Digitimes is reporting that Apple will release a brand new ‘entry-level’ 13-inch Retina MacBook in June, with a lower cost than the current 12-inch MacBook. According to the report, the 13-inch MacBook will feature a 2560×1600 panel, with a 226 PPI density – the same as the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
This sounds like a compelling product, with better specs at a significantly cheaper price. The report says the 13-inch Retina MacBook will be priced around the current MacBook Air’s $999 price tag.
Digitimes claims that Apple was originally going to use a Chinese manufacturer to make displays for this new cheaper MacBook, but has ultimately decided to use LG Display due to quality issues from earlier test production.
Whilst it seems like it will be cheaper than the current 12-inch MacBook which costs $1299, Digitimes is not very precise when it comes to pricing. It says priced ‘at the same level or slightly higher’ than the current MacBook Air. This implies $999, but there is wiggle-room. Either way, some form of price cut is apparently likely.
The 13-inch MacBook is reported to enter mass production at the end of May. This lines it up for an announcement at WWDC, Apple’s developer conference that is yet to be announced but expected to be held in early June. WWDC does not consistently include new hardware announcements, but it is by no means out of the question. Last year, Apple announced the iMac Pro, HomePod, and updates to iMacs and all Mac laptops at the event.
The report explicitly refers to the product as a 13-inch MacBook, not MacBook Air. KGI reported last week that Apple would make a cheaper 13-inch MacBook Air this year too. It’s possible that the two analysts are ultimately talking about the same product, or that Apple will be dropping entry-level prices for both the Air and Retina MacBook lines.
Digitimes also says that upstream supply chain suggests that iPad upgrades are on the cards for launch this year. The publication echoes claims that a new 9.7-inch entry-level iPad is set to be released in the second quarter (others have suggested sub-$300 price-tags). This is probably the model we saw in Eurasian regulatory filings a few weeks ago.
It also says that parts are also being produced for a new iPad Pro hardware upgrade destined to be released in the second half of 2018. The rumor mill is expecting at least one new iPad Pro this year, with a new bezel design, removal of home button, and integration of Face ID unlock.