The latest DigiTimes report (via MacRumors) says Apple is preparing a low-cost MacBook to compete with Chromebook models in the education sector. This new Mac could arrive as early as the second half of 2024, and it would be much more affordable than the company’s Air and Pro lineups.
The report shows an increase in the Chromebook market, from 13.9 million models shipped in 2019 to 33.5 million in 2021. With Mac sales declining, a new low-cost model could be exactly what the company needs to take a more significant stake in the education market, especially to give users an alternative to the entry-level iPad models.
Interestingly, in June 2022, Bloomberg said Apple planned to release a 12-inch MacBook at the end of 2023 or early 2024. A week later, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo noted otherwise, as this product was “definitely not in the works.”
Then, at the beginning of 2023, a sketchy rumor posted to the Korean social network Naver by the user “yeux1122,” which has a mixed track of Apple leaks, suggests that Apple hasn’t decided if it will release or not this product.
Apple is said to be preparing to refresh the recent MacBook 12-inch model. It hasn’t been confirmed until the product launch yet, but the parts and major activities previously seem to be preparing a new product.
As early as the second half of this year, it will be confirmed whether the actual mass production will be carried out instead of the actual preparation level.
Now, with DigiTimes reporting a low-cost MacBook could launch in late 2024, I think it would make sense if the company brought back the “MacBook” lineup with a 12-inch model.
Why a 12-inch MacBook would make a lot of sense in 2024?
Chromebooks aren’t powerful notebooks. They run everything online, don’t have a lot of RAM or storage, and mostly don’t even have a good finish. If Apple plans to release a low-cost MacBook, the 12-inch model would be the perfect option.
By the end of 2024, Apple will likely be starting to release its first batch of M4 Macs. With a four-year gap, the company could add an M1 chip to this MacBook, which would still be faster than any new Chromebook.
In addition, Apple could add only a USB-C or USB-C and MagSafe ports, 128GB or 256GB of entry storage, and 6 to 8GB of RAM. Apple would likely compromise the webcam with a 720p resolution again. All these changes could make this MacBook pretty cheap for Apple to manufacture and still offer more benefits for education purposes than a Chromebook.
Thanks to the impressive power management of the M1 chip, this low-cost MacBook would have a killer battery and a great processor and still feature a premium aluminum body.
BGR will keep reporting on Apple’s plans for new products and will let you know if we hear more from a future low-cost MacBook.