Some rumors said not too long ago that the MacBook Air’s demise is almost certain, even though the Air is one of Apple’s most iconic designs and an inspiration for so many products from the competition. The new 12-inch Retina MacBook was seen as the Air’s replacement, and Apple did kill the 11-inch model.
But a recent batch of rumors indicated that Apple is looking to introduce an even cheaper MacBook Air this year. Currently, the $999 MacBook Air is the cheapest Mac you can buy from Apple. News from Asia, however, says that Apple might not reduce the price of the laptop. Instead, MacBook Pro feature Air owners wanted for years is finally making its way to the notebook.
Sources familiar with Apple’s supply chain told Digitimes that the new entry-level MacBook will be launched at the end of the second quarter, priced “bout the same level as that of the existing MacBook Air or slightly higher.”
This entry-level MacBook can only be an Air model because the same report says the device is getting a 13.3-inch a-Si panel made by LG Display. The screen will have the same 2560 x 1600 resolution as the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Current MacBook Air models sport 13.3-inch screens with 1440 x 900 resolution. The MacBook, meanwhile, has a 12-inch display with 2304 x 1440 resolution.
The report notes that LG Display will begin supplying the panel in April, with the new MacBook Air expected to enter mass production in May or early June. Quanta Computer won 70% of the orders, and Foxconn the rest. The report doesn’t mention an actual launch date for the new laptop, but a WWDC 2018 launch certainly makes sense.
Apple wants to manufacture six million units this year, although analysts expect volume to reach only four million.
Finally, the same Digitimes says that Apple is also going to release a new “inexpensive” 9.7-inch iPad, which will be a refreshed version of the current model. The tablet will go on sale in the second quarter of 2018, while new iPad Pro models are due in the second half of the year.