You’ve seen the reviews. The 12-inch MacBook earns its fair share of the criticism from time to time. Still, taking a look around our offices, you’ll see wide variety of MacBooks on quite a few desks. While we know Apple won’t be giving the MacBook Pro a significant update in 2018, rumors have begun swirling around a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook in the works to take the place of the discontinued MacBook Air. Now we’re paying attention.
The new laptop will likely be a continuation of the current MacBook lineup, and according to the latest rumors, it could feature an Apple co-processor working in tandem with the standard Intel processor. It’s not a huge change, but it does suggest this new MacBook might be a bit more than just a simple refresh. With that in mind, we got to thinking: What would we like to see out of the rumored entry-level MacBook? Well, we asked around the office, and there was no shortage of opinions on the matter.
The current rumor mill suggests very strongly that the new MacBook will fill the $1,000 slot currently occupied by the (now discontinued) MacBook Air, and we certainly hope that’s the case. Currently, the cheapest MacBook starts at $1,300 and that’s for a laptop with an underpowered Intel Core M processor. So although the MacBook was probably intended to replace the MacBook Air, it’s premium price put it out of reach of the entry-level crowd.
Bringing the price down on a laptop with similar specs would make it a much more appealing choice given the sheer number of inexpensive high-quality laptops we’ve seen hit the market in the past year. In addition, it would give the MacBook a stronger value proposition against the MacBook Pro 13, which is currently the same price.
Everyone had a slightly different wishlist for the next MacBook, but the most common request was a simple one — more ports. The last MacBook Air featured two USB-A ports, a MagSafe adapter port, a Thunderbolt 2 port, an SDXC card reader, and a headphone jack. Compared to the current lineup on the MacBook that’s a pretty expansive lineup, despite being a bit outdated. Even though all those ports will likely be replaced by USB-C ports on the new MacBook, it’d be nice to see at least four of those, instead of just one or two.
It’s unlikely Apple would actually change course here, given its insistence on cutting down the number of ports to the bare minimum, but we can hope. It’s more likely that the new entry-level MacBook rumored to take the MacBook Air’s place in Apple’s stable will feature one or two USB-C ports and maybe a headphone jack, but that’s probably going to be it.
A new display
The MacBook Air’s entry-level model never featured a Retina display, so we certainly hope the new MacBook taking its place will. It’s one of the best features of any MacBook, Pro or otherwise, so seeing it make its way down to the entry-level offering would definitely make it an appealing alternative to cheaper laptops.
Additionally, it might be nice to see a matte display option on the new MacBook. It’s not only a good idea for photo and video editing, but if the new entry-level MacBook is aiming to take over the role the MacBook Air filled, it’s going to see a lot of use on-the-go. A matte display would cut down on the glare from those bright cafe lights.
Same thin design, hold the Touch Bar
Okay — so we’re not expecting Apple to actually do this. However, we all know Apple can be a bit stubborn when it comes to its decisions. Apple is incredibly proud of its OLED Touch Bar, which debuted on the MacBook Pro laptops in 2016. We were open-minded when we saw the Touch Bar — it looked cool, at least. But in daily use, we found it to be pretty much useless, only adding unnecessary cost to an already-expensive laptop. For that reason, we can’t imagine Apple trying to squeeze it into an entry-level laptop, but like we said before: Apple likes to stick to its guns.
With that being said, we love the sleek, light design of the 12-inch MacBook. We don’t know for sure if Apple will just reduce the price of that product or introduce a new 13-inch model — but either way, we want Apple to bring its design chops to the game.