Entry-level MacBooks may make an appearance in June at WWDC 2018

Apple’s developer conference in June is fast approaching, and the rumor mill keeps on churning about what the company plans to launch during 2018. One report indicates the company is working on an entry-level MacBook that will ship by the end of 2018’s second quarter. An “inexpensive” 9.7-inch iPad is also in the works for the second quarter along with new iPad Pro models targeting the second half of 2018. 

Arriving sometime during the second quarter, Apple’s supposed entry-level MacBook will have the same price tag as the current MacBook Air models on the market, if not slightly lower. Apple originally set out to reduce the overall cost by dealing with a China-based display manufacturer, but Apple faced “issues” with the company and decided to rely on South Korea-based LG Display instead. 

According to the report, the entry-level MacBooks will sport 13.3-inch amorphous silicon panels packing a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution, similar to what Apple offers on the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro. LG Display will begin supplying these panels in April, enabling the first batch of entry-level MacBooks to enter production by the end of May or at the beginning of June. Quanta Computer will handle 70 percent of Apple’s orders while Foxconn will deal with the remaining 30 percent. 

Apple is reportedly targeting 6 million units of its entry-level MacBooks sold in 2018, but the company may only hit the 4-million mark due to the end cost. The current MacBook Air has a starting price of $999, which isn’t exactly super-expensive, but customers looking for an entry-level device can find Windows 10 solutions at a cheaper price. That said, Apple is targeting a starting price range between $799 and $899. 

As for the “inexpensive” 9.7-inch iPad slated to arrive in the second quarter, it will be a refresh of the unit introduced in 2017 costing a mere $259. Apple’s upstream supply chain vendors are already shipping components for the refreshed tablet as well as for the upgraded iPad Pro targeting the second half of 2018. 

News of Apple’s entry-level MacBook surfaced in January after sources said touch panel maker General Interface Solution (GIS) became an Apple supplier for MacBooks in the fourth quarter of 2017. After that report, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo speculated at the beginning of March that Apple would introduce an entry-level MacBook Air, increasing Apple’s MacBook sales year over year by up to 15 percent. 

Reports also point to a mid-range 6.1-inch iPhone packing facial recognition for a price tag between $649 and $749 possibly this September. A more affordable HomePod is slated for the second half of 2018, too, with a price tag ranging between $150 and $200.

Unfortunately, these prices are all speculative based on supply chain information, and not etched in stone by Apple. We expect to hear more information in June during Apple’s developer conference. 

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