Archive of MacBook Air Rumors

Pegatron has been tipped to land orders from Apple to produce an ARM-based MacBook, according to a brief DigiTimes report out on Tuesday. Citing industry sources, the Taiwan-based website claims the new MacBook model is internally codenamed "Star" and carries the series number N84, but the report mentions no specific production timeline.

Pegatron is likely to land orders from Apple to produce an ARM-based MacBook model, codenamed Star with a series number N84, according to industry sources.

Pegatron declined to comment on what it called market speculations.


The rumor accompanies news of declining net profits of nearly 50 percent in the first quarter of 2018 for Taiwan-based Pegatron, which expects to get growth back on track in the third quarter, "in line with the peak season", implying that the new MacBook model could factor into these predictions. DigiTimes' sources often provide reliable information, but the site has a mixed track record when it comes to interpreting that information and accurately deciphering Apple's plans, although 9to5Mac has also reported that Apple’s so-called "Star" project could be an ARM-based MacBook.

DigiTimes first claimed in January that Apple would release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook this year, due in the second half of 2018, which would serve as a replacement for the MacBook Air. Two months later, then-KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a research note claiming Apple has a "more affordable MacBook Air" set to be released at some point in 2018.

Kuo didn't offer any details on what to expect in an updated MacBook Air beyond a lower price tag, but DigiTimes believes Apple could upgrade the MacBook Air with a Retina display, which led to questions over whether the machine will be an updated MacBook Air or a lower-cost MacBook. However, today's report is the first time ARM-based architecture has been suggest for the upcoming model.

Speculation that Apple eventually plans to design Macs powered by ARM-based processors has been rumored for some time. A report in September claimed that Apple would build its notebook chips using ARM Holding's technology, a British company that designs ARM architecture and licenses it out to other companies.

The rationale behind the idea is that developing in-house ARM notebook chips would allow Apple to reduce its dependence on Intel. ARM processors also require less power and fewer transistors, enabling a smaller die size for the integrated circuitry – two reasons why they can be found in iPhones and iPads.

However, it's possible the rumor about ARM chips in Macs has been spun out of context: the Touch Bar on Apple's latest MacBook Pro is already powered by an ARM-based T1 chip as a companion processor, suggesting this could be the actual origin of ARM-based rumors. Indeed, Apple said last year that it had no plans for Macs powered solely by ARM chips, rather than Intel processors.

Where that leaves the latest rumor regarding a new MacBook model remains unclear. The introduction of the Touch Bar has received a lukewarm reception among users and is only available as a premium feature on high-tier MacBook Pro models. Confounding matters further, well-connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman has suggested the "N84" series number actually identifies Apple's upcoming low-cost LCD iPhone.

Taiwanese site Economic Daily News recently claimed Apple is working on a more affordable version of the MacBook Air with a price point of $799 to $899, while Bloomberg claims Apple is working on a new MacBook that costs under $1,000, but it still isn't clear whether it's in the MacBook Air family or a new sub-$1,000 machine in the MacBook line.

The current MacBook Air models haven't seen any substantial updates in three years. Since that time, Apple has discontinued the 11-inch model, while the only recent upgrade to the 13-inch model has been a bump to the base processor option last June, but it's still a Broadwell chip from the 2014–15 timeframe.
Apple has postponed production of its rumored 2018 MacBook Air model to the second half of the year, according to supply chain sources (via DigiTimes).

A new version of Apple's most affordable MacBook was expected to go into mass production in the second quarter, but the company has reportedly already informed supply chain partners of the deferment, without revealing its reasoning behind the decision.

The sources said that Apple has informed supply chain partners that mass production of its new notebook model for 2018 will not kick off until the second half of the year, yet without explaining the rescheduling move. Some partners speculated that the postponement might be caused by problems with some key components such as processors.
DigiTimes was first to report on Apple's intention to release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook, due in the second half of 2018, which would serve as a replacement for the MacBook Air. Two months later, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a research note claiming Apple has a "more affordable MacBook Air" set to be released at some point in 2018.

