Category Changes: the Possibility of a Revised MacBook Air

The recent rumour about Apple revising the MacBook Air leads to the question–how powerful should a low end laptop be? In the 00's, Apple's category division was simple– PowerBook laptops were for professionals and iBook laptops suited home users.


In more recent times, the introduction of the MacBook Air followed a similar path, with the original version being quite underpowered compared to its professional counterpart. But for Apple, the problem was cost.  The Air came with a higher price than the iBook and this left it stranded between the two categories. The chip in the original MacBook Air was very slow in comparison to the professional line-up.  But as the MacBook Air settled down, Apple built in better chips, recently an I5 or i7, and the performance of this laptop began to reach above threshold required by the average user.  We have recommended MacBook Airs into many businesses, where we would not have looked at an iBook ten years ago.  

Therefore the waters have narrowed between the pro and consumer laptop families and this is something we welcomed because it gives a wider choice where business users don't dismiss the lower range. In fact the old category division of professional/consumer no longer applies. Today the choice between MacBook Air vs Pro lies primarily in screen size, plus variations on graphics power and chip speed. 

We hope that this is not a position which Apple reverses in the future, by aiming any new MacBook Air towards the lower end and widening the gap between these two sections. We think the continuity between Air and Pro is good for buyers and the decision comes down to lifestyle choice, such as weight, design, and form, ahead of a blunter choice of money and speed.

Simon Spence/2015