Apple’s MacBook range is a little confusing at the moment. The 12in MacBook is the smallest on offer, but the 13in MacBook Air is cheaper and hasn’t been updated significantly since 2015. Even the latest models use relatively old Intel processors.
Does Apple need to continue with both models? Will it ditch the Air and just stick to the simply named MacBook? When will it launch the next MacBook?
Some of these questions will be answered sooner or later, but for now you’ll have to make do with the rumours making the rounds.
According to a couple of sources, Apple is developing a new 13in model but it’s unclear whether it’s a new MacBook Air or if it will be a 13in version of the MacBook.
When is the MacBook 2018 release date?
Last year, the MacBook was announced in June at WWDC so plenty of people are predicting that the new laptop will be unveiled at this year’s conference. It was not, of course, which suggests we'll be waiting until September.
One site, DigiTimes, reckons the announcement will be in the second half of the year.
How much will it 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/US$1299. Adding a 13in model makes sense, but it would need to be differentiated from the 13in MacBook Pro which also starts at £1249/US$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.
Bottom line: there’s simply not enough information available at the moment to speculate on the price of the new model. Until more details leak, it’s a case of sitting tight and waiting.
What specs will the 2018 MacBook have?
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. However, he also reckons Apple will launch a more affordable MacBook Air in the second quarter of the year.
If he’s right, it could mean that there isn’t going to be a 13in MacBook at all and what everyone should expect from the mystery new 13in laptop is actually a new entry-level MacBook Air with updated internals.
As ever, when new rumours emerge or information leaks, we’ll be sure to update this article.