Kuo didn't offer any details on what to expect in an updated MacBook Air beyond a lower price tag, but DigiTimes believes Apple could upgrade the MacBook Air with a Retina display, which has led to speculation about whether the machine will be an updated MacBook Air or a lower-cost MacBook.

Bolstering these claims, Taiwanese site Economic Daily News believes Apple is working on a more affordable version of the MacBook Air with a price point of $799 to $899, while Bloomberg claims Apple is working on a new MacBook that costs under $1,000, but it isn't clear whether it's in the MacBook Air family or a new sub-$1,000 machine in the MacBook line.

The original plan for a second-quarter introduction pointed to an April–June timeframe, which indicated the new model could be announced at WWDC in June, but news of the deferred production makes that suggestion seem less likely, with an October release looking more probable.

As a result, some MacBook Air supply chain partners who have readied their material inventories to support second-quarter production now reportedly face low capacity utilization before starting to deliver shipments in the third quarter, according to DigiTimes' sources.

The current MacBook Air models haven't seen any substantial updates in three years. Since that time, Apple has discontinued the 11-inch model, while the only recent upgrade to the 13-inch model has been a bump to the base processor option last June, but it's still a Broadwell chip from the 2014–15 timeframe.
Apple is holding its first event of 2018 on Tuesday, March 27 at the Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. According to invites sent out to members of the media last week, the event will focus on "creative new ideas for teachers and students."

This is Apple's first education-centric event since 2012, hence the unusual location. With most events, we tend to have concrete rumors on what to expect, but things are a little more up in the air with the educational event.

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Still, rumors have hinted at several products that could see a refresh at the event, and while some of them may primarily be of interest to schools and educators, there are some products on the horizon all of us have been eagerly anticipating. Announcement possibilities are listed below:

New Lower-Cost iPad


In 2017, Apple released a fifth-generation 9.7-inch iPad that was designed to be a low-cost but powerful alternative to the iPad Pro. The tablet is priced at $329, and in 2018, rumors have suggested Apple could release an iPad with an even lower price point, which would be enticing to schools.

The iPad could be priced as low as $259, $70 less than the starting price of the current 9.7-inch iPad.



Whether this iPad is an entirely new device or just a lower price for the existing 9.7-inch iPad remains to be seen.

Read more about the low-cost iPad in our iPad roundup.

New Low-Cost MacBook or MacBook Air


Along with a lower-cost iPad, Apple may perhaps be planning to introduce some kind of notebook that has a lower price tag, but again, the exact form that this will take is unclear.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often has insight into Apple's plans, believes Apple is working on a "more affordable MacBook Air," which would perhaps be ideal for an educational market to compete with Google Chromebooks.


Kuo didn't mention whether or not this cheaper MacBook Air would be a price drop on the current MacBook Air or a new machine, nor did he mention potential specs. The MacBook Air is highly outdated, so if changes are indeed planned, updated processors and other internals could be on the horizon.

Other rumors suggest the lower-cost MacBook Air could be priced at $799 to $899, and that price tag would likely be even lower for schools able to make bulk purchases.

The rumors have been confused by a report from DigiTimes suggesting Apple is working on an "entry-level 13.3-inch MacBook." DigiTimes calls the notebook a MacBook, but lists the size of the MacBook Air, and goes on to say that it will feature a Retina display.

Updating the MacBook Air with a Retina display would make it difficult to keep costs low, and it would be a curious choice given the existence of the slimmer 12-inch MacBook line, which does come equipped with Retina displays. For that reason, it's not entirely clear if DigiTimes is talking about an update to the MacBook Air line or the MacBook line. DigiTimes' report says the new notebook would be priced at around $999, which is more expensive than other low-cost MacBook Air rumors.

