Apple rumored to launch 2018 MacBook Air with 8th-gen Intel processor

Whether it’s going to keep the MacBook Air moniker or amalgamate into the MacBook 12-inch line, rumors are mounting for a 2018 refresh of an affordable, lightweight notebook from Apple.

The MacBook Air’s current model is sports a relatively archaic 5th-generation Intel processor, but reports from Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News, suggest that a new model is due later in 2018 and will use 8th-generation Kaby Lake Refresh processors.

These i5 and i7 quad-core CPUs were released late in 2017 and have base clock speeds ranging from 1.6GHz to 1.9GHz, with Turbo Boost speeds between 3.4GHz and 4.2GHz. This is obviously faster than the chipsets from 2015, but is it enough of an upgrade?

About timing

According to Economic Daily News, Apple isn’t keen on waiting until 2019 for Intel’s Cannon Lake chips (which use a 10nm process rather 14nm, greatly improving power, performance, and heat efficiency).

Apparently, Apple isn’t even willing to wait for Intel’s Whiskey Lake processors either, which should be replacing the Kaby Lake Refresh line in the coming months, pointing to an impending release date for the MacBook Air successor.

If this rumor is true, then the news is bittersweet – we will be seeing a MacBook Air launch sooner rather than later, but it’ll sport the previous generation of CPU.

About time

The MacBook Air was one of the Apple’s most popular releases, but the most recent model is three years old at this point, and it hasn’t had a design refresh since 2010, so the growing rumors for a 2018 model would certainly be timely if true.

Instead, the 12-inch notebook that Apple just calls the MacBook started to take over this space from 2015 onwards, sharing many of the same design principles by offering a more affordable and lightweight alternative to the powerful MacBook Pro, albeit with weaker specs to start with.

As such, there’s still discussion as to whether or not the MacBook will well-and-truly replace the MacBook Air line, but no matter what form Apple’s latest affordable entry will take, we’re likely to hear more about it soon.

Harry Domanski
Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.