With typical theatrical flair, Steve Jobs in January of 2008 introduced the world to the MacBook Air, an incredibly compact laptop that, at the time, was touted as the thinnest laptop on the market. Apple’s MacBook Air line has evolved considerably over the past few years, but we’re now hearing word that the Air’s place in Apple’s notebook lineup may soon be coming to an unceremonious end. As part of the engrossing Reddit AMA we highlighted yesterday, a purported Foxconn insider with detailed plans of upcoming Apple products relayed that Apple’s MacBook Air line is effectively dead.
When asked if Apple will introduce a new MacBook Air in 2017, the Foxconn insider responded flatly that the “line is discontinued.”
Notably, this isn’t the first inkling we’ve seen regarding the MacBook Air’s days being numbered. Not too long ago, Jack March speculated that the niche occupied by the Air had outgrown its usefulness.
I think its pretty obvious at this point that Apple will never release a new 1 product with the Air branding again.
For starters, the words ‘Light’ and ‘Professional’ are no longer a dichotomy, though they were when the original MacBook Air was launched in 2008. For Apple to achieve the title of World’s Thinnest Notebook they had to compromise on performance and expansion slots. It was a very niche and expensive product, only for people with the primary priority of portability. In 2016 where nearly all products from Apple and competitors are thin and light Apples distinction of Air is redundant.
This is an astute and insightful point. Thinness in a notebook design is not the commodity it once was simply because the clunky notebooks designs of years past are far less prevalent. Now Apple may keep the MacBook Air line around as a cheap entry-level device, but it doesn’t seem as if the Air will be graced with a refresh ever again. In fact, there hasn’t been a substantive MacBook Air upgrade in more than two years.
All that said, with WWDC kicking off tomorrow, we’ll have a better idea of Apple’s notebook aspirations soon enough.