Apple could launch a more affordable 13-inch MacBook this year

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MacBook Air
The MacBook Air could be headed for the scrap heap.
Photo: Apple

Apple is said to be preparing a new 13-inch MacBook for 2018 that will likely replace the MacBook Air as its most affordable notebook.

Suppliers are already manufacturing displays for the machine, which will reportedly make its debut in the second half of the year, according to industry sources.

If you need a relatively affordable notebook that’s going to last you many years, you might as well avoid the MacBook lineup right now. The 12-inch MacBook starts at a whopping $1,299, while the $999 MacBook Air is too outdated to be considered a decent purchase in 2018.

A new 13-inch MacBook is coming

But Apple could have a solution up its sleeve. Supply chain partner General Interface Solutions (GIS) has landed orders for 13-inch MacBook displays for an “entry-level” Apple notebook launching in the second half of 2018, according to Digitimes.

“With new orders for MacBooks and other models, GIS is expected to ramp up its LCM shipments to 600,000 units a month by the end of 2018 compared to 300,000 units currently,” reads the report, citing industry sources.

GIS is said to have started producing the MacBook screens, which will account for a small portion of the company’s total revenue, in the fourth quarter of 2017. GIS also produces 3D Touch panels for iPhone X, but orders for those are “likely to drop” due to weak demand.

Sadly, there’s no mention of what kind of specifications the new MacBook might bring, or what it will look like.

If it is indeed a more affordable alternative to other Apple laptops, it probably won’t look as fancy as the 12-inch MacBook. But Apple will surely want to ditch the MacBook Air’s design, which has remained unchanged for many years. We could see something new entirely.