New Macbooks, both real and imagined

Dreaming of a new, retina Macbook Air

Today we found out that Apple is likely to announce refreshes to the Macbook line at WWDC. Here’s the scoop from Mark Gurman and Alex Webb writing for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. plans to announce an update to its laptop lineup at an annual conference for app developers in early June, a move that could help offset new competition from Microsoft Corp. as well as declining iPad sales.
Apple is planning three new laptops, according to people familiar with the matter. The MacBook Pro will get a faster Kaby Lake processor from Intel Corp., said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. Apple is also working on a new version of the 12-inch MacBook with a faster Intel chip. The company has also considered updating the aging 13-inch MacBook Air with a new processor as sales of the laptop, Apple’s cheapest, remain surprisingly strong, one of the people said.

This rumor makes sense on a couple of fronts. Last year’s line of MacBook pros released too early to feature Kaby Lake processors, which would make an early refresh sensible. The biggest complaint that people had about the 12-inch MacBook was its lack of power, and solitary port. This report doesn’t make any mention of the company adding more ports to the 12-inch model, but a bump in performance is always appreciated.

So that’s what we are probably getting, but here’s what would I like to see out Apple when it comes to their Macbook line.

I think the question that legions of MacBook Air fans are wondering is whether or not Apple will ever give the fan-favorite, wedge shaped MacBook a retina screen. It’s hard to justify the 12-inch MacBook in a world where the Air has a retina screen, but it would be nice to have a laptop with the Air’s form factor, a number of ports, great battery life, and a gorgeous display. This is basically what Microsoft is offering with their new Surface laptop, only that thing runs a heavily locked down version of windows and has a keyboard covered with carpet.

You were so close Microsoft, but I don’t want to have to vacuum my keyboard.

A Macbook Air w/retina screen would be the laptop that would best suit my needs, and I can see it going over very well with college students, young professionals, and families who still want to have a laptop around the house to get work done on. These are the same people who are still buying the non-retina Air, but it’s been awhile since even the most hardcore Mac people were all that excited about the Macbook line. I think Apple sees an opportunity to make a lot of people happy, and spark sales by refreshing the Air line.

There’s a lot of different ways Apple could go here. They could drop the price on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 12-inch Macbook to be more in line with what the Surface Laptop is offering. They could step up the functionality of the 12-inch Macbook by speeding up the processor, and perhaps even giving it more than one USB C port. There’s a lot to be said for the portability and batter life of the 12-inch model. These changes would make a lot of people happy, but are not exactly Apple’s style.

In my opinion there is still a hole in the Macbook lineup, and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be filled by any of the options we are going to get in this summer refresh, which is a shame because they have the resources to make a laptop that most people would love. They’ve done it before with the Macbook Air. Let’s hope that they have some surprises to show at WWDC.

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