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Last month, a seemingly unlikely rumor out of Asia claimed that Apple could be planning to launch a low-cost MacBook series next year in order to compete with Google's popular and more affordable Chromebook models. On Tuesday, that rumor was revived by respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

apple-logo-backlit-mac.jpg

A DigiTimes report in September said Apple could launch a more affordable MacBook line in late 2024 to differentiate it from the company's existing MacBook Air and Pro lines. Kuo now also believes Apple could be considering such a move to boost ailing MacBook shipments, with a target of 8-10+ million units per year.

Kuo's prediction came in response to Apple's upcoming Mac event that was announced on Tuesday. The analyst suggested Apple's "Scary Fast" event on October 30 will focus on multiple M3 chips, hinting at the possibility of M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max variants. If Apple does release M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips at once, they will likely feature in new 13-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.

Kuo previously predicted that Apple would be unlikely to introduce new MacBook Pro models in 2023 because of "limited 4Q 23 shipments." He now says that if new MacBook Pros do come out in November or December, the tight supply will last until the first quarter of 2024.

The analyst said Mac shipments have declined due to the "limited M2 computing power upgrade," which may be the reason why Apple is prepared to launch M3 MacBook Pro models with low production volume. "Theoretically, the M3 should offer a more significant boost in computing power," said Kuo, but if the M3 fails to boost shipments, that may trigger Apple's plan to introduce a "more affordable MacBook model."

According to the original report out of Taiwan, Apple's more affordable MacBooks will adopt some design changes to enable Apple to achieve the low price. While the outer appearance will still use a metal casing to maintain the distinctive Apple Mac aesthetic, it could be made of "different materials."

If Apple does unveil a low-cost Mac, it could potentially come in the form of a new 12-inch MacBook. Introduced in March 2015, the original 12-inch MacBook featured a thin and light design that weighed just two pounds, and was Apple's first notebook to feature a fanless design, USB-C port, and butterfly switch keyboard. Unfortunately, due to Apple's use of Intel Core M processors, many felt it was too underpowered to justify its $1,299 price. Apple discontinued the model in 2019.

12-inch-MacBook-side.jpeg
Apple's discontinued 12-inch MacBook

Reports about the possibility of the 12-inch MacBook returning have circulated ever since Apple adopted custom Apple silicon processors across its devices and began offering the M1 ‌MacBook Air‌ with a $999 starting price.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman was first to spark serious rumors about Apple reintroducing a 12-inch MacBook model with Apple silicon, saying last year that the device could come at the end of 2023 or in 2024. In January 2023, Gurman said that a 12-inch MacBook was no longer on the company's near-term roadmap, but stopped short of ruling the device out completely, meaning that it being pushed into 2024 or later may still be possible.

That was followed in February by another rumor that Apple plans to bring the 12-inch MacBook back into its lineup. According to the report, production activities related to the device were ongoing, and Apple planned to decide whether to move forward with mass production as soon as the second half of this year. Whether this alleged activity relates to claims made by ‌DigiTimes‌, and now Kuo, about a low-cost MacBook remains to be seen.

Article Link: Kuo: Apple Considering Low-Cost MacBook Launch in 2024
 
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krspkbl

macrumors 68020
Jul 20, 2012
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MacBook SE - Looks like the 13" MacBook Pro minus the Touch Bar with a semi-recent M2 or M3 chip. That's my theory.
I would think that any "budget" MacBook is going to be a dumbed down Air.

Weakest and cheapest MacBook you can buy is £999 and has an M1, 8GB RAM, 256GB, 13" display.

I honestly would be surprised if they kept the M1 but they might surprise us and go with M2. RAM will probably be 6-8GB. Storage could be 128GB especially if they intend to make it like a chromebook and have you do everything in a browser. Screen will be 12" most likely.
 

Wokis

macrumors 6502a
Jul 3, 2012
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This is really good.

A tastefully done cheaper point of entry leads to more Mac-users for developers to target which means I get more stuff to run on my Mac!
 

Fuzzball84

macrumors 68000
Apr 19, 2015
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They flip flop on this all the time.. the MacBook Air 11 inch was perfect size, then the MacBook Retina was launched but they didn’t commit to it (and they positioned it as a premium device just because it was thin!)

Now they want to release again!

I suppose 3 years later they will drop it

Have you noticed that they flip flop on labeling the front bezel with MacBook/MacBook Pro too! It looks bad man
 

krspkbl

macrumors 68020
Jul 20, 2012
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Apple may do a lower cost Macbook but I really doubt they would do a low cost Macbook.
Yeah... whatever they do it's not going to be cheap. MacBooks start at £999. These new "budget" models could be £850.

I'd be surprised if they released a MacBook in the £300-700 range. I'd probably have a heart attack from the absolute shock of it.
 

Fuzzball84

macrumors 68000
Apr 19, 2015
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They should release a disposable MacBook. Like a single use device… once you’re done, just throw it in the nearest bin and you can pick up another from Apple Store on way home. Rinse and repeat.

They could subscription it. Like 5 k a month.. that’s like 166 dollars. Cheaper than most chromebooks!
 

Mac Fly (film)

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Feb 12, 2006
2,368
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Just fix the MBA and give it HDMI and SD Card, and fix MBP by adding a better automatic low power mode which extends the battery life beyond the MBA when tasked with less intensive tasks such as web browsing. MBP should have better battery life than MBA for lighter tasks, if it is to be considered a pro machine. And MBA needs those ports to be useful in basic use cases such as schools, board meetings, in the office and conferences. Many people don't want dongles and don't need the up-scale screen or performance of a MBP, and don't need its heft either. Those who want those things and need four USB ports would be free to go all bells and whistles. Those who want a basic computer that can handle the day should be able to consider MBA, ports and all.
 
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playtech1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2014
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Apple could really use a well-priced basic laptop to entice younger cash-strapped consumers into the ecosystem. The basic MacBook buyers of 2023 will be the MacBook Pro buyers of 2033.

Although I would give my left kidney for a resuscitated 12 inch MacBook, I don't think that would quite fit the bill. Really the M1 Air already does the job perfectly - it just needs to be cheaper.

If the M1 Air is too expensive to make, Apple could definitely cut some corners and still have an excellent machine. If they could get something out of the door for $799 with an 'M3 Lite' (with circa M1 performance), a plastic case, smaller battery, lower quality screen, smaller trackpad and webcam in the bezel instead of a notch, I think it would still provide much the same experience for many tasks.
 
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