Just this morning, Bloomberg also said Apple is working on a new MacBook that would cost under $1,000 and would replace the existing MacBook Air, but even that report didn't specify whether this machine would be in the current MacBook Air family or part of the 12-inch MacBook line. What Bloomberg did say, though, is that this machine is not ready, and therefore we may or may not hear about it at the event. It's possible Apple will make an announcement with a launch date to follow, but we also might not see any Mac-related news until WWDC in June.

Read more about the MacBook Air in our MacBook Air roundup.

AirPower and AirPods Wireless Charging Case


The AirPower isn't an accessory that's likely to be marketed to educational institutions, but rumors have been suggesting a March launch for the device, so it's possible Apple will also use its March event to debut some products of interest to the general public.


First announced in September alongside the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus, the AirPower is an inductive charging mat that's designed to charge Qi-based iPhones, the Apple Watch Series 3, and the AirPods all at the same time using one accessory.

Alongside the AirPower, Apple will also introduce a new AirPods Charging Case that includes new wireless charging capabilities. This revamped charging case will be necessary for AirPods to charge through the AirPower mat.

Existing AirPods owners will be able to purchase the new Charging Case as a standalone accessory, while new AirPods purchases will likely include it.

We don't know what the AirPower will be priced at, but rumors have suggested it could cost somewhere around $199.

See all of our AirPower coverage here.

Revamped Apple Pencil?


There's no real indication that Apple is working on a new Apple Pencil to debut at its education-focused event, but the design of the event invitation sent out to members of the media does appear to have been drawn with an Apple Pencil, and it could be a hint.

It's possible Apple is planning to introduce a lower-cost Apple Pencil that could be used in tandem with the new low-cost iPad, which would indeed be appealing to schools.


Just this morning, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple Pencil support is likely for the new low-cost iPad, but it's not yet clear if that means Apple plans to add support for the existing Apple Pencil or introduce a new, more affordable model.

If some kind of Apple Pencil announcement doesn't happen at this event, we can perhaps expect to see a new model when Apple debuts new iPad Pros, something we believe will happen either in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference or September alongside new iPhones.

On the chance that Apple is working on an Apple Pencil for its low-cost tablet, it's possible a lower-cost Smart Keyboard could also be included. Adding a keyboard and an input device like the Apple Pencil to the low-cost iPad would add a lot of utility for students.

Read more about the Apple Pencil in our iPad Pro roundup.

iPhone X in New Colors?


If Apple is indeed going to use its March event to focus on products unrelated to education, we could see the iPhone X and perhaps the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in new colors.

There have been rumors of a "Blush Gold" iPhone X floating around, and just this week, new images of the rumored device surfaced. Apple offered the iPhone X only in Silver and Space Gray at launch, and a new color could perhaps lure new upgraders mid-season.

An alleged "Blush Gold" iPhone X via Benjamin Geskin

In March of last year, Apple introduced a (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and it's possible the company could be planning to do the same thing this year, with a (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and perhaps X.

Read more about the iPhone X in our iPhone X roundup.

iPhone SE 2?


We've been hearing rumors of a new "iPhone SE 2" for some time now, and while it's possible we could see a new iPhone SE at the March event, we don't think it's likely.

While some supply chain sources and sketchier rumor sources have suggested a new iPhone SE 2 is in the works with upgraded internals and other specs, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo does not believe Apple has enough spare development resources to dedicate to an iPhone SE in 2018 given the company's work on the three iPhones planned for September.


A recent rumor from Taiwan's Economic Daily News has also suggested Apple does not have new iPhones planned for the first half of 2018, which would mean no March iPhone SE 2.

If there is a new iPhone SE 2 on the horizon, major design changes and the adoption of features from flagship phones are unlikely given the iPhone SE's position as a low-cost device.

For more information on a potential iPhone SE 2, check out our iPhone SE roundup.

