Apple MacBook Air Leads Quanta's Notebook Shipment Ramp

MacBook Air
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Apple announced a new generation of MacBook Pro laptops earlier this week, and they'll begin shipping to customers on January 24th. New reporting from DigiTimes suggests that Quanta Computer started cranking out the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros in December 2022 in preparation for Apple's official launch, and that MacBook Airs are next on the docket.

According to DigiTimes, Apple's manufacturing partners and supply chain are gearing up for a MacBook Air refresh during the second half of 2023. These laptops will likely feature a new M3 SoC based on TSMC's next-generation 3nm node. However, given that Apple's MacBook Pros just received a 5nm M2 Pro/M2 Max upgrade, it's possible that Apple won't shift to the expected 3nm M3 Pro/M3 Max SoCs until 2024.

While the new MacBook Pros look the same on the outside (the design is still relatively fresh, as they launched in late 2021), there are quite a few internal changes. For starters, they ditch the M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs in favor of faster M2 Pro and M2 Max silicon. In addition, while the chips still use a 5nm node, Apple boosted CPU performance by up to 20 percent, while GPU performance saw a maximum 30 percent uplift. The new MacBook Pros also feature Wi-Fi 6E support (up from Wi-Fi 6) and ditch the HDMI 2.0 port in favor of HDMI 2.1. 

The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999, while the 16-inch variant opens bidding at $2,499. However, if you want a 16-inch MacBook Pro with all the trimmings (M2 Max with 38 GPU cores, 96GB LPDDR5, 8TB storage), it will cost you $6,299 (opens in new tab).

While MacBook Pro shipments are important for Apple, the MacBook Air is the key sales driver for the company. Even though overall PC shipments were down for 2022, Quanta's 3 percent decline to 28.4 million units during the second half was less than its competitors. Strong demand for the refreshed MacBook Air (M2) prevented Quanta's shipments from sinking further.

Apple saw its overall notebook shipments decline by 15.3 percent during Q4 2022. However, its chief competitors were down 30 to 40 percent during the same period. Given the economic downturn and consumers being more cautious about high-dollar purchases, Apple will reportedly adjust its shipments to favor more affordably-priced M1-based MacBooks and MacBook Pros. 

Apple's MacBook Air (M1) starts at $999, while the MacBook Air (M2) rings in at $1,199. The MacBook Air (M2) features an all-new chassis design with a larger display, more maximum memory (24GB versus 16GB) and a slightly lower weight (2.7 pounds versus 2.8 pounds).

Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.