 powered MacBook Air now or whether you should wait.    

When will Apple update the MacBook Air?

One of the worst feelings in tech is to buy a brand-new device then have it superseded by an even newer model a month later. With this in mind, it's important to look at when the MacBook Air (M1) was released and if a replacement is imminent. 

The first M1 MacBook Air was introduced back in November 2020, making it (at the time of writing) a year old. As this is the first of a new generation of machines, due to the M1 chip, we don't know if Apple is planning a standard yearly update or perhaps a longer cycle of 18 months or more.

At the moment, the rumours indicate that a new MacBook Air will arrive in 2022, but precisely when remains a matter of debate. Various industry experts, including Jon Prosser and Mark Gurman initially predicted it's arrival by the end of 2021, but later changed their predictions suggesting that it won't arrive until 2022. The global chip shortage and supply chain disruptions caused by Covid are both factors that could be delaying the introduction of a new model. 

Answer: It looks like we could be waiting until the summer of 2022 at least before a new MacBook Air launches, so, unless you are really keen to get the new model, buy now.

Should I wait for MacBook Air discounts?

With the wealth of industry insiders predicting that the MacBook Air won't be updated for a few months yet (or maybe a lot more), it seems that if you want to buy an Air as a matter of urgency, then now would be a good time to pick one up - especially with the impending Black Friday sales that could see the MacBook Air reduced in price.

In our experience the best Black Friday deals are usually on discontinued machines, rather than the current models. So, if you don't mind purchasing an Intel powered MacBook Air, the Black Friday sales could see some great deals. We have a run through of the best MacBook Air deals, plus you can follow our best Black Friday Apple deals to see if you can snap up a bargain. 

If you are hoping to get a deal on a new M1 MacBook Air there are deals to be had, but we expect that the best deals won't arrive until 2022 - you can expect that the price on the current M1 MacBook Air will come down after the new MacBook Air is introduced. So, if you can wait until then, the best M1 MacBook Air deals will follow the introduction of the new model.

Answer: If you want a deal you can get them all year round. If you are happy to purchase an older MacBook Air, we expect to see discounts over Black Friday, if it's a big discount on the M1 MacBook Air you are after, wait for the new MacBook Air to launch.

These are the best deals on the M1 MacBook Air right now:

M1 MacBook Air, 8-core CPU/7-core GPU, £999/$999

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Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide

M1 MacBook Air, 8-core CPU/8-core GPU, £1,249/$1,249

Retailer Price Delivery  

Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide

Should I buy an M1 MacBook Air?

Apple shook up the tech world when it introduced the M1 chip in its MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini in November 2020 (and subsequently added it to the 24in iMac). The new silicon had been tailored to deliver the maximum speed and efficiency for the macOS devices, and benchmarks soon proved it to be a big step forward for the platform. You can see how they compare by reading MacBook Air (M1) vs MacBook Air (Intel).

Initially there were some obstacles to overcome, as software developers needed to update their apps to work with the new processors, but a year or so later it's safe to say that most programs now work seamlessly with the M1 Macs. 

Apple stated at the time that macOS had been redesigned from the ground up to take advantage of the M1 processors, so it seems only sensible to look at Macs with these chips rather than the now discontinued Intel variants you may still find on sale. The future is definitely M-powered. 

Answer: Yes, you should buy the M1 MacBook Air rather than an Intel MacBook Air. Unless you want to wait and see what the M2 will bring...

Should I wait for the M2 MacBook Air?

One consideration to keep in mind when deciding whether to purchase one of the current MacBook Air (M1) is when Apple will release the M2 chip that is expected to succeed it. You may also wonder if it's likely that Apple would bring the M1 Pro or M1 Max from the 14in MacBook Pro and 16in MacBook Pro to the Air. 

We think that it's unlikely that the M1 Pro and M1 Max will ever make their way into a MacBook Air. When Apple introduced the new M1 Pro and M1 Max with the new 14in and 16in MacBook Pro devices it was pretty clear that the company intended to have two tiers of chipset - Consumer and Pro - with the Air and similar products having standard M-series chips rather than the Pro/Max variant.

The Pro and Max chips have specific upgraded performance in areas more likely to be used by demanding graphical-orientated software rather than everyday use. The MacBook Air, with its current fan-less design, wouldn't be able to support the heat generating hardware required for this sort of software.

Should I buy a MacBook Air M1: 14in MacBook Pro

We've written a guide to the new M1 Pro and M1 Max processors so you can see how they compare to the normal M1, but as you probably guessed already, they're pretty special. The new silicon has much greater graphics capabilities as well as support for up to 64GB of RAM. 

With the M2 we'd expect Apple to concentrate on the areas more applicable to non-pro users, such as energy efficiency, which will improve battery life, all while keeping the devices in the more affordable price range. 

Current rumours, as you'll see below, suggest that the M2 has been delayed until 2022, maybe even until the second-half of the year. So, if you want the new M2 in your MacBook Air you will probably have to wait until the summer of 2022, maybe even longer.

Answer: The M1 is a great processor, we don't expect the M2 to make as big a difference as the move from Intel to M1 did, so if you need a MacBook Air now, you are safe to buy. Unless you want to wait and see whether the rumours of a redesign are true... 

Should I wait for the redesigned MacBook Air?

Legendary tipster Ming-Chi Quo has predicted the arrival of a new colourful MacBook Air, one which he states will be more affordable and could feature a mini-LED display, but it won't arrive until the second half of 2022.

Jon Prosser's sources have also indicated that the new MacBook Air will come in a variety of colours. He had the below renders created based on what his sources had told him.

Should I buy a MacBook Air M1: New Colourful MacBook Air  

You can read all of the current rumours and news surrounding the upcoming new device in our new MacBook Air 2022 release date, price & specs guide. 

Answer: The new design does sound very enticing, but the MacBook Air is already a lovely looking machine, so don't hold back on buying one unless you really want to wait for this brand new MacBook Air design. If you want the new MacBook Air you could be waiting until the summer of 2022, but the wait may be even longer.