Oft-accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities is reporting that the much-improved new “Magic Keyboard” introduced with the 16-inch MacBook Pro last year is coming to Apple’s smaller laptops too. According to Macrumors, new MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs with scissor keyboards will be arriving in the second quarter of 2020, likely in Apple’s traditional May slot ahead of WWDC. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic could delay or otherwise impact Apple’s timeline.
Kuo doesn’t offer much in the way of details about the new laptops, but it was previously reported that Apple would be bumping the size of the 13-inch model to 14 inches by trimming the chassis and the bezels like it did with the 16-inch MacBook Pro last year. That model weighs just 4 ounces more than the 15-inch version it replaces while keeping similar dimensions.
Kuo also said the new models will have “various cost optimizations,” but “users will not notice any difference.” That likely means Apple worked to keep prices of the new laptops similar to their existing starting prices ($1,099 for the MacBook Air and $1,299 for the MacBook Pro). Apple increased the starting price of the 16-inch MacBook Pro last year to $2,399 from its previous $2,099, but also added twice the storage (512GB vs 256GB).
Macrumors received a tip Friday that said the MacBook Air may be released as early as Monday, March 16. The information is from the same source who accurately predicted the dates of last year’s iPad mini and iPad Air launches.
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MacBook Air 1.6GHz dual‑core Core i5, 256GB SSD (Late 2018)
Moving forward, Kuo expects an all-new design for the MacBook in the second quarter of 2021, Macrumors reports, though it’s unclear which model he is referring to. The MacBook Air was recently updated in late 2018, which the MacBook Pro hasn’t seen a significant redesign since 2016, with the launch of the Touch Bar.
Kuo also reiterated his claim that Apple will be moving to ARM-based custom processors sooner than later, with a target of the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021. It’s unclear from the report if this would be an update to an existing model or an entirely new machine, nor does he say whether the move would be the start of a full transition away from Intel’s chips.
A Mac with a new processor architecture would likely need a period of transition, however, so if Kuo’s timeline is accurate, we might be hearing something about the new chips at WWDC.
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Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.