Many of the complaints that we saw suggested the camera was poor quality without offering direct comparisons, or with comparisons to FaceTime cameras like those in the iPhone, which are wildly better than the 720p "FaceTime HD" camera Apple uses in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines.
In a direct comparison, photos taken from Photo Booth on a 2018 MacBook Air and a modern 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro are almost identical, and both are pretty terrible. The MacBook Air photos are a bit darker, which can be interpreted as "worse," but all in all, both cameras are bad.
When comparing the new MacBook Air and the older 2015 MacBook Air, however, we found a more noticeable difference in quality. The FaceTime HD camera in the 2015 MacBook Air is a bit clearer and brighter, with the 2018 MacBook Air's camera letting in less light and producing an overall grainier, less clear result.
Even though we can clearly see a difference between the 2015 and the 2018 MacBook Air FaceTime HD cameras, it's not a huge gap. Both cameras are subpar, and that the FaceTime HD camera on the MacBook Air appears to have gotten worse over time rather than better is certainly disappointing.
On a modern machine with a Retina display, a 720p FaceTime HD camera just doesn't hold up, especially in comparison to devices like the iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and iPad Pro, which have much higher resolution cameras. FaceTime is limited to 720p on all devices, but the FaceTime HD camera does serve other purposes as well.
2018 MacBook Air owners are disappointed, and honestly, MacBook Pro owners should be too. 720p looks awful and it is outdated technology. Apple implemented a better 1080p FaceTime HD camera in the iMac Pro, and the quality is much better.
Hopefully future Mac notebook updates will feature higher-quality webcams as video quality has become an increasingly important feature that consumers look for when making a purchase.
Many of the complaint threads that suggested the MacBook Air camera is worse than other machines did not include comparison images, so we're still working with just a few data points here. If you have a MacBook Air and another machine, please feel free to post comparison images in the thread below so we can further investigate this issue.
Friday December 28, 2018 1:05 pm PST by Eric Slivka
As 2018 comes to a close, it's a great opportunity to take a look back at the year that was. Yesterday we shared our review of everything Apple announced during the year, and today we're taking a look at the rumors and leaks that gave us details on Apple's plans ahead of those announcements.
This year saw the typical iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch updates, although there were a few wrinkles thrown in with the new iPhone XR size, a redesigned iPad Pro without a Home button, and some changes to the Apple Watch with larger displays and thinner bodies.
The Mac side also saw some interesting rumors and product releases, with major improvements to the MacBook Air and the Mac mini coming alongside minor enhancements for the MacBook Pro, but unfortunately a few of Apple's Mac lines like the iMac and MacBook didn't see any updates.
Below we've rounded up some of the most interesting and notable leaks and rumors for 2018, organized by product.
2018 in Rumors
Following the September 2017 launch of the iPhone X, attention quickly turned to Apple's 2018 iPhone lineup, and usual suspect Ming-Chi Kuo was quick to outline Apple's plans for a larger 6.5-inch model and a lower-cost 6.1-inch LCD model, correctly predicting a number of details about the devices including a full-screen design with notch, rough pixel density, and general pricing range for what would become the iPhone XR.
In January, Kuo weighed in with a few more details about the iPhone XR, including its single-lens rear camera, aluminum frame, 3GB of RAM, lack of 3D Touch, and pricing. The claim of no 3D Touch was met with considerable skepticism, but it did in fact turn out to be true, with the iPhone XR offering a scaled-back Haptic Touch feature.
A month later, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman revealed that the iPhone XS Max would have a resolution of 1242x2688 and that it would be available with dual-SIM capabilities and a new gold color option. Apple itself revealed an unreleased gold version of the iPhone X that was submitted to the FCC in September 2017 and which became public in April 2018.
Later in the month, Kuo returned to reiterate his claim that the iPhone XR would not support 3D Touch, outlining changes to the display and touch-sensing technology that led to Apple removing the feature.
Late July was also when we started hearing more substantial rumors that the iPhone XR might launch a bit later than the rest of the 2018 lineup, and this did turn out to be the case. The iPhone XR reportedly faced some technical challenges such as LED backlight leakage, but the staggered release also gave Apple an opportunity to spread out promotion of its new phones a bit.
