MacBook Air 2018: what we want to see

MacBook Air 2018

Given its ripe old age, there’s no doubt in our minds that the MacBook Air will soon be replaced with something harder, better, faster and stronger.

In 2018 the cheapest Apple notebook features a 5th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, whereas most notebooks are rocking 8th-generation Intel Core chips in 2018.

Luckily, the internet is awash in MacBook Air 2018 rumors, meaning we could see  new MacBook Air any time now. That is, according to KGI Securities Analyst Ming Chi Kuo, who claims that a cheaper, entry-level MacBook Air will replace the $999 (£999, around AU$1,199) model later this year.

So perhaps by the end of WWDC 2018 we’ll see something about the next version of the MacBook Air – whatever it looks like – reportedly alongside a cheaper 13-inch Retina MacBook. That’s why we decided to take a look at everything there is to know about the MacBook Air 2018.

Now, we don’t have any official info, but we went ahead and made some educated guesses based on past releases and rumors floating around the internet. Plus, we’ll lay out what we want to see if a new MacBook Air does show up in 2018.

So, join us and save this page, as we’ll update it with the latest MacBook Air 2018 news and speculation when and if it shows up.

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

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.

At the same time, there’s a patent going around at the moment that suggests a spill-proof and crumb-resistant keyboard is in the works behind the doors at Apple Park. Filed recently by Apple, the keyboard “could include a substrate, a key cap and a guard structure extending from the key cap that funnels contaminants away from the movement mechanism.”

Should it maintain the same travel and tactile feel of the MacBook Air today, this is a change to the keyboard we wouldn’t mind.

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

Looking back further than this, the MacBook Air has received updates on an annual basis since its release in 2008, and in largely different months during those years. That said, June has been the most popular month for this laptop to receive upgrades.

So, if Kuo’s sources are wrong, that leaves us with the most likely release month for a would-be 2018 MacBook Air being June, likely directly following a WWDC 2018 announcement. That would be a properly annual launch, and have the fanfare of Apple’s huge developer event behind it for a triumphant return.

If Apple misses that time frame, the next likely debut window is October or November, just in time for the Christmas and holiday shopping craze. We’ll look out for new rumors and update this article as soon as the possible MacBook Air 2018 release date begins to inch closer.

MacBook Air 2018

MacBook Air 2018 price

Of course, without a mention of a MacBook Air 2018 rumor beyond its prophesied death, that leaves us with next to nothing regarding the price of such an Apple laptop. Those types of leaks don’t tend to crop up until we get closer to an expected release date.

However, don’t expect much about the MacBook Air price to change year over year – its affordability is a huge part of its continued draw. Apple has already nailed the prices for its two MacBook Air models, starting at $999, £949 or AU$1,499.

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.  

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.

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.

However, Apple needs to determine how this is going to be intuitive if a MacBook with a touchscreen remains unlikely. Will the mouse simply stand in for our fingers, or does Apple have something fresh up its sleeve?

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

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this report