MacBook Air 2018: what we want to see

MacBook Air 2018

The MacBook Air isn’t in the best place right now, so we have no doubt in our mind that Apple is planning on replacing the MacBook Air with something harder, faster and stronger in 2018.

Right now, the current MacBook Air, which is the cheapest Apple laptop, features a 5th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, whereas most notebooks are rocking 8th-generation Intel Core chips in 2018.

However, we’ve seen a ton of rumors about the MacBook Air 2018. According to KGI Securities Analyst Ming Chi Kuo, we could see a cheaper, entry-level MacBook Air that will replace the $999 (£999, around AU$1,199) model later this year. 

Exactly when we’ll see it however is anyone’s guess. We were expecting it in the second quarter of 2018, but that time has run out, so the reported second half of 2018 release date from DigiTimes is much more likely. This MacBook Air delay is reportedly due to component shortages.

We’ve seen some speculation that Apple is planning to release five different MacBooks this year. The leaked model numbers lead us to believe there will be three different kinds of MacBook: maybe one of these will be the MacBook Air 2018. This is all speculation, of course – but all the rumors that Apple is working on an ARM-based MacBook Air makes this leak compelling. No matter what it ends up looking like, we’re going to dive into all the speculation and try to figure out what the MacBook Air 2018 will look like.

There isn’t much in the way of solid information about the MacBook Air 2018, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate. And, we’ll also go into everything we want to see if a new MacBook Air does indeed release sometime in 2018. So, be sure to keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll update it with any new rumors or information that comes our way.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A hopeful sequel to Apple’s most popular laptop
  • When is it out? June 2018 at the earliest
  • What will it cost? Hopefully as much as current models

MacBook Air 2018

MacBook Air 2018 release date

Over the last several years, the MacBook Air has received updates on an annual basis since its initial release in 2008, and in largely different months during those years. However, June has always been the most likely month to see the release of a new MacBook Air. 

Don’t expect much about the MacBook Air price to change year over year – its affordability is a huge part of its continued draw.

So, because WWDC 2018 came and went without mention of the new MacBook Air 2018, it’s looking like Ming Chi Kuo’s sources were wrong. That leaves us with a release date in the second half of 2018. However, according to this leak about five new MacBooks, they will supposedly be running macOS 10.13, so we might actually see the new MacBook Air before September – even though this is one of those ‘we’ll believe it when we see it’ kind of things.

So, it looks like the Digitimes report holds more weight now, so we may see it debut in October or November, just in time for the holiday shopping season. 2018 is more than halfway over at this point, so we’re expecting some kind of announcement within the next couple months – so keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll update it the moment we hear more.  

MacBook Air 2018

MacBook Air 2018 price

Of course, until we see an actual announcement from Apple, we know next to nothing regarding the price of the MacBook Air 2018. But, the wait is almost over. We’re fully expecting to get this information later today.

We initially weren’t expecting pricing to change much – Apple has nailed the prices for the MacBook Air, starting at $999 (about £949, AU$1,499). But, in light of recent rumors we expect the starting model to come down in price, possibly using a lower-priced ARM processor. 

It would be a surprise if Apple were to throw one of its newfangled T series processors (based on ARM architecture) inside a MacBook Air 2018.

From there, you can double the starting model’s 128GB SSD capacity to 256GB for another $200, £150 or AU$300.

If pricing were to change this year, we’d wager that Apple would simply make room for that rumored 13-inch, entry-level MacBook by either bumping up or knocking down this MacBook Air’s hardware and adjust accordingly. Though, it’s probably more likely that Apple would just shutter the laptop line altogether if that aforementioned MacBook is a reality.

We’ll look out for new rumors and update this article as soon as the MacBook Air 2018 price begins to grow clearer.

MacBook Air 2018

What we want to see in MacBook Air 2018

Naturally, this 100% lack of any truly substantial information about the forthcoming 2018 MacBook Air gives us plenty of room to draw up a wishlist. So, here’s what we want to see from a MacBook Air for 2018.

Up-to-date components all around

This is the most basic and essential of requests, but the MacBook Air could really use a soup to nuts upgrade. From the processor to the ports and screen resolution, everything about the MacBook Air could do with ample refinements. 

This should start with the design of the laptop. In its current state, the MacBook Air appears more antiquated than the Windows laptops that have shamelessly ripped it off. What it needs now more than ever is a Retina display that goes as bezel-less as possible without sacrificing the webcam.

And, now that Intel has announced a wide range of 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors for laptops, we all but expect the 2018 line of MacBooks to feature them in some shape or form. 

However, the MacBook Air 2018 doesn’t necessarily need 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors. If the rumors are true and there will be a MacBook Air with an ARM processor, we could be seeing a faster, cheaper, more energy-efficient MacBook Air with maybe even some LTE functionality – bringing new weight to the name ‘MacBook Air’.  

A better screen

There’s no argument from us that the MacBook Air’s display needs to get with the times. By now, every other MacBook except the Air is using a Retina display featuring at least 226 pixels per inch (ppi). Meanwhile, the MacBook Air remains stagnant at only 128 ppi, a measly 1,440 x 900 pixels on a 13.3-inch panel. 

We can conclude, then, that the resolution has to get a bump of at least 76% in order to keep up with Apple’s other products. Fortunately, the webcam doesn’t necessitate a similar treatment, as the current MacBook Air FaceTime camera already captures video at a higher resolution than the pricier 12-inch MacBook

No matter how crisp its screen, the MacBook Air 2018 will benefit from the MoltenVK Vulkan API implementation recently introduced for Apple’s Metal 2 graphics framework. This means we can expect to see higher frame rates across the board for a number of multiplatform games available for macOS including, but not limited to, Dota 2.

The traditional keyboard stays

For as much as we appreciate the revised butterfly hinge keyboard in the MacBook and MacBook Pro, we’d really like to see at least one Apple laptop hold onto its traditional keyboard. There’s enough room inside the chassis, and giving fans a choice would be admirable.

That’s not to mention the fact that as good as it is, the butterfly hinge mechanism has its flaws, which Apple has even admitted. So, letting consumers have the choice would not just be good for us, it’d be good for Apple as well. We don’t think Apple wants to endure another class-action lawsuit.

Plus, using existing hardware could keep the costs of a revamped MacBook Air down to where they should be, thus maintaining the price.

Fast charging, please

It shouldn’t be difficult for Apple to maintain the same stellar level of battery life within the MacBook Air if all of its parts are upgraded in tandem. But, just to make the experience that much better, charging the laptop for 10-plus hours of use in a fraction of the time would be nice.

This comes in tandem with the request for new ports, i.e. USB-C for fast charging, but we’d like to see to see the MagSafe cord remain. Even the option for both would be pleasant.

iOS apps on MacBook Pro

Now that it’s been bandied about for a while, we’ve come around to idea of iOS apps on macOS. 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 – is an exciting one.

And, at the WWDC 2018 keynote, Apple detailed exactly which iOS mainstays will be making their way over to macOS Mojave. You won’t be seeing any third-party apps making their way over, but iOS core apps like News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos. Apple hinted at third-party apps making their way over to macOS apps in the future, but we’ll have to wait until 2019 to see it.

  • These are the best Macs that 2018 has to offer so far

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this report