As with the iPhone, rumors about Apple's redesigned iPad Pro kicked off in the final quarter of 2017, with Ming-Chi Kuo predicting that the device would include a TrueDepth camera system supporting Face ID. Just a month later, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman accurately described a number of other details about the iPad Pro, including slimmer bezels, a custom Apple-built GPU, Face ID, and no Home button. Gurman also correctly predicted that the iPad Pro would continue to use an LCD rather than an OLED display and that a new version of the Apple Pencil was in the works.
Following the release of iOS 12 betas starting in June, we began to see more evidence of Face ID support on iPad, with developer Steven Troughton-Smith noting that the AvatarKit framework used to drive the Animoji feature had been adapted to work on iPad.
In late July, we heard from Japanese site Mac Otakara that the updated iPad Pro would not include a headphone jack, following in the footsteps of recent iPhone models. The report also claimed the redesigned iPad Pro would include "diamond cut" edges on the front and back, and while the iPad Pro did indeed sport flatter sides and less rounded edges than on previous iPads, we didn't quite get the beveled edges of the iPhone SE, for example. The report also claimed the Smart Connector would be moving from the edge of the iPad Pro to the bottom rear, which didn't make a whole lot of sense at the time.
As the calendar flipped over to August, we saw our first sign of redesigned iPad Pro models direct from Apple, with a new low-resolution battery usage icon in the fifth iOS 12 beta depicting a device with slim bezels and no Home button. Similarly, UI masks found in the same beta indicated the iPad Pro display would likely include rounded corners similar to those found on the iPhone X.
Late August saw our first third-party case leaks for the iPad Pro showing a mysterious cutout on the rear of the device just above the Lightning port, which corresponded with rumors of a relocated Smart Connector. Speculation centered around a portrait orientation Smart Keyboard attachment, but that didn't seem to make much sense and it really wasn't until we saw the Smart Keyboard Folio unveiled at Apple's October event that we really understood how Apple intended for the new Smart Connector location to work.
Early in October, 9to5Mac reported that the new Apple Pencil would feature AirPods-like proximity pairing, rather than requiring the Apple Pencil be plugged into an iPad for pairing purposes. A few days later, we saw our first claim that the new iPad Pro would be just 5.9mm thick, Apple's thinnest iPad ever. There was some uncertainty about whether this would be true of both iPad Pro sizes, but they did indeed both end up having the same thickness.
Just ahead of Apple's October 30 event, Benjamin Geskin shared details on the second-generation Apple Pencil that would ship alongside the new iPad Pro, including aspects such as the simpler design, tap and swipe gestures, and magnetic attachment and charging along the side of the iPad Pro. On the same day, a higher-resolution icon was also discovered in iOS 12 revealing the design of the iPad Pro.
Once Apple announced its education-focused event in Chicago for March 27, Mark Gurman confirmed that Apple would be introducing a new iPad and education-focused software at the event. That same day, Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the new low-cost iPad would also include Apple Pencil support, which turned out to be correct.
Rumors about a new 13-inch notebook surfaced all the way back in January, with DigiTimes claiming Apple was working on a likely replacement for the MacBook Air that hadn't been updated since 2015. No other details on the machine were shared at the time, and confusion persisted all the way up until release about whether the machine would be a new MacBook Air, a MacBook, or something else, but it eventually made its debut carrying the MacBook Air name.
In January 2018, Gurman offered a vague rumor claiming that Apple was working on a trio of new Mac models that would include a custom coprocessor like the T1/T2 chips found in the MacBook Pro and iMac Pro. He didn't specify which models these would be, but the claim did end up being true with the MacBook Air, updated MacBook Pro, and Mac mini all gaining the T2 chip in 2018.
Kuo popped up again in March to claim that Apple was preparing a cheaper MacBook Air for launch in the second quarter of the year. It was the first time we'd heard about the new notebook being an updated MacBook Air, and while the timing was a bit off and it certainly wasn't cheaper than the previous model, the new machine was definitely in the works. DigiTimes followed up a few days later with its claim that the new MacBook Air would include a Retina display, which was welcome but expected news.
By late April, we started hearing better information on the timing of the new MacBook Air, with DigiTimes claiming it was pushed back to the second half of the year, tempering hopes that it might appear at WWDC in June. Reports in mid-August said we should expect a launch around the end of the third quarter, which would put it at the end of September, and we ended up getting it almost exactly a month later than that.
