Apple plans to release a new replacement for MacBook Air (and possibly the current MacBook) with a retina screen later this year, according to a report in Bloomberg. More surprisingly, the report also claims that an updated Mac mini is just around the corner.
The report comes from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who recently built a reputation for breaking news about major Apple initiatives and products before being announced. As always, "people are familiar with" Apple's plans.
The new Mac mini would be aimed at pro users than its predecessor, says the report, with more powerful specifications, but steeper prices. The previous Mac mini is something of a cool hit with independent software developers; This report suggests that Apple will double it down. It would move Mac mini farther away for one of its original purposes ̵
Since the Mac mini was not updated for a long time, users began to suspect the writing was on the wall of the device. But Apple has previously promised that it is not the case. In an email to a customer last last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Mac mini was not dead. He wrote:
I'm glad you love Mac mini. We love it too. Our customers have found so many creative and interesting uses for the Mac mini. Although it is not time to share any details, we plan to make Mac mini an important part of our product line in the future.
The latest major update to Mac mini was not well received by users and critics. Released in 2014 eliminated the quad-core CPU option, frustrating pro users with steady performance requirements. It was also less usable and upgradeable, and we lost the configuration of the Mac mini server – and a 2.5-inch drive expansion panel. And here's a treat that shows how hard outdated the 2014 Mini is: It only supports 4K screens or TVs at 30Hz.
The new MacBook
And so it's the new MacBook. The wording of the report implies that the new machine will merge MacBook Air and MacBook product lines, lend industrial design of MacBook Air and high-resolution display on the MacBook. (Hopefully, MacBook's lack of ports will not lend.)
The basic design of Apple's MacBook Air has been essentially unchanged for several years. It's the only Mac in Apple's current range to lack what the company regards as a "Retina" (HiDPI) display. It's also the only Mac notebook that has full size USB-A ports instead of the new USB-C standard and the only one without butterfly keyboard design.
On the other hand, the MacBook has today's new keyboard design and USB-C / Thunderbolt 3, but it only has a port that you probably need to use to connect the power adapter. It's also very expensive for such a limited machine: it starts at $ 1,299. These two machines are probably targeted to a similar market, so it makes sense to combine their strengths into one product if possible.
According to the Bloomberg report, the new MacBook will have a 13-inch display and similar dimensions for MacBook Air, but it will reduce the size of the bones around the screen. The report does not provide much more details, except to say that Apple hopes this machine will make a hole in the education market.
Recently, Chromebooks were reported to have more than 60 percent market share in K-12 institutions in the United States. Apple's attempt to push iPad as an alternative has only been successful in some schools and at certain levels, and today's MacBook is simply too expensive for most schools to consider.
When Apple has released Macs this fall earlier, it has usually done it in October, but nothing is certain. We can find out more at a likely event in September, where Apple will probably announce new iPhone models. (This Bloomberg report also repeats short earlier reports that Apple will introduce three new iPhones this year, along with two new iPad Pro models.)