The rumored MacBook Air revamp could be postponed (perhaps until 2023?).
The current Covid-related lockdowns in China may have an impact on MacBook production, which could cause Apple’s laptops to be delayed later this year.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a trusted Apple source, rushed to Twitter to highlight a piece from Nikkei Asia, speculating that all of this could indicate significant difficulties for the MacBooks arriving later in 2022.
The problem, as Kuo points out, is that Quanta is the MacBook’s “sole EMS supplier,” an acronym for Electronics Manufacturing Services, which means involvement in design (and more) as well as manufacturing, and that Quanta’s production disruptions mean the MacBook is the most impacted hardware when it comes to the Chinese lockdowns (in Shanghai and elsewhere).
As you might expect, Apple’s iPhone and iPad will be affected, with production at Pegatron and Compal suspended, but as Kuo points out, this won’t be as bad because Foxconn can “partially sustain” the supply of iOS devices, which will at least partially reduce the shortage. (If you’re interested, we went over the impact on Apple’s iOS hardware in more detail here earlier this week.)
Analysis: Is a MacBook Air delay in the works?
This is obviously not the news that anyone looking forward to seeing new MacBooks wants to hear, as these laptops appear to be the ones to suffer the most from Apple’s lockdown-related disruption – at least according to these sources (pinches of condiments to hand, as ever).
So, which MacBooks are we discussing? Apple is expected to release a new MacBook Air (2022) this year, as well as a revised entry-level MacBook Pro 13-inch, according to rumors.
The next MacBook Air is certainly much anticipated, with rumors circulating that it will be released in 2022 — most likely in the second half of the year, with production beginning in Q3. (The most current rumor is that Apple will unveil the new Air during WWDC in June, but we’re not convinced that this is true.)
If we’re looking at a September on-shelf release date for the MacBook Air, or possibly October, it’s easy to see how any further big slippage in the supply chain and production schedules might push the new notebook all the way to the end of the year, or even 2023?
If what we’ve heard from the rumor mill is right, Apple would likely want to avoid the latter worst-case scenario — especially, that the updated MacBook Air was originally planned to ship late in 2021, thus the gadget has already hypothetically slid a long way in terms of launch timeframe. But, if the story plays out as these sources imply, there’s not much that can be done — the MacBook Air will be ready when it’s ready, and not earlier.
Naturally, these restrictions will not only affect Apple, but also other major notebook manufacturers such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo, which will undoubtedly face similar strains on their manufacturing schedules.