It wasn't until the latter part of August that we got our first word of a redesigned Mac mini from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. He didn't have much detail to offer at the time, although he said it would be focused on pro users with storage and processor options that would likely push the price higher.
By early September, we heard from Ming-Chi Kuo that the new MacBook Air would include Touch ID support, although it would not have the full Touch Bar seen on the MacBook Pro.
Late March was the first time we heard anything substantial about the Apple Watch Series 4, with Ming-Chi Kuo revealing that the new models would include 15 percent larger displays, although at the time it wasn't clear whether that would come from smaller bezels or a larger body, and it eventually turned out to be a bit of both.
The same late August leak straight from Apple that gave us a look at the iPhone XS and XS Max also revealed the new Apple Watch Series 4, showing off a gold stainless steel body, a new red ring for the Digital Crown, a larger edge-to-edge display, and a new Infograph watch face. Subsequently, it was discovered in the watchOS beta that the larger Series 4 model would carry a 384x480 display, a significant increase from the previous 312x390 resolution.
Apple's premature update of its website sitemap just ahead of its September 12 event revealed that the casing sizes for the Apple Watch would be increasing by 2mm each, as well as various finish and band options.
Following a number of performance and quality issues with iOS 11, Apple took a step back in 2018, with Axios' Ina Fried reporting in January that Apple would be delaying some changes originally intended for iOS 12, including a Home screen refresh, CarPlay enhancements, Mail app improvements, and various photo-related updates. By pushing those features back to iOS 13 in 2019, Apple hoped to put more emphasis on stability and bug fixes for iOS 12 while also improving responsiveness and speed. Mark Gurman quickly followed up on Fried's report to claim that the feature delay also extended to macOS, although to a lesser degree.
In February, Gurman revealed that iOS 12 would bring Animoji to FaceTime and that the update would bring deeper Siri integration, improved Do Not Disturb options, and a redesigned Stocks app. And just a few days before WWDC, Gurman shared his expectations that the conference would focus on software news like digital health tools in iOS 12, ARKit 2, and more, with hardware news coming separately later in the year.
In late May, we found evidence of recent trademark activity from Apple surrounding several potential macOS names, with the greatest amount of activity surrounding the name "Mojave." Apple itself was responsible for a major macOS leak just a week later, prematurely publishing a brief Xcode 10 video on its Mac App Store servers. The video revealed dark mode, an Apple News app for Mac, and a desert desktop background supporting the possibility of macOS 10.14 being named Mojave.
In what was undoubtedly the most ironic and amusing leak of 2018, an internal Apple memo cautioning employees against leaking information to the media was itself leaked in full. The memo specifically mentioned several previous leaks including the iOS 11 gold master, with Apple noting that the employee responsible for the leak was identified and fired. Apple also highlighted the fact that employee leakers can not only lose their jobs but also be subjected to criminal prosecution. The company said it caught 29 leakers in 2017 among its employees, contractors, and supply chain partners, with 12 of those individuals being arrested.
2019 should once again be a busy year for Apple and we'll have more to say on that next week, but at a minimum there are still a number of rumors from 2018 that are carrying over into the new year – everything from the ongoing AirPower and AirPods saga to rumored over-ear headphones, Apple's promised revamped Mac Pro, and much more.
Wednesday November 14, 2018 1:10 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple in October gave us a major surprise with the launch of an entirely revamped, updated version of the MacBook Air, its most popular and affordable notebook option.
We went hands-on with the MacBook Air last week, and this week, we picked up an older MacBook Air to compare the new model to see just what's different and whether it's still worth buying the old version, which sells for $200 less than the current model.
The previous-generation MacBook Air is a 2015 design, but in 2017, Apple introduced 1.8GHz Broadwell-generation chips that were a slight upgrade from the 1.6GHz chips the machine had previously used. No other changes were made, so technically, Apple's old MacBook Air is outdated by several years.
Design wise, the new MacBook Air features a smaller, slimmer body that weighs a bit less, and the slimmer design is noticeable. It continues to feature the same tapered design as the previous models, and we didn't think the weight difference of a quarter of a pound stood out.
Along with a slimmed down body, the new MacBook Air comes in three color options: Space Gray, Gold, and the traditional Silver. Space Gray and Gold are colors that are new to the MacBook Air lineup.
