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The MacBook Air doesn’t need a price cut, it needs a redesign

Image used with permission by copyright holder

A new report from a reliable source has indicated Apple is looking to release a cheaper MacBook Air later this year. Obviously, we don’t know the specifics yet, but it’s an interesting report, especially when compared to the January report that the MacBook Air was going to be replaced later this year.

It could come in the form of a dramatic price cut of the 12-inch laptop, or in a complete redesign of the MacBook Air — either way, it’s time for something new in the entry-level market, not just a price cut. Apple has been riding the wave of the MacBook Air for years, selling it on name recognition alone. According to Apple, it was meant to be discontinued a long time ago, but has stayed in circulation due to how well it sold. An update has been a long time coming.

Regardless of the direction of this new laptop, there are a few things Apple has to do to fix the problem. Here are the most important — a fresh 1080p display, an 8th-gen Intel processor, and some Thunderbolt 3 ports.

According to the results from our poll, people are looking for something new in the MacBook Air, not just a price cut. But the prospect of Apple continuing to sell the current MacBook Air at a cheaper price is definitely possible. After all, it’s been doing it for years.

Selling an outdated laptop at a cheaper price isn’t the same as designing a product for that specific price point. It’d be the equivalent of Apple selling the iPhone SE — a phone that looked like the iPhone 4 — without completely updating the internals when it came out. Apple’s been doing this for years with the MacBook Air. Not cool.

The cheapest MacBook will always sell well, even with an old design and outdated internals. Giving it another price cut is just taking advantage of that fact, rather than building something innovative for the entry-level market, like the original MacBook. It doesn’t need a Touch Bar and all the fanciest new features. It just needs to be a solid computer at a decent price. If Apple pull that off, we’ll consider it a great budget laptop again.

Luke Larsen
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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