Skip to main content

The 13-inch MacBook Air lives to see another day, but the 11-inch model doesn’t

Image used with permission by copyright holder
The star of Thursday’s Apple event was the brand new MacBook Pro with its Touch Bar — but the company also detailed a couple of systems intended to satiate users who aren’t ready for such big changes to their laptop keyboard. Specifically, it was confirmed that the 13-inch MacBook Air isn’t going to be discontinued, and there will be a tertiary variant of the new MacBook Pro intended for users looking for a smaller, slimmer system.

The new MacBook Pro is just 14.9 millimeters thick, compared to the 17-millimeter thickness of the MacBook Air. Even taking the wedged design of the Air into account, the new Pro is 13 percent smaller overall. With this in mind, Apple is offering a version of the new MacBook Pro that ditches its new Touch Bar, Touch ID support, and a couple of ports, and that uses some more cost-effective components under the hood.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar features a 2.0 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, an Intel Iris Graphics 540 GPU, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Like the standard 13-inch MacBook Pro revealed Thursday, it packs 8GB of memory and a 256GB solid-state drive. This compares to the 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, Intel Iris Graphics 550 GPU, and four Thunderbolt 3 ports on the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

While the lower-end system misses out on the Touch Bar, it’s not completely exempt from some of the other improvements being made to the MacBook Pro line. It does feature its multifunctional ports, the larger Force Touch trackpad, and a keyboard constructed with second-generation butterfly mechanism keys.

However, while the MacBook Air is still available as of now, it seems likely that its days are numbered. Given that its unique selling point was being ultraportable, the fact that the standard MacBook Pro is now slimmer and just as light doesn’t bode well for its future — unless Apple has plans to make a truly minuscule MacBook Air, a niche currently carved out by the MacBook. Note that although the MacBook Air 13 is sticking around, the MacBook Air 11 has been discontinued.

The MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar is priced starting at $1,500, and is shipping as of today from the Apple website. Apple is also finally letting go of the previous version of the MacBook Pro without a retina display and with spinning HDDs. The 2015 versions of the MacBook Pro are still around, with the 13-inch model starting at a more modest $1,300.

Updated on 10-27-2016 by Mark Coppock: Clarify that the MacBook Air 11 and legacy MacBook Pro 13 have been discontinued.

Editors' Recommendations

Brad Jones
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad is an English-born writer currently splitting his time between Edinburgh and Pennsylvania. You can find him on Twitter…
Which color MacBook should you buy? Here’s how to pick
The MacBook Air on a table in front of a window.

Apple’s MacBook laptops come in a range of colors, and selecting which is right for you can be a tricky business. Sure, it’s perhaps not as important as deciding which chip to pick or how much memory you should buy, but it’s still a vital part of the equation. After all, you’re going to see that color every time you reach for your MacBook. You don’t want it to be something that fills you with regret.

But how should you pick a MacBook color? And what do the colors even look like in the first place? We’ve got the answers to those questions in this guide. We’d also advise you to go to an Apple Store to take a look at the MacBook colors in person, as some can be hard to appreciate just by browsing Apple’s website.

Read more
Why you should buy a MacBook Air instead of a MacBook Pro
The MacBook Air on a table in front of a window.

The MacBook Air has officially caught up. Now with the M3 on board, the MacBook Air has gained the benefits of the new chip, which was previously available just on the MacBook Pro and iMac.

Choosing between the M3 15-inch MacBook Air and the 14-inch MacBook Pro is tough, and requires an in-depth look at differences in ports, displays, speakers, and more. It's a legitimately hard decision to make.

Read more
The MacBook Air 15 vs. MacBook Pro 14: the easy way to decide
Apple's 15-inch MacBook Air placed on a desk with its lid closed.

Picking out a new MacBook isn't as easy as it used to be.

The hardest choice in the lineup might be between the 15-inch MacBook Air and the 14-inch MacBook Pro. Both are now offered with the same M3 chip, despite there being a $300 difference in the base models. But when similarly configured, there's actually only a $100 difference between these two laptops.

Read more