Apple's Long Awaited Retina MacBook Air Refresh Allegedly Delayed, Again

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Apple's original MacBook Air was one of the progenitors of the "ultrabook" movement and doubled down on the use of SSDs (albeit at an enormous price premium). The second-generation model debuted in late 2010 and became a model for lightweight design while at the same time making SSDs standard across the board. Unfortunately, not much has changed with regards to the MacBook Air's design in the past 7 years, while its competitors have upped their game considerably.

According to a new report, volume production of a true next-generation MacBook Air will have to wait until the second half of 2018 instead of the second quarter. The delay means that the MacBook Air could be ready into time for the holiday shopping season instead of being in place for the back-to-school season.

While the MacBook Air was initially positioned as a premium notebook aimed at professionals that wanted respectable power in a thin and light form-factor, it has since been relegated to entry-level status due to Apple's decision to lower its price point (now $999) and hold the line on performance upgrades. The MacBook Air still clings to a 1440x900 (non-Retina) display, dual-core Broadwell processors, 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of PCIe storage.

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The next-generation MacBook Air, however, is expected to finally adopt a Retina display, current generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, and feature a slimmer design than its 7-year-old forbear. We should also expect to see the MacBook Air ditch its USB 3 and Thunderbolt 2 in favor of USB-C or Thunderbolt 3. You can also count on the integrated SDXC slot getting the axe along with the adoption of the much-maligned butterfly keyboard as well. Despite the upgrade in hardware specs, the price for the new MacBook Air is expected to fall even further to $899, or perhaps $799 (although this is Apple we're talking about, so the $799 price might be wishful thinking).

A lower price point would give the MacBook Air more breathing room to prevent treading into the MacBook's territory. That 12-inch ultra-portable starts at $1,299 and quickly escalates once the options are piled on.