Redesigned MacBook Air is coming, just not tomorrow

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Don't give up hope for an improved 2018 MacBook Air. But don't expect it too soon, either.
Photo: Apple

Apple is about to refresh much of its product line, with new iPhones, iPad Pros, and Watches anticipated. However, an updated MacBook Air announcement tomorrow isn’t likely.

The company is expected to introduce an improved version of this budget laptop, but not until later in the year.

The MacBook Air launched way back in 2010, and since then Apple has only moderately improved it. The current version doesn’t even have a Retina display. Instead, the 13.3-inch screen has a 1440-by-900 resolution, putting it at just 128 pixels per inch (ppi). For comparison, the same size screen in the new MacBook Pro boasts 227 ppi.

But that’s about the end. Several rumors in recent months have pointed to Apple finally putting a Retina screen in the 2018 MacBook Air.

Larger or smaller?

Other reports have been more contradictory. It’s been said that this device will have the same 13.3-inch screen size, and the bezels around the display will shrink, but this somehow won’t affect the overall size of the laptop. This is manifestly impossible.

There are two possibilities. Apple could leave the external dimensions of this computer alone but shrink the bezels, which would make room for a larger display, perhaps 14 inches. Or the plan could be to keep the 13.3-inch screen and reduce the screen  bezels, which would allow the whole laptop to be slightly smaller. Which of these is the plan is anyone’s guess.

The inclusion of USB-C is a safe bet. The current model’s USB-A ports make it very outdated. And Apple will supposedly add Touch ID to this device, but not the full Touch Bar from the MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Air’s $999 price probably isn’t going to go up, at least not very much. Apple tried before to replace this model with a $1299 MacBook, with no success. 

2018 MacBook Air not coming tomorrow

Notice how few details about this device have leaked out. The paucity of information on this upcoming model is a strong hint that it’s at least a month away. By contrast, we already know almost everything about the Apple phones, tablets, and watches that are expected to get introduced tomorrow.

Besides, Apple doesn’t have a history of unveiling new MacBooks in September. Instead, it waits until October.  Back in 2016, for example, new MacBook Pro models weren’t announced at the same time as the iPhone 7. Instead, the company held them back a month.

There will probably be a special event for the 2018 MacBook Air in a few weeks. The rumored Mac mini Pro could be introduced at the same time. That press event would be an excellent opportunity to talk about MacOS Mojave too.

Of course, Apple could surprise us and take the wraps off a budget macOS laptop tomorrow afternoon. But that would be taking the risk of it getting lost in the hoopla surrounding the six other major announcements the company will be making, and a bunch of minor ones too.