Next For Apple: A New MacBook
A fresh new MacBook design is due soon.
Apple hasn’t done a significant MB redesign since the 2-pound 12-inch MacBook was released in April 2015.
(This updates a post from last month.)
The 12-inch MacBook’s popularity has been limited, however, due to a high starting price* of $1,300 and tepid performance. So, to continue to fill the need for a low-cost MacBook, Apple has kept alive (on life support) the embarrassingly lagging-edge $999 13-inch MacBook Air — pretty much physically unchanged since Steve Jobs announced it eons ago in 2008.
Low-cost 2018 MacBook
If Apple rectifies this with a redesigned “low-cost” MacBook Air (or whatever branding Apple ends up using), it could be the hottest MacBook in a long time.
The combination of a low price with a Retina display (a first for a low-cost MacBook), new Intel processors, and a more elegant, contemporary design (e.g., thinner display bezels) would likely be irresistible to consumers.
- Retina display
- Up-to-date processors**
- Up-to-date speakers
- Contemporary design
- Price within reach of average buyer
Surprisingly, there isn’t a ton of competition at $999 (and slightly lower) for a quality laptop — with the operative word being “quality.”
–Dell offers the XPS 13 for $999 (this weekend discounted to $909) which gets you a great design and good build quality but you don’t get a Retina-class display (Dell offers FHD 1,920-by-1,080) and the speakers aren’t that impressive.
–HP has the 13-inch Spectre x360, currently (as of 10/14) on sale for $949.99, down from the regular price of $1,149.99. This is also a quality laptop with an FHD display (and good speakers, btw).
–Google’s Pixelbook is a stellar laptop for $999. It is Apple-esque with a very-high-quality aluminum build and a gorgeous high-resolution display. And it is being offered for about $200 off the list price on Amazon. (And note that the Pixelbook runs Microsoft Office now.)
–Microsoft’s Surface Pro (5th gen) is being offered at discounts but the keyboard is sold separately. And there’s the $999 Surface Laptop 2.
Just an updated MacBook Air?
As mentioned above, it’s also possible that Apple simply tweaks the current MacBook Air and keeps the “Air” branding. But that would still be huge if Apple trims the bezels, adds a Retina display, and updates the processors. And, of course, keeps the price low enough to be accessible to a wider audience.
*The 12-inch MacBook has seen some fire sales recently. On Friday, Wootwas selling new 12-inch MacBooks for $899, a whopping $400 off the list price.
**Processor: your guess is as good as mine: there’s the 8th Generation Intel Kaby Lake now used in the Touch Bar 2018 MacBook Pros. Then there’s the older 7th Generation used in the non-Touch-Bar MBPs. There’s also a brand new 2018 Whiskey Lake chip.