It’s been more than a year since the latest version of the 12-inch MacBook made it to market. We’re ready for the sequel.
On paper, the 2017 MacBook was everything we were begging for from Apple since the rebirth of the MacBook in 2015. The keyboard, with Apple’s proprietary butterfly switches is more tactile, while the internals also saw huge advances – thanks to 7th-generation Intel Core m3, i5 and i7 Intel Kaby Lake CPUs.
However, we now have 8th-generation Coffee Lake and Kaby Lake-R processors for notebooks, so we’re hoping to see a huge leap in performance with the MacBook 2018. Keep in mind, though, that Apple is planning on replacing all Intel processors with its own Cupertino-crafted silicon by 2020.
This ‘Kalamata Initiative’ is further backed up by rumors we’ve seen that Apple is hiring ex-Intel engineers to work on its processors. What this all means for the Macbook 2018 is anyone’s guess, but we’re expecting to see three Macs with custom co-processors later this year.
From the idea of a cheaper 13-inch model, which may come packed with an ARM processor, to that of a crumb-resistant and spill-proof keyboard, we’re expecting the MacBook 2018 to look dramatically different than previous models. And, while we didn’t even get a glimpse of the MacBook 2018 at WWDC 2018, we’re just hoping it doesn’t stray too far from the quirks that made us love it in the first place
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s thinnest 2018 laptop
- When is it out? April 2018 at the earliest
- What will it cost? Presumably the same as current models
MacBook 2018 release date
None of the most recent reports, rumors or leaks give any lead as to when we’ll see the 2018 MacBook. Of course, we’ll gladly speculate based on the previous three releases of Apple’s 12-inch laptop.
In 2015, Apple released the first MacBook during April, directly following a March keynote. That’s a largely odd time for Apple to release a device, but it’s happened before.
We initially thought that Apple would reveal the MacBook 2018 at WWDC 2018, closely followed by a release. But since WWDC came and went with nary a mention of new hardware, we’re thinking the MacBook 2018 will instead make its debut at the iPhone event in September.
Either way, we’re not going to hear any official word about the MacBook 2018 until Apple is ready, so we just don’t know when we’re going to see it. Right now it’s looking like a late 2018 release. Hopefully we’ll see it before the holiday shopping rush.
Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess as to when we’ll see the 2018 MacBook. We’ll look out for new rumors or announcements and update this article as soon as the MacBook 2018 release date begins to grow clearer.
MacBook 2018 price
Again, nothing about the most recent reports and leaks regarding a 2018 MacBook discuss the possible price of the laptop. These types of rumors or leaks usually don’t pop up until we get closer to an actual release, so it makes sense.
This is another aspect where we’ll have to speculate based on the current pricing of the MacBook. The entry-level MacBook will run you $1,299, £1,249 or AU$1,899 to start. Only one more model, with more storage and power goes for another 300 to 450 bucks on top of that. However, there is speculation that Apple is going to be releasing a cheaper 2018 MacBook that will be more in line with the pricing of the MacBook air, around $999.
With the pricing so tight here, amounting to minute differences in hardware between offerings, it’s highly unlikely for the MacBook price to budge in either direction. That is short of Apple introducing more capacious storage or higher power options, which will send the price in only one direction: up.
For the MacBook price to come down, something somewhere would have to give – whether that’s storage coming down to 128GB to start rather than 256GB or starting memory dropping to 4GB from 8GB is entirely up to Apple. Again, we find this scenario to be highly unlikely, but stranger things have happened.
We’ll look out for new rumors and update this article as soon as the MacBook 2018 price begins to crop up as we inch closer.
What we want to see in MacBook 2018
All of this uncertainty surrounding a possible MacBook 2018 release is fertile ground for a well-crafted wishlist.
So, here’s what we hope to see Apple improve about the MacBook for 2018.
MacBook 2018 keyboard and screen
Building off of an earlier patent that showed us Apple’s plans to create a MacBook with dual screens, there’s now rumors that it will use that second screen to create a sort of touch keyboard. We don’t know exactly what it’ll be capable of, but there’s potential there for on-the-fly region changing and easy access to an emoji keyboard – instead of having emoji relegated to the Touch Bar.
And, of course if Apple does follow through with this keyboard design, they’ll implement haptic feedback so that you’ll get the same experience as using a mechanical keyboard, only with the flexibility that a touch screen keyboard brings with it. However, it’s easy to expect this to raise the price in any MacBook that implements it.
Finally, Apple has been rumored to be working on a MacBook keyboard that’s crumb and spill-proof. We first expected this development to result in a product that’s been around in Windows-based laptops for years. But, now we’re not so sure – perhaps the keyboard is crumb- and-spill-proof because it’s a screen.
More ports, please
Our biggest bugbear with the 12-inch MacBook, since its launch, has been the incredibly sore lack of ports on the laptop. Still equipped with nothing but a lone Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port and a headphone jack, this absolutely needs to change in the next version. Just one more?
We’ve already seen Windows laptops accomplish this feat, like the Huawei MateBook X with its two USB-C ports. Even the similarly priced MacBook Pro has a pair of Thunderbolt 3 connections. Perhaps there’s room for a microSD card reader in there, too.
Costing what it does, Apple really needs to inject some more power into its 12-inch MacBooks. With the onset of Intel processors with AMD graphics onboard, this is the perfect opportunity for the 12-inch MacBook to get a power boost that wouldn’t impact battery life.
How, you ask? Well, we immediately look to these new Intel processors with AMD Vega, discrete-grade graphics on board that are already finding their way to new laptops this year. Such an upgrade would put the MacBook into an entirely new echelon of premium stature.
Then again, seeing as the MacBook has consistently used energy efficient Intel Core ‘M’ and ‘Y’ series CPUs up to this point, we wouldn’t bank on seeing the hardy graphics power featured in Intel’s ‘G’ series chips. And, since there is no 8th-generation equivalent of the 7th-gen Intel Core m3-7Y32 that the MacBook currently uses, it’s possible for Apple to switch to an i3-8130U.
As for that cheaper 13-inch MacBook that’s been making all the headlines recently, we could see them making an ARM-based MacBook. Recent rumors even suggest that Apple is indeed working on one.
Moreover, a recent news story claimed that Apple was planning to ship a trio of Macs featuring its custom co-processors later this year. These are expected to be similar to the T1 and T2 chips found in the MacBook Pro and iMac Pro, respectively.
Since the 12-inch MacBook doesn’t have a Touch Bar, it’s safe to assume that if one of these co-processors is implemented, it will be used for the automatic wake and ‘Hey Siri’ functionality presently exclusive to the iMac Pro.
Stronger audio and video
Speaker performance and webcam quality are two corners that Apple obviously cut through in crafting the MacBook. With the MacBook 2018, this needs to stop. Tinny speakers and a sub-HD webcam for a laptop this expensive simply isn’t acceptable.
Simply bump the webcam up to 1080p FaceTime HD befitting of its price tag, and problem solved. The speakers, however, is a problem we don’t necessarily have a solution for. Supporting the speakers with down-throwing bass modules in the base might work?
iOS apps on MacBook
Now that it’s been talked about for so long, the idea of iOS apps on macOS has grown on us. We’re excited by the prospect of continuing work from our phones straight away on our laptops – or polishing off that top score upon sitting down at the desk.
And, at WWDC this year, Apple detailed which apps are going to be making the move. While you won’t be getting any third-party apps, macOS Mojave will be getting core apps like News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home.
If you’re looking for your favorite third-party iOS apps, however, you’ll be waiting until at least 2019.
- These are the best Macs that 2018 has to offer so far
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this report