Apple Preps Cheaper MacBook Air For Q2 Launch, Early HomePod Demand Reportedly Weak

Apple is set to launch a new and lower-priced version of the 13-inch MacBook Air in the coming months says notoriously accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities. Kuo penned a pair of notes to investors recently that talked about a new MacBook Air notebook that will be enticing to the budget-minded Apple faithful and education sectors alike.


Kuo says that the new machine will launch in Q2 2018 and he predicts that the new, cheaper Mac will push overall sales for MacBooks up 10 to 15% this year. Currently, the cheapest 13-inch MacBook sells for $999. While Kuo has details on when the new machine might launch, however, what he doesn't have detail on is what sort of hardware the cheaper machine might use.

The MacBook Air has had very little in the way of updates in recent years, yet it still remains a popular choice for college students and folks looking for a less expensive MacBook. Kuo also offered up some detail on refreshed iPhones expected this year and new AirPods in one of the notes. Refreshed AirPods are expected in the second half of 2018.

Kuo focused more on the rumored entry-level 6.1-inch iPhone, noting that the device will make for a good year for suppliers Unimicron and Apple partners Wistron and Pegatron. That suggests strong sales are expected for that entry-level iPhone model. The investor note also mentioned the HomePod, noting that demand for the Apple device has been "mediocre" so far. Kuo says that his view of the Apple smart speaker is "neutral."