The biggest change to the 2018 MacBook Air models is the display, which is now Retina and a huge improvement over the low-resolution display in the previous MacBook Air. The MacBook Air used to be the sole Apple device sans at least a Retina display option, but now Apple uses higher-resolution displays across its entire product lineup with the exception of the entry-level 21.5-inch iMac.
We thought the MacBook Air's new display offered a significant improvement over the previous MacBook Air's display, but it doesn't quite measure up to the display of the MacBook Pro because it's just not that bright. Brightness can be an issue outdoors in sunlight, so that's something to be aware of.
Design wise, the front of the MacBook Air has been overhauled. Those thick silver bezels from the previous version have been replaced with sleek, slim MacBook Pro-style black bezels that look much, much nicer.
Several other MacBook Pro features have been brought to the new MacBook Air and are upgrades over the previous model. There's a larger Force Touch trackpad, a third-generation butterfly keyboard, better speakers, a Touch ID button for authentication purposes, and a T2 chip for improved security.
Inside, the new MacBook Air is sporting a 7W 8th-generation 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, and unsurprisingly, it's much speedier than the three-year-old processors used in the prior MacBook Air. Apple used to use 15W chips in the MacBook Air models, but this new, lower power 7W chip is both fast and efficient, allowing for longer battery life than ever.
The last super notable change is to the port setup. The new MacBook Air has two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack, with Apple eliminating the USB-A ports and the SD card slot from the older model. The addition of Thunderbolt 3 brings the MacBook Air in line with the rest of the Mac lineup and allows it to connect to 4K and 5K displays, faster Thunderbolt 3 storage, eGPUs, and more.
All of these changes have raised the base price of the MacBook Air. Prior to the October update, the MacBook Air sold for $999, but now the base model sells for $1,199, a $200 premium. Given the scope of the revamp, the $200 upgrade fee is well worth paying for anyone thinking of purchasing a MacBook Air.
Apple is still selling the older model at the same $999 price point, but it's just not worth purchasing because the components are so outdated at this point.
What do you think of Apple's new MacBook Air? Let us know in the comments.
Tuesday November 13, 2018 10:36 am PST by Mitchel Broussard
B&H Photo has debuted a new sale this week, discounting the 2018 13-inch MacBook Air by $100 and marking one of the first major discounts for the notebook, which Apple just launched less than one week ago. With the sale, the entry level model of the MacBook Air is now down to $1,099 from $1,199.
Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.
Below we've listed each of the SKUs on sale in Space Gray, and you can find the Silver and Gold options on B&H Photo as well. B&H Photo lists these MacBook Air models as pre-orders, so shoppers will likely have to wait a little longer to get the notebook in, but sales tax will not be collected on orders in certain states.
For today only, B&H Photo is also offering Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar from Mid 2017 (3.1 GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) for $2,199.00, down from $2,999.00. Additionally, the retailer is offering another model of the same notebook (3.1 GHz, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD) for $2,799.00, down from $4,199.00.
In an exclusive sale, Speck is offering MacRumors readers a 35 percent sitewide discount through tomorrow, November 14. To get access to the sale, enter the promo code RUMORS35 during the checkout process. Discounts can not be stacked, so the code isn't valid on products already marked down on Speck's site.
Speck's website is full of accessories compatible with iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, 8, and 8 Plus, 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and many more. The company also sells laptop bags and power accessories, so be sure to check out the site before the exclusive discount code expires on Wednesday.
Lastly, those looking to round out their Harry Potter iTunes Movies collection -- or complete it in one go -- should check out the latest sale on Apple's digital movies storefront. In the sale, each individual film is marked down to $7.99 and the complete collection bundle is down to $49.99.
Originally, individual movies in the series were around $14.99, and the bundle of all eight films was priced at $79.99, so if you've been waiting to add the series into your iTunes Movies library, now is a great time. Additionally, all eight films are available in 4K Dolby Vision.
Friday November 9, 2018 9:20 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Micro Center retail stores are offering an impressive $200 off new MacBook Air models, including custom configurations, starting today. This is by far the best deal we've seen on the new MacBook Air just released this Wednesday.
A new base model MacBook Air with a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, and Intel UHD Graphics 617 is available for $999, down from Apple's regular price of $1,199. An upgraded model with 256GB of storage is available for $1,199, down from $1,399 regularly.
