The buzz that is now a roar is that the 10 year old design of the MacBook Air will continue, but be updated to remain the entry level laptop when that was not originally the role of the computer. I think the next Air will attempt to reclaim a position of the ultra light laptop standard. As with Apple’s only other Air model, the now discontinued iPad Air, it packed the best possible features in the lightest package to create a premium device.
Excluding the MagSafe connection the original MacBook Air only had 3 ports. 1 usb, 1 micro DVI and headphone jack. It wasn’t until 2 years later that a second USB port and SD card slot were added. Since that time, the only thing that has changed is the swap of the display out port to a more capable thunderbolt port. With the recent reports of something new on its way1, I think apple is ready to let the current MacBook grow up a little as it did 8 years ago with the original MacBook Air. With an increase in screen size a slightly bigger enclosure may allow apple to first upgrade the cpu to a from the m class Intel cpu to the current or previous generation Intel laptop CPUs. Second since the new chips will support thunderbolt I feel 1 additional thunderbolt port will be added2. Sorry everyone, I believe that the Apple no longer sees USB-A as a passenger on its portables.
Now onto the MacBook Cheap. From anecdotal evidence it seems the 12 inch screen is not an issue for most people. One solution I see is Apple keeping the internals(no ARM transition) and the 12 inch screen of the current MacBook but with a new case that is more cost effective to manufacture. A slim downed, non tear drop aluminum case of the current 13 inch MacBook Pro similar to 12 inch case of the last generation PowerBooks will allow for a more conventional battery(cheaper) and some more space for additional usb c ports. Along with making the base storage 128 GB these changes can allow apple to hit the 1000 dollar price point.
- Similar to John Gruber’s scenario 2
- Bloomberg Report - Mark Gurman