The MacBook Air has been around for – believe it or not – 10 years now. The last new model was launched back in 2015 and since then has received only minor tweaks such as a processor update.
However, this may not be the end for the Air. Even though the MacBook – the simply titled latest Apple laptop – seems to have replaced the older model, rumours are rife that an updated Air is on the way.
When is the 2018 MacBook Air release date?
Apple has sent out invites to an event specifically for teachers and students on 27 March. This, combined with rumours and a report from KGI Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuo which says a new MacBook Air will be launched in Q2 2018, has led many to conclude that Apple will announce the new laptop at the school in Chicago.
We’ll have to wait and see if that happens or not, but even if the education event comes and goes without a whiff of new hardware there’s still plenty of time until the end of Q2 (which spans March-May for those unfamiliar with the terminology).
Kuo has a very good track record of accurate predictions when it comes to Apple hardware, so while you could argue that Apple is unlikely to ever release an update to the Air, we’re inclined to take heed when those investor notes appear.
Contrary to this is a Digitimes report https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20180312VL201.html that claims Apple will launch a new entry-level MacBook with a Retina screen at its annual developer conference in June. That would be just after Q2, and it doesn’t specify that it will be an Air, only that it will be a lower-cost laptop.
How much will the 2018 MacBook Air cost?
Everything points to a lower-cost laptop. The Air is already the cheapest MacBook Apple sells, although the 11in model was removed from the range in 2016 which raised the entry price from £749 to £949 as the only option left was the 13in MacBook Air.
Many are speculating that at the education event Apple will unveil a new lower-cost iPad and MacBook in order to increase sales to both schools and students themselves.
Digitimes doesn’t have nearly as good a reputation for its predictions, but it reckons it has insider information that a cheaper 13in MacBook will launch this year with a Retina screen. The current MacBook, which has a 12in Retina screen, is more expensive than the Air, so it seems highly unlikely that Apple could add a higher-resolution screen while at the same time dropping the price below £949/US$999.
What are the specs in the new MacBook Air?
There are plenty of wishlists out there, but they’re all full of costly upgrades among which is the aforementioned Retina screen.
What’s more likely – if the price drop rumours are true – is that Apple will introduce a processor bump (and possibly RAM) and drop the price by £50-100/US$50-100.
Ultimately then, the new MacBook Air could well be the old MacBook Air with a more up to date processor and little else of note.
It’s possible Apple could put a USB-C port on the updated laptop and a TouchID sensor, but this is simply more speculation. At the time of writing, there were few other supply chain leaks to give more concrete information.
If you’re looking for a cheaper laptop, read our Mac vs PC comparison and then our list of the best cheap laptops.