New iPhone Cases and Apple Watch Bands


Apple already announced a new collection of spring Apple Watch bands in new colors, which could go on sale following the educational event. When announced on March 21, Apple said they would be coming later in the month.


Though not announced at the same time, Apple could also launch new iPhone and iPad cases in refreshed colors at the same time.

For more detail on the Apple Watch and Apple Watch bands, check out our Apple Watch roundup.

iOS 11.3 Release With ClassKit Framework


Apple promised to release iOS 11.3 in the spring, and well, it's spring. iOS 11.3 is also near the end of its beta testing period, and thus far we've seen six betas. We haven't had the GM version of iOS 11.3 yet, so it's possible we'll get that instead of an official release on Tuesday. A launch will come shortly after, though.

Though it's received little coverage, iOS 11.3 includes a new Classroom 2.2 app, which is designed to turn the iPad into a powerful teaching assistant to help teachers guide students through lessons.

It also includes a ClassKit framework aimed at helping developers create educational apps that teachers can use with the Classroom app to deliver assignments to students and track their progress.

Classroom 2.2 and ClassKit haven't been announced or covered heavily by Apple, so expect this to be a focal point of the event.

iOS 11.3, of course, brings a whole slew of other updates and features, like iCloud Messages, ARKit 1.5, new Animoji, and a Battery Health feature that will allow customers to better monitor their batteries and battery health as it relates to device performance.

For full details on iOS 11.3, make sure to check out our iOS 11 roundup.

Other Educational Announcements


As this is an educational event, expect other educational announcements. Apple is likely to give us an update on its Everyone Can Code curriculum for students. Apple has coding lessons for high schools and elementary schools, along with a dedicated App Development With Swift curriculum for community colleges, which is a full-year coding course.


The high school where Apple plans to hold its event, Lane Tech College Prep, was featured in a December announcement of the expansion of the Everyone Can Code program to 500,000 students in Chicago. Students at Lane Tech have been learning to build apps with Apple's Swift programming language.

Other Details


There's no guarantee that all of these products will be introduced at Apple's educational event, but it's likely we'll see at least some of them.

Apple does not plan to live stream its educational event, but after it takes place, a video will be uploaded to Apple's event site and event app on the Apple TV. MacRumors will have full coverage of the event, however, along with detailed information on each announcement. Make sure to stay tuned to the website for coverage and follow our Twitter account, MacRumorsLive.
Apple plans to introduce a cheaper iPad next week that should appeal to the education market, and new software for the classroom, according to Bloomberg News' Mark Gurman. The new products should be announced at Apple's education-themed event on Tuesday at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago.


Apple is also said to be working on a new, lower-priced notebook, likely to replace the MacBook Air with a sub-$1,000 price in the United States:
A new, cheaper MacBook laptop is in the works and likely destined to replace the MacBook Air at a price less than $1,000, but it probably won't be ready in time for next week, the people said. The MacBook Air, introduced about a decade ago, hasn't seen a major change since 2010, the same year the iPad came out. Although the laptop is popular with college students, it has languished as Apple focuses on more expensive Macs.
At first glance, it would appear that Gurman is referring to a lower-priced 12-inch MacBook, as many people believe that Apple will eventually phase out the MacBook Air. However, the "MacBook laptop" wording is perhaps intentionally vague, in case it does end up being a cheaper MacBook Air.

12-inch MacBook models currently start at $1,299, and were last updated with Kaby Lake processors and faster graphics in June 2017. MacBook Air starts at $999 and hasn't received a meaningful update since March 2015.


Earlier this month, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple plans to launch a more affordable MacBook Air in the second quarter of 2018, which essentially runs between next week and the end of June. WitsView researcher Yubin Qiu estimated the notebook could start at $799 to $899 in the United States.

Gurman said the new MacBook "probably won't be ready in time for next week," suggesting it won't be unveiled at the Chicago event. Of course, Apple could still mention the notebook at the event, even if orders begin later.