Micro Center says the deal is available at its retail stores only and not online, although an order can also be reserved online for in-store pickup. The official Apple Authorized Reseller has 25 locations across the United States, many of which appear to be open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Micro Center says the deal is limited to one per household, and supplies are likely extremely limited, so we recommend calling ahead if you are planning on visiting one of their stores. There's no indication when the sale ends, so act fast.
As further evidence, the benchmark result lists 16GB of 2133 MHz LPDDR3 RAM, an existing upgrade option for the new MacBook Air. And the Core i7-8510Y appears to be part of Intel's low-power Amber Lake lineup, as is the Core i5 in the new MacBook Air, although it's not listed on Intel's ARK database.
The apparent MacBook Air with a Core i7 chip has a multi-core score of 8,553 on Geekbench, which would make it roughly 8.5 percent faster than the average multi-core score of the existing option with a Core i5.
Geekbench founder John Poole told MacRumors that nothing about the benchmark result looks fake to him, although that possibility can't be entirely ruled out. If real, however, it suggests that a 2018 MacBook Air with a Core i7 exists within Apple, but obviously hasn't been released to the public.
It's reasonable to assume that Apple prototypes several different versions of its products, and not all of them see the light of day. Why the MacBook Air with a Core i7 wasn't released is anyone's guess — maybe it ran too hot, or Apple elected to keep the dual-core Core i7 a MacBook Pro option, or something else.
If Apple does plan to add the Core i7 as an upgrade option for the new MacBook Air, it's hard to envision that it would do so anytime soon considering the notebook was just refreshed. Apple has bumped up the MacBook Air's processor mid-product-cycle in the past, though, so there is some precedence for the move.
All in all, there is possibly a new MacBook Air with a Core i7 in the wild that Apple decided not to ship or may ship at a later date.
Design wise, the MacBook Air looks a lot like the previous-generation model, but it now comes in Space Gray and Gold in addition to Silver. It's not as thin and light as the ultra thin and ultra portable MacBook, but Apple has streamlined the design.
The new MacBook Air is 10 percent thinner than the previous model, takes up 17 percent less volume, and weighs a quarter pound less at 2.75 pounds.
Components from the MacBook Pro, including the larger Force Touch trackpad and the third-generation butterfly keyboard, have been added to the MacBook Air, which will be major changes for anyone upgrading from an older machine that doesn't have these features.
There's been some controversy with the butterfly keyboard (which has been available in the MacBook and MacBook Pro for years) but this third-generation version has additional silicone barriers to keep crumbs out and to cut down on failure rates.
Like the new 2018 MacBook Pro models, the MacBook Air adopts a T2 chip and Touch ID for use as a password replacement, but it doesn't have a Touch Bar. It also uses USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, dropping the USB-A, SD card slot, and MagSafe 2 ports.
For the first time, the MacBook Air features a Retina display, putting it on par with the MacBook Pro and the MacBook. It's not quite as bright and vibrant as the MacBook Pro's display, but it's still a fantastic improvement over the previous non-Retina model.
The display also has slimmed down black bezels, a much more modern look than the thick silver bezels from the prior-generation model.
Inside, the MacBook Air is equipped with a 7W 8th-generation Core i5 Intel processor. It's not as high-powered as the 15W chips used in previous MacBook Air models, but it does offer speed improvements over the old Broadwell chips that prior machines used, and since it uses less power, it's super efficient.
The new MacBook Air has the longest battery life out of any of Apple's notebooks, lasting up to 12 hours when browsing the web and 13 hours when watching iTunes movies.
With all of these new features, Apple is charging $1,199 for the entry-level MacBook Air with a 128GB SSD and 8GB RAM, $200 more than the base model MacBook Air used to cost. That puts it close to the pricing of both the entry-level 2017 non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro and the 12-inch Retina MacBook.
Still, the MacBook Air is Apple's lowest-priced modern notebook, and with its rich feature set, long battery life, and slimmed down enclosure, it's an appealing machine that's ideal for people who need a notebook to do things like web browsing, light creative work, writing, office work, and other similar tasks.
It's not as powerful as the MacBook Pro and it's not as portable as the MacBook, but it's a great middle-of-the-road machine that's going to suit the needs of most Mac users.
Did you get a new 2018 MacBook Air? Let us know what you think about the machine in the comments.
