New MacBook Air specs, news and rumours: Will we get new Macs next week? | Apps
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We’ve thought for some time that Apple will refresh the MacBook and the MacBook Air, possibly completely reforming the bottom rungs of its notebook range underneath the awesome MacBook Pro.
Remarkably, it’s a decade since Steve Jobs pulled the original MacBook Air from a mailing envelope to introduce it. And the MacBook Air remains a strong seller for Apple, which is why a direct replacement is likely in the face of ever-increasing PC competition.
There will be a brand new iPad Pro next week at a 30 October launch event, but could there possibly be a new MacBook Air on the cards?
After all, we’ve been thinking it will be refreshed for a while. Apple’s education-orientated Field Trip event in Chicago at the end of March ended up focussing on a new iPad. Since then, we’ve had the new MacBook Pro models hit the streets, with refreshed 13 and 15-inch TouchBar models slotting in alongside the unchanged 13-inch non-TouchBar version.
We also didn’t get a new MacBook Air or Mac mini at Apple’s 12 September iPhone event but these models have to be updated sometime soon.
So what are we expecting? Read on for the full lowdown!
Why would there be a new MacBook Air?
- Still a good seller but the current design is ageing
- Still room for a 13-inch ultraportable
There may a cheaper version of the MacBook Air which may or may not have a new name. It could just be a 13-inch version of the existing MacBook, with the “Air” moniker shown the door. That’s the conclusion of usually-reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
The MacBook Air did get a few minor upgrades in 2017, but it’s the only notebook in Apple’s lineup that doesn’t have a Retina display. And it hasn’t had a major redesign for some time and is now getting a bit tired.
It’s not the case design itself, but it doesn’t have USB-C, for one thing. And it still uses MagSafe 2 for charging, unlike the MacBook and MacBook Pro.
When the 12-inch MacBook launched it was seen by many as the long term replacement the MacBook Air. However, due to the Air’s affordability, sales have remained strong. And remember that not everybody wants such as small screen size.
Let’s not forget that the 11-inch MacBook Air was discontinued entirely. And consider that the 13-inch MacBook Pro with no Touch Bar starts at £1,249 – £300 more than the entry-level Air model. For many people, the power advantage of the Pro just isn’t necessary.
According to a report by DigiTimes in August, Apple plans to launch a new “entry-level” MacBook. The story reckons the 13-inch MacBook will start at $1,200 and will be powered by 14-nanometer Kaby Lake Intel Core processors (not a massive leap there, granted). As we said, it may well be a new MacBook Air instead. Another analyst at TrendForce believes Apple will release a new MacBook Air this autumn, too.
According to an EEC leak, there may be up to five new MacBook laptops and five new iPads in the coming months. The EEC approves tech products for sale in Russia, Armenia and other Eurasian countries, so the list is almost a guarantee that certain products exist.
The five tablets – model numbers A1876, A1934, A1979, A2013 and A2014 – are said to have been running iOS 11 when tested.
The MacBooks – models A1931, A1932, A1988, A1989 and A1990 – were running macOS 10.13 High Sierra.
What specs would a new MacBook have?
- Still Intel-based, but could this change in the future?
- Could have a co-processor
- Will have a retina LCD display
Expect the MacBook Air replacement to retain Intel Core i5 processors with an option for Core i7. Intel announced new low power versions of these CPUs in late August marketed as 8th generation Intel Core processors.
Because of what Apple has done elsewhere, it’s been long reported that Apple will develop its own ARM-based processors to run future MacBooks. While we believe it’s perfectly possibly thatan Apple-designed CPU may come to a future MacBook, we still think it’s too early. Moving Macs to custom processors would require a lot of work on the software side.
Mind you, we’ve seen ARM-based processors properly move into PCs this year in the form of Windows running on top of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon.
And it’s even more unlikely that Apple would move to ARM at the high end where the MacBook Pro offers users the kind of horsepower that can currently (note, ‘currently’ not ‘never’) only come from an Intel Core i5, i7 or i9 processor.
Apple has apparently experimented with unifying macOS and iOS apps though and such a unified app model would surely be a forerunner to any move to ARM-based chips for macOS.
The new 13-inch MacBook will probably have an LCD display, whereas Apple may upgrade its Pro line with OLED displays in 2019. DigiTimes researcher Jim Hsiao says that Apple has turned to LG Display to produce the 2,560 x 1,600 panels.
The current MacBook has the same resolution and if it transpires that this new laptop takes the Air moniker, it will be the first MacBook Air with a Retina display.
Why not also read: Apple’s forgotten tech: The Apple gear you won’t remember