Gurman nor Kuo have elaborated on what we can expect from the new MacBook or MacBook Air, whichever it ends up being, but it's reasonable to assume that we'll see a bump to the processors and graphics. If it's a new MacBook Air, a Retina display is also a possibility, but that may go against the sub-$1,000 price.

Apple hasn't specified if the Chicago event will be live streamed. MacRumors will provide coverage on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Central Time.
Earlier this month, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that Apple is expected to introduce a cheaper MacBook Air sometime during the second quarter of the year, and a few days later a second report backed up Kuo's claims with a claim of a price point starting at $799 or $899.


DigiTimes is now reporting that Apple is planning to launch a new 13.3-inch "entry-level MacBook" late in the second quarter of the year, which suggests an introduction at WWDC in June. While DigiTimes calls the notebook a "MacBook," it is unclear whether it would be part of the MacBook or MacBook Air line, but the entry-level nature of the machine and the MacBook's positioning at a similar 12-inch size suggests this new machine might be part of a refreshed MacBook Air family.

However the new entry-level machine is marketed, DigiTimes says the pricing will be the same as or slightly higher than the current MacBook Air, which starts at $999, and the machine will include a Retina display.
The 13.3-inch a-Si panels for the new notebook feature the same resolution as Apple's 13.3-inch MacBook Pro at 2,560 by 1,600.

LG Display will begin supplying the panel in April with the new MacBook scheduled to enter mass production at the end of May or the beginning of June.
The report claims that Apple is targeting shipments of six million units of the new notebook through the end of the year, although DigiTimes analysts believe four million is a more likely figure considering the estimated pricing.

In addition to the new MacBook Air or MacBook, DigiTimes says Apple is also preparing updated entry-level iPad models for release in the second quarter and new iPad Pro models for the second half of the year.
Apple will launch lower-priced versions of four products this year, including an iPad, iPhone, MacBook Air, and HomePod, according to a translated report from Taiwan's Economic Daily News via Japanese blog Mac Otakara.


We've already heard rumors about more affordable iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Air models, but this is the first word of a supposedly lower-priced HomePod being on Apple's roadmap. The speaker is forecast to launch in the second half of 2018 for between $150 and $200 in the United States.

At $349, the current HomePod is considerably more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home for $99 and $129 or less respectively. But the HomePod also has significantly better sound quality than its smart assistant rivals, in line with Apple positioning it as a high-quality speaker first and foremost.

A lower-priced HomePod would certainly be more competitive with the Echo and Google Home, but it's unclear if that would come at the expense of audio quality. One possibility is that Apple will release a smaller HomePod mini that still delivers premium sound relative to other portable speakers in that category.

Here's the full breakdown of the Economic Daily News report, based on what we could gather from a translated version:
  • 9.7-inch iPad for $259: This lines up with a DigiTimes supply chain report from last December that said Apple is considering releasing a cheaper 9.7-inch iPad for $259 in the second quarter of 2018. The current 9.7-inch iPad was released in March 2017 for $349.

  • 6.1-inch iPhone for $649 to $749: This lines up with a prediction from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who expects Apple to launch a mid-range 6.1-inch iPhone with Face ID, but with some design compromises like an LCD rather than OLED display to achieve the lower price point.

  • MacBook Air for $799 to $899: This lines up with another prediction from Kuo, who said Apple will launch a more affordable MacBook Air in the second quarter of 2018. The estimated price range comes from WitsView researcher Yubin Qiu. The current MacBook Air starts at $999.

  • HomePod for $150 to $200: Today's report cites industry sources who expect a more affordable HomePod to launch in the second half of 2018. It's hard to decipher details from the loosely translated report, but Mac Otakara's coverage seems to suggest it will be a smaller speaker.
It's worth noting that these prices are estimates, as it's hard to envision Apple sharing pricing information with its supply chain partners.

