Rumored 'Low-Cost MacBook' Could Be $699 MacBook Air

Rumors out of Asia captured the attention of Apple fans last year by claiming that Apple plans to offer a more affordable 2024 MacBook for budget-conscious customers and students in order to compete with Google's popular low-cost Chromebook models.

In fact, this rumor may have already come to fruition with the news last week that Walmart has started selling the MacBook Air with M1 chip in the United States for $699.

Walmart MacBook Air M1
Apple discontinued the MacBook Air with the M1 chip earlier this month, following the launch of new MacBook Air models with its latest-generation M3 chip. But it looks as if Apple intends to continue producing the M1 MacBook Air specifically for sale through Walmart, rather than through its own stores.

It is the first time that customers have been able to purchase a Mac directly from Walmart. The U.S. retailer does not sell any other Macs. These are not refurbished Macs either – they are brand new and appear to be fresh inventory. As Daring Fireball's John Gruber notes, Apple has not kept excess stock in inventory for bestselling products for decades, as per CEO Tim Cook's favored method of Apple's operations. Prior to being discontinued, Apple sold the M1 model for $999.

The M1 MacBook Air first came out in 2020, so it is four years old at this point, but the Apple silicon chip is still more than adequate for day-to-day tasks. The configuration being sold for $699 includes the M1 chip, 256GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM/unified memory, with Gold, Silver, and Space Gray color options available. Since Walmart made its announcement, Best Buy has undercut the retailer by offering the same model for $649, but how long this further discount will last is unclear.

Last October, a rumor out of Korea claimed Apple intended to sell 13-inch MacBook models at a planned price point of around $700 or less. The rumor suggested that while Apple has yet to fully commit to mass producing the low-cost Macs, they were "more likely than ever" to make it to market because of a sharp fall in iPad and MacBook sales.

The rumors came after Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple was considering launching a low-cost MacBook in 2024 to boost ailing MacBook shipments, with a target of shifting 8-10+ million units per year.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forum: MacBook Air

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