Apple’s new MacBook Air with Intel’s 8th-gen processors expected this year

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If you’re in the market for a new MacBook Air, you may want to refrain from buying one until Apple refreshes the laptop line. Apple is expected to announce a new model later this year, bringing with it a chip from Intel’s eighth-generation processor family that Apple used on its recent MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro, for example, tops out with a powerful six-core processor, and Apple claims that the new chips deliver up to twice the performance from the chips on its previous generation notebook. In addition to better under-the-hood performance, the updated Mac notebook is also rumored to get a 13-inch Retina display and a sub-$1,000 starting price.

At this point, however, it’s still unclear how Apple will position the refreshed notebook. Given its powerful processor and high-resolution display, there are several options Apple could take: The company could either keep the same MacBook Air branding or even move the new notebook as a lower cost option into either the MacBook or MacBook Pro family. The refreshed notebook would be more powerful than the current MacBook Air, which utilizes Intel’s fifth-gen dual-core processors; and the MacBook, which uses a power-conservative processor.

Apple is expected to use Intel’s Kaby Lake Refresh due to Intel’s delays with the newer Cannon Lake architecture, the Economic Daily News reported. While the Coffee Lake platform delivered up to six cores of processing power on the MacBook Pro, relying on Kaby Lake for the MacBook Air means that the notebook will top out with a quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 processor.

“Kaby Lake Refresh chips are already nearly one year old, and Intel will be releasing faster Whiskey Lake processors suitable for Apple’s notebook in the second half of 2018, but they might not be ready in time, as manufacturing needs to begin over the summer for the notebook to launch in the fall,” MacRumors noted.

In addition to the MacBook Air, Apple is also expected to announce a refresh to its Macbook. The 12-inch laptop is rumored to come with Intel’s new Amber Lake processor. It’s widely believed that Apple will launch its iPhones in September, and the refreshed notebooks could arrive in October. Apple’s MacBook Pro refresh happened more quietly without a media event, so it’s unclear if the MacBook Air refresh will also get a similar treatment.

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