Of the four products, the new iPad and MacBook Air are most likely to debut first. Apple is rumored to unveil new devices later this month, but it's unclear if the announcements will be made via press release or at a media event. If there is a keynote planned, invites would certainly have to go out soon.

The new 6.1-inch iPhone should debut in September alongside a new iPhone X and so-called iPhone X Plus, and the lower-priced HomePod could certainly be introduced at the same event. The current HomePod launched in early February.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new research report encouraging investors to keep their eyes on three products for 2018: the rumored 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, AirPods, and a "more affordable MacBook Air." The first two in that list have been widely discussed in recent weeks and months, but this is the first we've heard about an update to the MacBook Air.

We expect Apple (US) to roll out the new MacBook Air with a lower price tag in 2Q18. We forecast total shipments of MacBook models will grow 10-15% YoY in 2018 (vs. 0-5% YoY decline for the NB industry), up from 15.5-16mn units in 2017. While Quanta, Radiant, Catcher and SZS are likely to benefit from strong shipments momentum, SZS also stands to benefit from increased market share and a higher ASP.
Kuo doesn't offer any details on what to expect in an updated MacBook Air beyond a lower price tag, but the current models are certainly outdated as they haven't had any substantial updates in three years. Since that time, Apple has cut back on available models including a complete discontinuation of the 11-inch model. The only recent upgrade to the 13-inch model has been a bump to the base processor option last June, but it's still a Broadwell chip from the 2014–15 timeframe.

Aside from obvious internal upgrades like processors and graphics, another area that could see improvement is the display, as the MacBook Air currently offers a 1440 x 900 non-Retina display. We'll likely also see some USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 upgrades and perhaps an overall redesign given the age of the current design.

Kuo's claim of a second-quarter introduction points to the April–June timeframe, which could mean an announcement at WWDC in June, and we'll likely hear more rumors as the time gets closer.

In a separate report, Kuo predicts that AirPods and the rumored high-end over-ear headphones are the future of Apple's artificial intelligence and augmented reality ambitions. Kuo believes that compared to HomePod, Apple's headphones offer more opportunities for reaching users quickly, personalization, and complementing rumored augmented reality glasses. Kuo is extremely optimistic about AirPods demand going forward, but less enthusiastic about HomePod given "mediocre" demand so far.
Apple's lineup of MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models accounted for roughly one in ten notebooks shipped worldwide last year, according to data published today by research firm TrendForce.


TrendForce claims that Apple surpassed ASUS to become the world's fourth largest notebook vendor, with an estimated 9.6 percent market share in 2017, up from 8.3 percent in 2016. ASUS saw its market share drop to an estimated 9.5 percent last year, down from a reported 10.3 percent in 2016.

The research firm says Apple releasing updated MacBook Pro models in June 2017 helped the company expand its shipments by 18 percent for the whole year—supposedly the highest growth rate among all notebook brands.

TrendForce estimates notebook shipments from all brands totaled 164.7 million units worldwide, a year-on-year increase of 2.1 percent. Windows PC makers HP, Lenovo, and Dell led the industry with estimated 24.3 percent, 20.2 percent, and 15.2 percent market shares respectively in 2017.


It's important to note that Apple doesn't break down its Mac sales on a model-by-model basis in its earnings reports, so TrendForce's data is estimated, likely based in part on the average selling price of a Mac.

Another caveat is that PC makers like HP, Lenovo, and Dell sell a wide variety of notebooks at all different price points, while Apple primarily targets the high-end market, with its cheapest notebook being the outdated MacBook Air for $999 and up. Apple's profit margins are also significantly higher.

Apple routinely flip-flops between fourth and fifth place in the notebook market, so these results aren't overly surprising. The company is expected to remain the world's fourth most popular notebook vendor in 2018.

What's next for Apple's notebook lineup? We haven't heard much yet, but a recent report claimed that at least three new Mac models integrated with custom co-processors, including updated notebooks and a new desktop, are planned for release later this year. MacBook refreshes often occur between March and June.

