With news that Apple’s presumptively-named M2 chipset may not be as powerful as once thought, have circumstances offered Tim Cook and his team a winning hand when marketing the upcoming MacBook Air?

Details on the new M2 chipset come in the latest analysis from Ming-Chi Kuo, reported by MacRumors’ Hartley Charlton:

“Kuo added that the redesigned MacBook Air, another device expected to launch this year, faces “the same technical limitations as A16” with N5P. He suggested that the 2022 MacBook Air’s complete redesign is “already a big selling point,” which may mean that boasting a major chip improvement could be less important for this device.”

Apple’s upcoming update to its silicon lineup – namely the A16 for the new iPhone range and the presumptively-named M2 chipset which many expect to debut in the next MacBook Air – may not meet the high expectations many have set. Chip supplier TSMC has new production facilities coming online that offer its N3 N4P fabrication process and will not be ready for mass production until 2023.

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That leaves the N4 and N5P processes; which are not to be sneezed at, but are not going to deliver the same massive step up that the introduction of the M1 chips to the Mac laptops achieved at the end of 2020.

Given the jump made by the Macs in the move to Apple Silicon, there’s an argument that you don’t need to find another step up, just idling the digital motor to maintain the advantage over the competition is enough. Why rely on the specs of the consumer-focused MacBook Air (and the curiosity that is the entry-level MacBook Pro) when it will be far easier to market these laptops through the new design, multiple fashionable colours, and a genuinely new look… all of which are expected to appear in the upcoming model?

No doubt Apple will want to maintain the impression of powerful performance, but with the far more expensive 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro leaning into the laptops with grunt, the serendipity of diminishing the importance of raw specifications in place of the hipster aesthetic is definitely on message.

It’s very much “playing the room as it’s dealt.” And Apple is very good at playing the marketing card.

Now read about the delay that is impacting the current MacBook range…

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