The Cupertino, California-based company plans to release a cheaper MacBook Air and an updated Mac mini, bringing an end to a drought in computer-related product launches that has frustrated some of the iPhone maker’s client base and weighed on sales of Apple’s longest-running line of devices.
Apple plans to roll out a more affordable laptop that looks similar to the MacBook Air. Sources said the display will have thinner bezels, be about 13-inches in size and feature Apple’s higher-resolution "Retina" technology that the company usually uses on other products.
Like the Mac mini, the $1,000 MacBook Air has not seen a major overhaul in several years. In 2015, Apple launched a 12-inch MacBook as its potential successor, although the $1,300 starting price made it too expensive for some customers. In contrast, this latest update is expected to cater to consumers looking for a cheaper laptop, including schools. Education institutes tend to buy in bulk and have historically shunned Macs because of their higher price tags.
"HP Inc. (HPQ) and Lenovo Group Ltd. have released products priced similarly to the MacBook Air, gaining share, and in order to remain competitive in that price point, we think a form-factor change is necessary," Shannon Cross, an analyst at Cross Research, said, according to Bloomberg. "It should help them rebound some of their Mac sales as things have been getting a bit long on the tooth in terms of their Mac line as they’ve clearly been very focused on the iPhone and services businesses."
Professional Mac Mini
The Mac mini update will be the first one in about four years. The desktop computer, which costs $500 and does not include a screen, keyboard or mouse, has proved popular with users despite the fact that is just acts as a server. According to Bloomberg’s sources, the new model will feature upgraded storage and processor options and is being targeted at professional users, such as app developers, server farm managers and those that run home media centers. As a result, the latest Mac mini is expected to be more expensive than previous versions.
Bloomberg's sources were not able to give a precise indication of when the new computers are likely to launch. However, they pointed out that Apple typically releases Mac computers in October, following the release of new iPhones.
The company has several other product launches lined up for this year. It is expected to unveil three new iPhones, Apple Watches with larger screens, and new iPad Pros, as well as macOS Mojave, a new version of its Mac operating system that includes features for sorting files and the ability to run iPad apps like Apple News. (See also: Apple Planning Series of Upgrades This Fall: Top Analyst.)
Next year Apple is expected to roll out an update of the Mac Pro, its high-end computer. The company sold 3.7 million Macs last quarter, the fewest since 2010. (See also: Why Apple, Alphabet and Facebook Aren’t Overvalued.)