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Apple’s 12-inch MacBook might soon come back from the dead

Apple’s 12-inch MacBook was a highly advanced laptop, but one where its fatal compromises eventually led to its abandonment. Yet there are rumors Apple is planning to resurrect the tiny device, and a Korean source has seemingly confirmed that — yet there are questions over the report’s trustworthiness.

The claim was made on Korean website Naver by yeux1122 (translated version), an account that has something of a mixed track record for Apple rumors. According to the Naver post, Apple is preparing laptop parts and “major activities” relating to the 12-inch MacBook.

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Image used with permission by copyright holder

While a product launch window has not yet been confirmed, yeux1122 claims, by the second half of 2023 Apple should have decided whether it will move ahead with mass production. At the moment, things are at the “preparation level” for the device.

Rumors of a return for the 12-inch MacBook have received a mixed reception from industry experts. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in June 2022 that he hadn’t heard of any plans for a 12-inch MacBook from his sources, while display industry guru Ross Young is similarly skeptical, saying Apple is instead focusing on laptops sized 13 inches and larger.

However, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman has said a 12-inch MacBook is in the works. More recently, though, he claimed the device was “no longer on Apple’s near-term road map,” although he didn’t outright say the company had ditched its plans for the device.

2017 MacBook 12-inch
Image used with permission by copyright holder

That industry skepticism means we should probably treat yeux1122’s claims with a degree of wariness, notwithstanding the fact that the author doesn’t have much of a track record for accurate Apple leaks. Still, it’s something to be aware of.

One of the reasons the 12-inch MacBook initially failed was that it was severely underpowered, as its super-thin chassis could only handle a mobile processor from Intel. However, the rise of Apple silicon has given Apple far more efficient chips to play with. These days, Apple silicon means a new 12-inch MacBook might actually make sense.

Whether Apple actually goes ahead and relaunches it, though, is anyone’s guess. Right now, it seems like it won’t get released any time soon, so there’s plenty of time for more information to come to light.

Alex Blake
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