Apple's desktop lineup has actually received more attention than MacBooks recently. In addition to the all-new iMac Pro, Apple continues to work on a Mac Pro with an upgradeable design. The portable Mac mini has also gone well over three years without an update, and could certainly use a refresh.

For a history of release dates and the latest rumors about the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, be sure to visit our Mac Buyer's Guide.
Apple plans to release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook in the second half of 2018, according to industry sources cited by DigiTimes. The report claims General Interface Solution (GIS) is expected to win more LCD display orders from Apple for the planned new model, after it began supplying the modules for existing MacBooks in the fourth quarter of last year.


Touch panel maker General Interface Solution (GIS) is expected to land more LCM (LCD module) orders from Apple, which reportedly plans to release an entry-level 13-inch MacBook in the second half of 2018, according to industry sources.

With new orders for MacBooks and other models, GIS is expected to ramp up its LCM shipments to 600,000 units a month by the end of 2018 compared to 300,000 units currently, said the sources.
Extrapolating from today's report, which is light on detail, Apple's next entry-level MacBook will likely replace the 13-inch MacBook Air, Apple's lowest-cost notebook starting at $999. Apple's long-term aim was for the 12-inch MacBook to replace the MacBook Air, which was introduced in 2008, but sales of the Air have remained strong mainly thanks to its affordability. In 2016, Apple tried to position the 13-inch MacBook Pro with no Touch Bar as a viable MacBook Air alternative, but the Pro starts at $1,299, which is $300 more than the entry-level Air model.

With its signature tapered design, the MacBook Air is the only notebook the company still sells that does not have a Retina display. To keep it viable for a while longer, Apple bumped the base model's processor from 1.6 GHz to 1.8 in June 2017, but it has only seen similar minor updates since its last major revision in March 2015. The 11-inch MacBook Air has been discontinued entirely, and we do not expect to see further substantial updates to the line.

It's unclear what form a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook would take, although Apple would likely make efforts to clearly distinguish it from any existing 13-inch MacBook Pro models. Apple is known to be exploring the possibility of using fullscreen OLED displays in future MacBook series, which could see the company retain LCD display technology in a new entry-level machine while eventually adopting OLED for its Pro line-up, similar to the OLED/LCD differentiation strategy it will take for this year's upcoming iPhone line-up.

Apple is also reportedly looking into using ARM-based core processor chips for future MacBooks, which would reduce the company's dependence on Intel, especially given the recent Spectre and Meltdown troubles. Apple's interest in building its own core processors for notebooks could also enable it to control next-generation display technology and some related key components, according to sources, which would further differentiate the company's computers from others on the market.
Today marks the tenth anniversary of the late Steve Jobs unveiling the MacBook Air, the world's thinnest notebook at the time.


After introducing the AirPort Time Capsule and sharing some iPhone and Apple TV news, Jobs walked over to his podium, grabbed a manilla envelope, and pulled out the sleek MacBook Air. The crowd at Macworld erupted with applause as Jobs held the ultra-light notebook in the palm of his hand.

The thinness came at a cost. The base model ran $1,799 for a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, and an 80GB hard drive. A maxed out version was also available for $3,098, around $300 more than the base Mac Pro at the time, with a faster 1.8GHz processor and a 64GB solid-state drive.


MacBook Air was all about firsts. The notebook was Apple's first without a CD/DVD drive, first to ditch a range of ports and connectivity options, first with a multi-touch trackpad, first to have the option for SSD storage, first to weigh just three pounds or less, and first with a mercury-free display.

A single design decision also epitomized the past decade of Apple: a flip-down door on the right side of the machine provided access to only a single USB port, a headphone jack, and a micro-DVI port.

We've seen Apple go down this path many times since: it introduced the MacBook with just a single USB-C port, reduced the MacBook Pro's connectivity to Thunderbolt 3 ports, and removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. Each change generated controversy, but ultimately set the course for its future.

