In what world does a 13in MacBook Air costing less than a 12in MacBook make sense? Our guess is a world in which at least one of those laptops is about to get an update.
There is certainly plenty of talk of a new 13in Apple laptop, probably with a Retina Display, launching in Q3 2018, and the fact the Air is also tipped to continue life as Apple's affordable entry laptop suggests we could be about to see a new 13in-screen MacBook.
When is the MacBook 2018 release date?
In 2017 we saw a MacBook refresh at June's WWDC conference, but there was no new hardware at the 2018 event. Whether we are waiting until the annual September launch event or Apple decides to announce a new model via press release in the meantime really depends on what is has in store.
How much will the new MacBook cost?
Sales of the MacBook Air have been strong enough for Apple to keep it in the range. And it’s no wonder: it’s the cheapest model available starting at £949/US$999.
The MacBook, currently only sold with a 12in screen, starts at £1249/$1299. Adding a 13in model makes sense, but it would need to be differentiated from the 13in MacBook Pro which also starts at £1249/$1299.
It would be strange for a model that wasn’t a ‘Pro’ to cost more than the Pro, but equally it would be confusing for it to be cheaper than (or the same price as) the 12in MacBook.
Some say that there’s a chance that MacBook Pro models will begin using OLED screens and leave the traditional (and cheaper) LCD screens for the MacBook. This approach would also push up the price of a MacBook Pro and put more distance between them and the non-Pro MacBooks.
What are the rumoured specs for the 2018 MacBook?
A Bloomberg report details Apple’s effort to develop its own chips and the possibility that it will – eventually – produce the main CPU inside its desktop computers.
This makes a lot of sense. But until then, MacBooks will use Apple’s chips for secondary or additional responsibilities such as security, signal processing and managing the TouchBar.
The report claims Apple is working on new chips, but is unspecific about which MacBook they would be used in.
There’s a possibility that the Touch Bar – the touch-sensitive screen which runs across the top of the keyboard (above) – could be introduced on the MacBook range and, as with the Pro range, only on the top-spec models. That means Apple could position the putative 13in MacBook with Touch Bar as a premium option.
Well-respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts the 2018 MacBook will ship with 16GB of RAM.