Apple’s affordable MacBook could be on sale as soon as October

MacBook Air

Apple is planning to launch its much-rumored cheaper MacBook in the final quarter of this year, according to the latest from the notebook grapevine.

That means we could theoretically see the budget-friendly creation in October, with previous rumors suggesting this will be an affordable MacBook Air, although this latest snippet – which comes from DigiTimes – doesn’t actually clarify exactly what model of MacBook it will be.

The DigiTimes story (spotted by Mac Rumors) simply states that notebook maker Quanta will see its shipments rise sharply in the fourth quarter “thanks to orders for Apple’s new inexpensive notebooks”. So in theory we should see these laptops on the shelves before the end of the year at the latest (which is in line with previous speculation).

Sadly, no further details are provided on the notebooks, and as mentioned this report doesn’t even say that the incoming device is a new MacBook Air, meaning the fresh model could be pitched as a vanilla MacBook.

Old hat

However, on a basic level, it makes sense that it would be a MacBook Air if it’s an affordable machine, as these represent the cheaper end of the spectrum of Apple’s notebooks, starting at $999 (£949, AU$1,429). And the range is certainly due a refresh, given that it’s had essentially the same design for the best part of a decade now, and still runs with a decidedly dusty-looking 5th-generation Intel CPU.

Of course, take all this with the usual rumor-related caveats, and remember that DigiTimes isn’t always the most reliable source – although in fairness it is generally more clued-up on activity in the Asian component and notebook supply chain.

Previous speculation (again from DigiTimes) has pointed to this potential MacBook Air being a 13-inch model with a Retina screen, which if true would please a lot of folks for sure.

That said, just a cheaper MacBook of any kind will be welcome – it's almost two years since Apple ditched its 11-inch variant of the MacBook Air, which used to be the most wallet-friendly option at £749 or $899 (that’s around AU$1,240).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).