Apple Said to Delay Production of New MacBook Air With Retina Display to Second Half of 2018
Apple has postponed production of its rumored 2018 MacBook Air model to the second half of the year, according to supply chain sources (via DigiTimes).
A new version of Apple's most affordable MacBook was expected to go into mass production in the second quarter, but the company has reportedly already informed supply chain partners of the deferment, without revealing its reasoning behind the decision.
The sources said that Apple has informed supply chain partners that mass production of its new notebook model for 2018 will not kick off until the second half of the year, yet without explaining the rescheduling move. Some partners speculated that the postponement might be caused by problems with some key components such as processors.
DigiTimes was first to report on Apple's intention to release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook, due in the second half of 2018, which would serve as a replacement for the MacBook Air. Two months later, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a research note claiming Apple has a "more affordable MacBook Air" set to be released at some point in 2018.
Kuo didn't offer any details on what to expect in an updated MacBook Air beyond a lower price tag, but DigiTimes believes Apple could upgrade the MacBook Air with a Retina display, which has led to speculation about whether the machine will be an updated MacBook Air or a lower-cost MacBook.
Bolstering these claims, Taiwanese site Economic Daily News believes Apple is working on a more affordable version of the MacBook Air with a price point of $799 to $899, while Bloomberg claims Apple is working on a new MacBook that costs under $1,000, but it isn't clear whether it's in the MacBook Air family or a new sub-$1,000 machine in the MacBook line.
The original plan for a second-quarter introduction pointed to an April–June timeframe, which indicated the new model could be announced at WWDC in June, but news of the deferred production makes that suggestion seem less likely, with an October release looking more probable.
As a result, some MacBook Air supply chain partners who have readied their material inventories to support second-quarter production now reportedly face low capacity utilization before starting to deliver shipments in the third quarter, according to DigiTimes' sources.
The current MacBook Air models haven't seen any substantial updates in three years. Since that time, Apple has discontinued the 11-inch model, while the only recent upgrade to the 13-inch model has been a bump to the base processor option last June, but it's still a Broadwell chip from the 2014–15 timeframe.