Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

The MacBook Air was revolutionary. Here’s what we want from its replacement

new macbook wishlist 2018 air
Image used with permission by copyright holder
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.

Entry-level pricing

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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

More Ports

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 Compared to the current lineup on the MacBook that’s a pretty expansive lineup, despite being a bit outdated.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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Jayce Wagner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
A staff writer for the Computing section, Jayce covers a little bit of everything -- hardware, gaming, and occasionally VR.
Apple’s serious miscalculation with the 15-inch MacBook Air
Apple's 15-inch MacBook Air placed on a desk.

Did Apple overestimate demand for a larger MacBook Air? A recent report suggests Apple reduced orders from its supply chain, indicating sales of the largest budget MacBook fell short of expectations.

According to DigiTimes, which specializes in supply chain news, 15-inch MacBook Air sales seem to be off to a bad start. People with knowledge of the matter are reported to say that Apple cut the shipment volume by half in July 2022.

Read more
Apple may be working on a crazy modular MacBook with 3 screens
Apple's 15-inch MacBook Air placed on a desk.

The Framework laptop has shown that modular laptops can offer something really compelling to customers, and it seems that Apple might have taken notice. That’s because a newly granted patent (number 11709527) suggests the Cupertino, California company is considering a modular MacBook that could let you come up with all kinds of crazy combinations of screen, keyboard, and more.

For example, some of the illustrations in Apple’s patent document show a device with two displays, with the MacBook keyboard replaced entirely by a second screen. This display could be used as an Apple Pencil input area or as a virtual keyboard, something we know Apple is already working on.

Read more
Want an M3 Max MacBook Pro? There’s a lengthy wait ahead
An Apple MacBook Pro 14 sits open on a table.

If you’ve been holding out for a super-powered MacBook Pro with a high-end M3 Pro or M3 Max chip, you could have a lengthy wait on your hands. That’s because, despite Apple’s plans to launch new Macs later this year, several are reportedly going to miss the cut.

That’s according to journalist Mark Gurman, who claims in a new report that Apple’s flagship 16-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro models are unlikely to launch until the middle of 2024. Worse, the M3 Mac mini might not see the light of day until late 2024 at the earliest.

Read more