The venerable MacBook Air might be getting the boot in favor of a 13-inch entry-level MacBook sometime in 2018, according to supply chain reports. Naturally, it’s important to take this all with some skepticism since it is a rumor, but it’s definitely within the realm of possibility. Looking at how Apple has neglected the MacBook Air the last couple times it’s been due for major updates, it would make sense to retire the once-popular netbook in favor of a return to form.
For years, the entry-level MacBook of choice was the plain-old 13.3-inch MacBook clad in simple white polycarbonate. It was supplanted by the MacBook Air in 2011, which has occupied its coveted $1,000 price point ever since. Citing the supply chain reports, Digitimes suggests that Apple could be planning the announcement and release of a new $1,000 MacBook to replace the aging MacBook Air sometime in the second half of 2018.
So does this actually mean a new MacBook is coming out later this year? Not exactly. This is just a rumor, but Digitimes has a pretty good track record when it comes to these reports. That, coupled with the fact that Apple has let the MacBook Air languish for years now, and it definitely makes sense that we might see a new entry-level product in Apple’s laptop stable. After all, the cheapest 12-inch MacBook is only slightly cheaper than the entry-level MacBook Pro, and both are a couple hundred dollars above the $1,000 mark.
The most recent hardware refresh Apple’s MacBook line saw came in late 2017 with the introduction of Intel’s seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors to its higher-end offerings. Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models received the new processors, and both the premium 12-inch MacBook and entry-level MacBook Air saw a small bump in processor speed.
The MacBook Air has not seen a significant hardware update since 2015, according to MacRumors, and it is the only MacBook offering that does not feature one of Apple’s signature Retina displays. That alone could be the big change that comes to the MacBook lineup later this year — an entry-level $1,000 MacBook with a Retina display.