Although Apple still could still reveal a new MacBook Air during the company’s developers conference in June, component suppliers claim Apple won’t go into production on the new model until the second half of 2018. The thin-and-light notebook was originally slated to enter manufacturing in the second quarter, but now component suppliers claim Apple won’t even accept shipments of the necessary hardware until the third quarter.
The problem is twofold. Not only will customers not see a new MacBook Air until the back half of 2018, but components suppliers already have the necessary parts poised and ready for Apple’s picking. Thus, these companies have a high material inventory and really have no room for additional components until the MacBook Air goes into production.
According to supply chain sources, Apple provided no reason for the MacBook Air delay. But there’s speculation that the company faced a problem with a “key component,” such as the processor, that forced Apple to adjust the new design. Given the new MacBook Air production is now aligned with the next iPhone, we wouldn’t be surprised if the new MacBook Air will have a configuration with built-in LTE connectivity to combat the new “always connected” Windows 10 PCs.
The new MacBook Air models are expected to feature Intel’s latest eighth-generation processors. These will likely be the “U” chips given that they’re designed for low power consumption in ultra-thin laptops. The current MacBook Air models on the market, launched in June 2017, rely on older fifth-generation Core i5-5350U and Core i7-5650U processors, so the MacBook Air needs a serious processor upgrade at the very least.
Rumors claim that the next MacBook Air will have a starting price of $899, or perhaps even $799, which is a nice little drop from the current $999 starting point. Apple reportedly wants to get more MacBook Airs in the hands of mainstream customers who are looking for a thin and light premium solution but don’t want to pay premium prices. The current $999 starting point gives you the Core i5 processor, a 1,440 x 900 resolution, 128GB of storage, and 8GB of system memory.
With production of the MacBook Air moved back to the third quarter, Apple likely won’t introduce the device in June, but rather toward the end of the year when it unveils the next iPhone. As previously stated, Apple’s smartphone will go into production in the third quarter as well, according to industry sources, which will have Chinese manufacturers competing with each other as they scramble to beef up their workforce to handle both products.
As for what will be revealed at Apple’s developers conference in June, the company is expected to introduce the new MacBook Pro, which will serve as the hardware launch platform for MacOS 10.14. The company is also expected to showcase iOS 12 for the iPhone and the latest iPad launching at the conference. Apple’s tvOS 12 and improvements to the CarPlay platform are also expected, although the next HomePod release likely won’t be revealed until the MacBook Air and iPhone event later this year.
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