Stephen Hackett of 512 Pixels has shared a great piece titled The MacBook Air: A Decade's Worth of Legacy over at MacStories that dives into the notebook's history. He also put together the video below.


A decade later, the MacBook Air remains a product in Apple's lineup, but likely only because it is a lower-cost option. Beyond a minor speed bump last June, the notebook hasn't been updated since March 2015, and it very well may be discontinued once Apple feels able to sell its 12-inch MacBook for around $999.
Apple rose to become the world's fourth-largest PC maker in 2017, as Mac sales increased to nearly 20 million during the year, according to the latest estimates shared by research firms IDC and Gartner.


The roughly 19.6 million total is based on Apple's reported Mac sales of 13.9 million units in the first three calendar quarters of the year, while IDC and Gartner estimate Apple sold another 5.4 million to 5.7 million Macs in the fourth quarter.

Apple officially reported sales of 18.5 million Macs in 2016, so the company is looking at year-over-year growth of around four to six percent based on the IDC and Gartner data. Apple sold over 20 million Macs in both 2014 and 2015, however, so 2017 was likely not a record-breaking year for the Mac.

Apple leapfrogged either Asus or Acer depending on which dataset you look at, as IDC and Gartner have slightly different estimates. Both research firms have Apple trailing behind HP, Lenovo, and Dell, which shipped an estimated 58.8 million, 54.8 million, and 41.8 million PCs respectively last year per IDC.


Apple's growth in 2017 is impressive given Gartner claims it was the sixth consecutive year of declining PC shipments. The year saw Apple refresh its MacBook Pro and iMac lineups with Kaby Lake processors, give the base MacBook Air a slight speed boost, and launch an all-new iMac Pro.

We'll know exactly how many Macs were sold in 2017 when Apple reports its next earnings results on February 1, but if these estimates prove to be accurate, it was a financially successful year for the Mac.
2017 was a big year for Apple, with the launch of the entirely revamped iPhone X, the iMac Pro, the first cellular-enabled Apple Watch, an iPad Pro with an amazing display, the Apple TV 4K, and new Macs, software, and other products.

In the video below, we highlighted some of the most well-received and notable Apple products of the year, and below that, you'll find a quick overview of every major product Apple debuted or announced in 2017.

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Fifth-Generation iPad (March)


March saw the launch of Apple's most affordable iPad to date, the 5th-generation iPad, which Apple refers to as "iPad." iPad is priced starting at $329 for the entry-level 32GB Wi-Fi only version, and despite its low price, the tablet is equipped with a speedy A9 processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera, Touch ID, and Apple Pay support.


It's thicker than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro that came before it, but not by much, and while it doesn't support Apple Pencil or have some of the impressive display features available in the iPad Pro, it's an incredibly capable tablet that's going hold up for years to come.

Read more about the iPad in our iPad roundup.

iPad Pro


Following the launch of the new low-cost "iPad," Apple introduced two new iPad Pro models in June: an updated 12.9-inch model and an all-new 10.5-inch model that replaces the previous 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro isn't much bigger than the 9.7-inch model, but it has a much larger display thanks to thinner side bezels.

Both the 10.5 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are amazingly powerful and can serve as PC replacements with A10X Fusion chips and 4GB RAM. New displays offer ProMotion display technology with a 120Hz refresh rate, and these are without a doubt the nicest displays we've seen in an iPad.


Unlike the fifth-generation iPad, the iPad Pro models support the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil, but all of these features don't come cheap - the 64GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro starts at $649, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $799. Luckily, sales are common, so you can often get these two tablets at lower prices.

Read more about the iPad Pro in our iPad Pro roundup.

MacBook Pro


Apple introduced the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in October of 2016, so we weren't expecting new MacBook Pro models until late 2017, but Apple surprised us with new MacBook Pro models equipped with Kaby Lake processors in June of 2017.

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