Once again, the Apple rumor mills are at work and this time, the subject of their fixation is the MacBook Air.
If the MacBook Pro is the buff athlete in Apple’s lineup of laptops, the MacBook Air is the thinner younger brother but with the same skill set, albeit a little inferior on certain aspects. It has always been marketed as a portable computing-on-the-go option, unlike the others which are more like desktop replacements.
Anyway, if you’re interested in procuring an ultra-thin MacBook Air in the future, here’s what you need to know along with a few juicy tidbits of information fresh out of the rumor mill:
It could be dropped entirely
“Hi, I’d like to buy the latest model of MacBook Air please.”
“Umm, sorry sir, but the most recent model was last year’s. Apple phased it out. If you’d like, we have new MacBooks on hand.”
In a few months, you will likely be met by employees at the Apple Store with a blank stare. Apparently, there are rumors saying that Apple might drop the “Air” moniker entirely, in an effort to make their product lines and names a simpler. Seriously, not everybody can point out the differences between the Air, Pro, and MacBook. Hint: the Air is relatively thinner compared to the other two, which is why it’s your primary choice if you value portability.
However, even if it’s the “most portable” among Apple’s laptops, the company has recently released a 12-inch MacBook. The design team at Cupertino has also consistently been redesigning the MacBook Pro, making concessions to the hardware (like having no Optical Drive and an Ethernet port) to produce a thinner and sleeker product – and confusing customers.
In short, their capabilities, design, and hardware are getting similar with each release. The three lines are quickly converging – one will likely merge with the other (likely, the Air) and will disappear. Also note that having the Pro, Air, and MacBook, is pretty messed up and it leaves Apple’s vision for its laptops in ambiguity.
The people at Cuptertino have always fancied simplicity – both in product names and design – above all else, so this move makes a lot of sense.
It will have a revamped version
And it will be introduced in June 2016 and will be unveiled in Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC 16.
Casting fears aside that it might be discontinued, a report from Economic Daily News in Taiwan claimed that Apple will open the curtains for the 13 and 15-inch versions of the MacBook Air. The same report said it will feature an even thinner body and redesigned internals.
This leaves heads itching and people raising their eyebrows: really, a MacBook Air with a 13 and 15-inch screen? Though it’s a definite improvement from the 11-inch variety we’re used to seeing, this only means that the 12-inch MacBook will be the smallest Apple laptop by next year. With that said, the introduction of the iPad Pro this as laptop replacement further validates this speculation, adding a nail into the coffin of the 11-inch MacBook Air.
Although all arrows point to it being a relatively larger device, we’re sure Apple has found a way to retain its portability aspects, despite the increased screen size. It is still unclear if the revamped Air will possess a Retina screen (or if it will exist at all).
Anyway, it’s best to take the report from Taiwan with a grain of salt: it’s sketchy at best, but it’s all we have for now.
Improved hardware and new features
Putting certain aspects into consideration, if there will be a new MacBook Air in 2016, it will boas a truckload of new features and hardware. It is highly speculated that the new, 12-inch MacBook will serve as its model, incorporating certain aspects such as:
- A Retina display. Yes, Apple fitted the small MacBook with a high definition display and we may see it being placed on the revamped MacBook Air. Will Apple’s engineers be able to put a similar display on the relatively thinner MacBook Air?
- A Force Touch track pad. If you own an iPhone 6s, you are already familiar with this feature: it’s comparable to 3D Touch. The 12-inch MacBook’s track pad also supports this feature, which is why it’s highly likely we’ll see it being placed on the MacBook Air. Otherwise, you will have to make do with a standalone Magic Trackpad – though expensive, it’s still worth the price!
- A new, low-voltage mobile CPU. Although battery life isn’t a department where Apple excels, it has taken the necessary steps to improve (or lessen) the power consumption of its products. For example, the iPhone and iPad models now run iOS 9, an operating system with the Power Saving feature. Like the mobile devices, we could see Apple do the same for the new MacBook Air in the form of new low-powered CPUs from Intel.
Apart from the above mentioned improvements, we could – and are hoping to – see more USB ports, considering that having a single one is pretty ridiculous.
Nothing is concrete yet, except that Apple is working hard to create a better product by next year. With that said however, we can expect the following:
- The 11-inch MacBook Air will be axed.
- If “Air” will be dropped, expect Apple to place the models in the MacBook line.
- It will have new hardware and certain features derived from the 12-inch MacBook.
According to the Economic Daily News, Apple is working with suppliers in working out final designs. This is in lieu of the product being equipped with new hardware, including battery packs, a new chassis, and cooling modules which could fit the device’s frame.
Overall, the prospect of having a new MacBook Air is pretty exciting. With that said, if you’re in the market for a new laptop or are looking to replace your old MacBook, we recommend holding off your urges to buy a 12-inch MacBook (which is currently the thinnest in Apple’s lineup) and wait until we hear something from Cupertino. It may not be anytime soon, but it will be worth it!