Apple wants to reinvigorate the MacBook. A report published Tuesday claims the company is planning to launch a 13-inch MacBook, which would sit at the lower end of its laptop lineup to provide a cheaper alternative to the MacBook Pro. It could also be a chance to fix some of the MacBook’s biggest issues.
The report from DigiTimes claimed that General Interface Solutions expects to receive more LCD screen module orders from Apple for an “entry-level” new MacBook. The supplier has been making modules for the MacBook since the end of 2017. The new 13-inch model would start shipping in the second half of this year. As the 12-inch MacBook currently starts at the same price as the 13-inch MacBook Pro, $1,299, this suggests the company is planning something at the lower end of its pricing structures, perhaps dropping the $1,199 MacBook Air from the lineup entirely.
Apple first released the 12-inch MacBook in April 2015. The device takes the same position as the 13-inch and 11-inch MacBook Air in the lineup, for those that don’t need the extra features found in the MacBook Pro and value portability. Weighing just two pounds, a pound less than the 13-inch Air, the MacBook wowed consumers with its far smaller size.
With a smaller size comes compromise, which could explain why Apple is considering a larger model. The MacBook includes just one USB-C port, used for charging as well as connectivity to peripherals. The only other port on the device is the headphone jack, meaning consumers need to choose between charging their laptop or plugging in devices. The 13-inch MacBook Pro, on the other hand, offers up to four USB-C ports.
A larger MacBook could also help Apple address some of the concerns about the butterfly keyboard mechanism. Where many laptop keyboards use a scissor-shape mechanism, Apple designed a new setup to achieve a far thinner computer:
It’s been the subject of heavy criticism. In a post titled “The new MacBook keyboard is ruining my life,” Casey Johnston wrote in The Outline that the same mechanism present on the MacBook Pro caused him repeated trips to the Apple Store after single specks of dirt caused the mechanism to fail. A redesign of the MacBook could give Apple the chance to rectify these issues.