Since their inception, Apple’s Mac Books have been the pinnacle of the laptop industry, serving as an unwavering benchmark in both style and performance. However, PC sales have been on a steady decline in the recent years, and the tech giant hasn’t been spared. While iPhone sales shot through the roof last year, things were somewhat gloomy for the MacBook.
To many, therefore, the deliberate omission of the MacBook Air from what was Apple’s upcoming lineup for the fourth quarter of last year didn’t come as a surprise. It was clearly an indication that the company was giving up on the Air to instead focus on a new line of MacBook Pro laptops, which are admittedly more impressive.
Now, we’re well into the new year, and there’s still no official word regarding the laptop that would replace the relatively old 13-inch MacBook Air. Consequently, speculation is going around that Apple might be planning to bury the Air range altogether.
Macbook Air – Reasons for the imminent discontinuation
Although no official reports have been made yet, we can blame this probable cause of action on the following factors:
- Reduced MacBook production
According to recent reports, Apple is looking to slash MacBook production by up to 16% this year. It is expected to produce 13.6 million laptops, 3 million units less than the total number made last year.
Despite a slow start, the new MacBook Pro notebooks have been well received thus far, and are among the best laptops on the market today. It is, therefore, unlikely that Apple will be hitting the brakes with the Pro. This projected reduction is more likely attributable to the fall of the Macbook Air.
- Small, thin and light MacBook Pros
Previous advertisements distinguished the Air to the Pro range by its design. The Air was portable and elegant, while the Pro excelled in performance and productivity.
With the new MacBook Pro devices, however, the distinction seems to have waned. Placed side-by-side, the current 13-inch Pro is more pleasing to the eye than the same-sized MacBook Air.
By the look of things, therefore, Apple seems to be intentionally marketing its current laptops against the Air. The latter’s primary selling point is its design, but now that recent releases are even more stylish, its relevance is diminishing.
- Apple’s push for the iPad Pro
In addition to the MacBook Pro, Apple has been on a vigorous ad campaign for its 9.7 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro devices. The tablets offer significantly better display quality, better sound, and easier portability than the aging Air, and with the soft keyboard attached, they’re enough for basic computing.
Apple has announced three new iPad models for their new Pro tablet range to be released in the course of the year, which could cement the end for the Air.
- Lower MacBook Pro prices
Because of weaker performance, the MacBook Air has always been conceived as the cheaper option when compared to the Pro, and as a result, MacBook lovers running on a budget were opting for the Air.
Now, however, sources report that Apple will likely reduce the price for the 13-inch MacBook Pro to increase its shipments. It is pretty clear that the notebook is being set up to replace the MacBook Air.
What this means for the competition
Apple might be doing away with one of its flagship lines, but it is unlikely that other manufacturers will have much to gain.
For starters, the company would be giving up on the MacBook Air to give way to new MacBook Pro models, which are supposedly better in all aspects. Furthermore, the “soon to be cut” Pro prices are guaranteed to cause a stir in the market, and Apple may even register more laptop sales this year than it did the last.
That said, major brands like HP, Lenovo, and Dell all have new ultrabooks set for release this year. The HP Elitebook X360, for example, is enjoying excellent reviews for its sleek form, little weight, and razor-thin body. Without one of the primary rivals in the looks department, HP could ship more units than expected.
Although the MacBook Air is expected to be discontinued this year, it hasn’t had a major update since the current notebook was released in 2015. Enthusiasts may have had a few ounces of hope, but many saw this cancellation coming.
As for how the bold move will play with buyers, experts are foreseeing only a slight change in shopping patterns. Some Air owners might shift to other brands for better designs and friendlier price tags, but the majority are expected to replace their laptops with Apple products.
In addition to increased MacBook Pro sales, therefore, the iPad Pro is also expected to thrive in the Air’s apparent demise.
Even amid fierce competition, the MacBook Air has stood its ground as one of the best full-sized laptops around regarding design, portability and battery life. If you think about it, discontinuing such a strong range of products seems like a bad idea, and Cupertino might be gearing up to unveil the next-generation Air.
But the signs and speculations are all pointing to the opposite direction. It is only a matter of time before Apple makes the much-awaited statement to end the MacBook Air.
By Jo-Ann, Coetzee LaptopNinja