Thursday November 8, 2018 8:55 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple today shared environmental reports for the new MacBook Air and Mac mini, the first two Macs with 100 percent recycled aluminum enclosures.
The eco-friendly designs of the new MacBook Air and Mac mini extends beyond aluminum. The bottom cover and connector wall in the new Mac mini, for example, are made from 60 percent recycled plastic, while its fan contains 27 percent bio-based plastic made with renewable sources rather than petroleum.
Likewise, the vent and speakers in the new MacBook Air contain 35 percent and 45 percent recycled plastic respectively. The butterfly switches on the new MacBook Air's keyboard also contain 34 percent bio-based plastic, while the solder on the main logic board is made from 100 percent recycled tin.
Apple says the new Mac mini generates 45 percent fewer emissions than the previous-generation model, while the new MacBook Air generates 47 percent fewer emissions than the previous-generation model, each over a four-year lifespan.
Apple also says the new MacBook Air's packaging uses 87 percent less plastic than the previous-generation model's packaging.
Apple's ultimate goal is to use only recycled or renewable materials in its products, and source them responsibly, and it has certainly taken further steps forward with the latest MacBook Air and Mac mini.
iFixit started by confirming the keyboard on the new MacBook Air has the same silicone membrane under the keycaps as the latest MacBook Pro, as expected since they both use Apple's third-generation butterfly keyboard.
Next, they flipped the notebook onto its bottom side and encountered Apple's usual pentalobe screws that require a special screwdriver to unfasten. On the inside, there is a compact array of components, including a small logic board, a fan, a pair of large speakers, and a "radiator-esque heat sink."
iFixit proceeded to remove the logic board, providing a glimpse at the Apple T2 security chip, along with a Thunderbolt 3 controller from Intel, 128GB of flash storage from SanDisk, and 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM from SK Hynix.
Diving deeper, iFixit discovered that the two Thunderbolt 3 ports in the new MacBook Air are modular, and applauded Apple for this repair-friendly design consideration. "This MacBook is off to a good start as far as we're concerned," they wrote. "All the ports sit on their own boards and are easily replaceable."
Continuing the repair-friendly trend, iFixit uncovered ten pull-to-remove adhesive tabs securing the 49.9 Wh battery and speakers.
"The mere presence of stretch-release adhesive generally means that someone at least thought about possible repair and disassembly situations," the teardown says. "Are you there, Apple? It's us, iFixit. Have you heard our pleas?"
In all other MacBook and MacBook Pro models with a Retina display released since 2012, Apple has replaced the entire top case when a customer requires a new battery, so the change is good news for both repairability and the environment.
Last, iFixit confirmed that the Touch ID sensor is also modular in the new MacBook Air. According to the new MacBook Air's service guide obtained by MacRumors, the Touch ID button does not require a logic board replacement, but the notebook must pass Apple diagnostics in order for the repair to be completed.
While the new MacBook Air has improved repairability relative to Apple's standards, the notebook earned a low 3/10 repairability score from iFixit.
"The Air still uses external pentalobes to keep you out, requires lots of component removal for common fixes, and both RAM and storage are soldered to the logic board," said iFixit. "All together, that means Apple has an easy time with their knowledge and tools, but the average DIYer is left out to dry when it comes to upgrades."
Nevertheless, iFixit said it hopes this is "just the beginning of an upswing in repairable design" for Apple products.
Wednesday November 7, 2018 9:30 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Big news for repairability and environmental responsibility: the battery can be individually replaced in the new MacBook Air, according to Apple's internal Service Readiness Guide for the notebook, obtained by MacRumors.
Apple demonstrating removal of battery in the new MacBook Air
In all other MacBook and MacBook Pro models with a Retina display released since 2012, when a customer has required a battery replacement, Apple has replaced the entire top case enclosure, including the keyboard and trackpad. This is because the battery is glued into the top case in Mac notebooks with Retina displays.
The battery in the new MacBook Air is still glued into the top case, the aluminum enclosure that houses the keyboard and trackpad, but Apple will be providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with tools to remove the battery and reinstall a new one with no top case replacement required.
Once the new battery is installed, technicians are required to place the notebook in Apple's existing iPhone display press tool to activate the new adhesive. The glue strips are exactly the same as those used for iPhone batteries.
