MacBook smackdown: Which laptop is right for you?

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MacBook Air 2018
Save on the newest MacBook Air today.
Photo: Apple

Apple finally dusted off the MacBook Air. The 2018 model sports a brand new design, a gorgeous Retina display, and powerful upgraded internals. All of sudden, Apple’s most affordable notebook is up there with its best.

In fact, the new ultraportable is so good, you would be crazy to buy a 12-inch MacBook right now. So, how does the new MacBook Air stack up against the rest of Apple’s laptop lineup? Which model best suits your needs, and which delivers the best bang for the buck?

Find out right here in our comprehensive MacBook comparison.

A12 Bionic chip makes iPhone XS nearly as fast as high-end desktop

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a12 bionic ad
Apple's new processor is a beast!
Photo: Apple

Apple may have seriously undersold the processing power of the iPhone XS.

After deep diving into the new A12 chip, which is the world’s first 7nm manufactured processor, Anandtech found that the CPU features some big improvements that make it perform way better than just the 15% boost Apple is advertising. It’s nearly as good as a desktop CPU.

Apple shares fall after iPhone chipmaker cuts sales forecast

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iPhone X laying down
I wanted a Galaxy S10, but I'm stuck with iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple shares fell 3 percent this morning after iPhone chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) cut its revenue forecast for the second quarter of 2018.

The company and industry analysts point to weak demand for high-end smartphones as the main reason for the poor guidance. This likely has something to do with the fact that iPhone X sales have been in the gutter since early hype quickly died out late last year.

Intel speeds up chips by offloading virus scans

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Intel-Kaby-Lake
Intel will task GPUs with antivirus scanning.
Photo: Intel

Intel plans to offload virus scanning to improve the performance of its processors.

It will allow antivirus programs to use its integrated graphics chipsets when scanning for attacks, which will reduce processor and power consumption on some machines. It could mean that you’ll get more use out of your MacBook in between charges.

Apple plans to ditch Intel processors on the Mac

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intel
Intel is starving for a chunk of iPhone's chip business.
Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr

The next Mac you buy may not have Intel inside.

Apple is pushing forward with plans to ditch Intel’s processors in favor of its own chips, according to a new report that claims the transition away from Intel CPUs will likely take multiple steps.

Intel fixes Spectre flaw in latest CPUs

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Intel-Kaby-Lake
Intel will task GPUs with antivirus scanning.
Photo: Intel

Intel has completed its Spectre fixes for its latest range of processors.

Patches for Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake chipsets are now available to computer and motherboard manufacturers. Apple has already rolled out macOS and OS X updates to fix the problem.

Intel confirms Spectre fixes can cause unwanted reboots

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Intel-Kaby-Lake
Intel will task GPUs with antivirus scanning.
Photo: Intel

Intel has confirmed that fixes for the widespread Spectre bug can cause unwanted reboots on many PCs. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the company has also revealed that its latest chips — including the Kaby Lake line launched in 2017 — are also susceptible to the bug.

Apple named in class-action lawsuit alongside AMD and Intel

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A10 processor
Apple's A-series chips are also susceptible to Meltdown and Spectre bugs.
Photo: Apple

Apple has been named in a class-action lawsuit alongside AMD and Intel. The case filed in Israel, one of many expected to hit major chip manufacturers, comes after the discovery of the Meltdown and Spectre bugs that leave billions of users at risk.

No, Apple is not slowing down your iPhone to force upgrades

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5 tips to fix an unresponsive iPhone screen
Is your iPhone slower with iOS 11? It's all in your head.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Every major iOS update slows down older devices to force users to upgrade. At least that’s what recent reports have suggested.

The truth is, Apple is doing no such thing. Benchmark data proves that iPhone performance drops over time are just a myth. The 4-year-old iPhone 5s is about as fast with iOS 11 today as it was with iOS 7 when it made its debut in 2013.