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, last year’s MacBook was exactly what we’d been asking for since its reincarnation back in 2015. Apple’s signature Butterfly keyboard was better than ever while it also experienced a dramatic boost in power, thanks to the 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors.
- Check out our Apple October 2018 launch live blog
However, now that we have Whiskey Lake processors that feature better performance than their 7th-generation Kaby Lake predecessors – we expect the MacBook 2018 takes a huge leap over the 2017 model. Hopefully it’ll be as dramatic as the new MacBook Pro.
And, while the MacBook 2018 was absent at the iPhone XS event and the October 30 Hardware event in Brooklyn, we still hope that a new MacBook is on the way – even if it may have been replaced by the new MacBook Air. Either way, make sure you keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll update it with any new information that comes our way.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s thinnest 2018 laptop
- When is it out? October 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 that obviously didn’t happen this time.
As for why the MacBook 2018 didn’t appear at the October 2018 hardware event in Brooklyn, we don’t know. However, the new MacBook Air looks a lot like the MacBook, so it’s possible that it’s been replaced. But, hey, maybe we’ll see a new MacBook in Spring 2019? Either way, we’ll see the new MacBook when Apple is ready for us to see it.
Until then, while we are pretty sure that the MacBook 2018 will make a showing, we’ll keep our eyes open for any new rumors or announcements and update this article as soon as the MacBook 2018 release date becomes more clear.
MacBook 2018 price
While we do think that Apple will put out a MacBook around the same price as the current models, we have seen speculation that Apple is planning on releasing a cheaper 13-inch Retina MacBook. So, whether or not that will play a factor in the MacBook 2018’s price remains to be seen.
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 makes the speculation about a cheaper 13-inch MacBook seem unbelievable. The only way we see the current version of the MacBook budging in price is if Apple introduces more capacious storage or higher power options, which will send the price up, rather than the opposite.
For the MacBook price to come down, or for Apple to release a cheaper MacBook model alongside more expensive version, something has to give. Apple could lower the memory down to 4GB from 8GB, but we don’t think that’ll happen. Instead, we believe it’d be much more likely for Apple to release a MacBook with a 128GB SSD instead of starting with 256GB.
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, while we wait for any kind of official word from the Cupertino behemoth, here’s what we hope to see Apple improve about the MacBook for 2018.
MacBook 2018 keyboard and screen
We’ve seen plenty of rumors that Apple is planning on making a MacBook with dual screens – and they keep showing up – one of these screens would be a capacitive touch keyboard. We don’t know what it’ll look like, but there’s potential ther for on the fly region changing and easy access to an emoji keyboard – instead of emojis being 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.
Even if this touch-screen keyboard doesn’t make its way into the 2018 MacBook, that doesn’t mean the Butterfly mechanism keyboard won’t be improved upon. Apple has recently admitted that some of the keyboards in recent MacBooks are faulty – and will even repair them for free. This adds a layer of authenticity to that rumor we saw earlier this year that the MacBook 2018 will have a keyboard that’s crumb and spill-proof, especially after the MacBook Pro 2018 came out with a membrane-sporting keyboard. Either way, we don’t know what the keyboard in the next MacBook is going to look like – maybe it’ll be spill proof because it’ll be a screen?
More ports, please
One of the biggest problems with the 12-inch MacBook, ever since its initial launch has been the sheer lack of ports. With only one Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port and a headphone jack, this absolutely needs to change in the MacBook 2018. Maybe just one more port?
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 two. Maybe there’s room for a microSD card reader too, but that may be pushing it.
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.
Now that Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake have been launched by Intel, we’d like to see Apple shove these latest 8th-generation processors into the new MacBook. There are rumors that the MacBook 2018 will be using 8th-generation Kaby Lake R processors, but those are essentially old tech already, we’ll just have to see.
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. This is likely an early part of Apple’s rumored ‘Kalamata Initiative’, which will see Apple replacing all Intel chips with Cupertino-crafted silicon by 2020.
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 and MacBook Pro 2018.
The Apple MacBook already feels remarkably sturdy in hand, but over time it can become covered with scratches – even if you are extremely careful. Luckily, Apple has recently filed a patent that details plans for making ‘indestructible’ hardware, through some unique coatings. Not only will this be a great option for a premium device that most users won’t upgrade for 4-5 years, but it’ll keep the MacBook looking as gorgeous as the day you opened it.
We don’t know if this patent will ever surface, but this approach along with the improved Butterfly keyboard found in the MacBook Pro 2018 could make the MacBook 2018 a much more durable device.
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.
All Apple needs to do is simply beef the webcam up to 1080p, like its price tag suggests, and problem solved. The speakers, though, are 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