It has been two years since Apple updated the 12-inch MacBook, the goto laptop for college going students. It was last updated in June 2017 since then Apple has updated the MacBook Air along with yearly refreshes of MacBook Pro models. There is a possibility that Apple is slowly getting rid of the smaller MacBook in favor of the new MacBook Air. Hence they refreshed the latter last year. However, according to rumors, Apple is working on the cheaper MacBook Pro version that can replace the old MacBook. If the rumor mentioned above has some credence, then this would create a significant pricing problem for Apple.
If we look at the prices of the refreshed MacBooks, we can see that the MacBook Air is the “cheapest” MacBook to buy. The least specced model will cost you around $1200. While the nerfed 13 inches MacBook Pro costs around $1300. If Apple is making the cheapest MacBook pro model that can replace the 12-inch MacBook from 2017, it should be between the above two prices. The other more plausible possibility can be a simple 2019 refresh of the 12 inch MacBook.
Coming to the rumors that we have accumulated that let us believe that a new “cheap” MacBook is on its way. According to Macworld, Apple has registered several new portable computers (laptops) on the Eurasian Economic Commission database (which is an economic treaty between Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia). The registered products have the following tags A2141, A2147, A2158, A2159, A2179, A2182, and A2251, which makes us believe that Apple is looking to release seven new MacBooks in general. Now six of them can be categorized into the refresh models that we see every year. The 7th one could be the rumored low powered MacBook pro.
On the software front, we know that the new MacOS Catalina is due this fall. There is a possibility that Apple announces a new MacBook at the same event. Apple can make a serious push with the launch of the new OS with a MacBook that is cheap for people who can use it for school. It will significantly help in maintaining the market of adolescents.
The most exciting rumor around the cheap laptop is its processor. Since the MacBook is intended for the low-end market where people do not require over the top processing power, we can expect an in house processor. Same as the one found in the Ipad pro, or a better more powerful version of it.
Now that we know a new low powered MacBook may be on its way to the shelves soon. We can expect design changes if we are comparing the rumored device with the 12 inch MacBook and the new 13 inches MacBook Air. The fresh non-touch bar MacBook air is slightly thinner than the old MacBook. However, both laptops share the Aluminum unibody design. Apple may look to make the rumored laptop thinner as the possibility of a fanless is there (if it comes with Apple’s in-house processor). Apple will be able to squeeze the components on a thinner chassis that will look even better.
If we talk about the screen, we can expect a retina display with thin bezels. We expect a 13-inch model that fits in the chassis of the 12-inch model. Other than this, it is safe to say that the laptop will not have Touch bar.
Coming to the most controversial thing about the rumored “cheap” MacBook, the price. The word cheap in itself means nothing if you are talking about Apple products. However, we have to go with it as the product in question may be the cheapest MacBook of 2019. If Apple goes with its in-house processor than a $1000 or even $1100 price tag for the base version does not seem too far fetched. We cannot expect much from Apple on the pricing perspective. However, the $1000 price tag with 8GB of memory and 128GB of SSD storage and a retina display will be a good deal coming from Apple.