Apple is separating the new smartphones into its usual low-cost versus high-cost categories, with big differences between the two models coming down to the camera, display, and battery life.
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The report does not provide additional information about the notebooks, but two reliable sources in Bloomberg News reporter Mark Gurman and TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo both expect Apple to unveil at least one all-new, lower-priced notebook of some kind later this year.
It's unclear if the new notebook will be branded as a MacBook, MacBook Air, or otherwise. DigiTimes previously reported it will be a 13-inch model with a Retina display, but Gurman and Kuo have yet to support those claims. Gurman expects the notebook to have a starting price of $999 or less in the United States.
The widely rumored notebook could be the first MacBook Air with a Retina display, or it could be added to the MacBook lineup, but 12-inch models currently start at $1,299, so it's hard to envision where it would slot in at $999.
The current MacBook Air hasn't seen any substantial updates in over three years. Since that time, Apple has discontinued the 11-inch model, while the processor on the base 13-inch model received a minor bump in clock speed, but it's still a Broadwell chip from the 2014–2015 timeframe.
12-inch MacBook models were last updated in June 2017 with Intel's seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors and faster SSDs.
A few weeks ago, Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News said Apple's new entry-level notebook will be powered by Intel's eighth-generation Kaby Lake Refresh processors, which would make it significantly faster than the current MacBook Air given its four-year-old architecture.
While the entry-level notebook could be announced with a press release, it certainly appears that Apple has enough in its pipeline for an October event, where it could introduce new MacBooks, iMacs, and a Mac mini, an iPad Pro with Face ID, and perhaps some other surprises, such as a new Apple Pencil.