"This is a huge step forward," said Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, a popular website dedicated to repairing Apple products. "Apple's glued-down battery design has been a challenge for consumers, recyclers, and for Apple's own technicians. Preserving the removability of the MacBook Air's battery is really important."
The trackpad in the new MacBook Air can also be individually replaced, according to the Service Readiness Guide, obtained from a reliable source.
We'll have to wait until iFixit tears down the new MacBook Air for a closer look inside the notebook, but Apple has presumably made design changes that allow for Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers to more easily replace the battery and trackpad, eliminating the need for a full-out top case replacement.
If there are indeed design changes, then Apple likely won't extend its new method to individually replace the battery to existing MacBook and MacBook Pro models with Retina displays, but it is certainly possible with next-generation models.
iFixit does have do-it-yourself guides for replacing the battery in MacBook and MacBook Pro models with Retina displays, which requires purchasing its battery replacement kit, but the process requires quite a bit of work and a careful hand. Do-it-yourself repairs also void Apple's warranty.
For comparison, the previous-generation MacBook Air has a screwed-down battery that can be removed and replaced by Apple and its service providers without a top case replacement, in line with other non-Retina notebooks.
In related news, Apple also states that replacing the Touch ID button on the new MacBook Air does not require a logic board replacement, but the notebook must pass Apple diagnostics in order for the repair to be completed.
Apple replacing the entire top case for a simple battery swap-out has always been a point of contention, so this change should be well received by the repair industry. It's also better for the environment, and will likely save Apple money, so it's a win-win-win. We've reached out to Apple for comment.
Tuesday November 6, 2018 5:19 pm PST by Juli Clover
Reviews for the new 2018 MacBook Air and Mac mini went live this morning ahead of tomorrow's launch, and in a press release, Apple this afternoon highlighted reviews from several media sites that were able to spend some time with the new machines.
Apple shared review passages from sites that include CNBC, WIRED, Daring Fireball, PC Mag, Six Colors, Tom's Guide, and more.
Daring Fireball, for example, called the MacBook Air the MacBook that "most people should buy," and the Daily Express said "fans of this laptop" will love the new update because "it takes the concept of power and ultimate portability to a whole new level."
Gear Patrol said the MacBook Air is the "perfect computer" for anyone looking to do "normal things" like web browsing, answering emails, and watching movies, while Refinery29 highlighted the MacBook Air's 12-hour battery life.
As for the Mac mini, Six Colors said that the new update allows it to fill a wide range of needs, from basic server needs to "high-end applications that require a great deal of processor power."
Tom's Guide said that the Mac mini is the best option for those who want a compact Mac desktop for streaming media or getting into Apple computing, and ZDNet said the new version is "designed for all types of users" and is "no longer serving a niche market."
As with prior reviews roundups for devices like the iPad Pro, Apple has only highlighted the positive elements from each review. For anyone considering a purchase of one of these machines, it's worth taking a deeper dive into the reviews to get a full picture of both the positives and the negatives.
Tuesday November 6, 2018 1:48 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple customers in Australia and New Zealand are always the first to get their hands on new devices on launch day because of time zone differences, and the Apple's newest devices are no exception.
It's morning time in Australia and New Zealand and customers who pre-ordered one a new iPad Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac mini are beginning to receive their shipments and have started sharing arrival news on Twitter, Instagram, and the MacRumors forums.
There are no Apple Stores in New Zealand, so customers in Australia are the first to be able to purchase one of Apple's new devices from an Apple retail location. Apple should have iPad Pro models available for walk-in purchases along with base models of the MacBook Air and Mac mini.
iPad Pro pre-orders sold out quickly after the new tablet was announced, so how much stock will be available for walk-in purchases is unknown.
Following New Zealand and Australia, iPad Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini sales sales will kick off in Asia, Europe, and finally, North America. Apple Stores globally are opening up at their standard times to allow customers to pick up reserved devices and make walk-in purchases.
In the United States, the first new device deliveries and sales will take place on the East Coast starting at 8:00 a.m.
Aside from Apple, other retailers including carriers and big box stores should also be stocking the new devices.
We'll be sharing first impressions of the new device from actual Apple customers in Australia and New Zealand, so make sure to stay tuned to MacRumors and if you've received a new MacBook Air, Mac mini, or iPad Pro, let us know what you think.
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