Gurman: ‘Apple Is Planning a New Low-Cost MacBook, Pro-Focused Mac Mini’

Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, writing for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. will release a new low-cost laptop and a professional-focused upgrade to the Mac mini desktop later this year, ending a drought of Mac computers that has limited sales of the company’s longest-running line of devices, according to people familiar with the plans.

The new laptop will look similar to the current MacBook Air, but will include thinner bezels around the screen. The display, which will remain about 13-inches, will be a higher-resolution “Retina” version that Apple uses on other products, the people said.

I don’t understand this. How can it look similar to the current MacBook Air if the display “will remain about 13 inches” and the bezels are smaller? If the bezels are smaller and the display is “about 13 inches” then the machine will be significantly smaller. If the machine is about the same size and the bezels are smaller, then the display will be larger.

The fundamental question is whether the no-adjective one-port MacBook is going to be the base model, or is Apple coming out with a new product to replace the MacBook Air. This report doesn’t answer that question.

Apple is also planning the first upgrade to the Mac mini in about four years. It’s a Mac desktop that doesn’t include a screen, keyboard, or mouse in the box and costs $500. The computer has been favored because of its lower price, and it’s popular with app developers, those running home media centers, and server farm managers. For this year’s model, Apple is focusing primarily on these pro users, and new storage and processor options are likely to make it more expensive than previous versions, the people said.

It’s good to hear that a new Mac Mini is imminent, but again, what are the details? What makes it geared toward “pro users”? What does it look like? The current MacBook Air and Mac Mini are ridiculously old and obviously need to be updated, but this report has no actual information on what these updates will entail.

Update: I’m not trying to be hard on Gurman. Assuming everything in this report is true — and I’d bet that it is — these are both legitimate scoops. A new MacBook at the $999 price point and a new Mac Mini are both genuine news. But there’s no way around the fact that this report raises more questions about both products than it supplies answers. Is the new MacBook an updated MacBook Air with a retina display and smaller bezels, or the existing 12-inch MacBook with a lower price? Or is it the no-touch-bar MacBook Pro with a lower price? Or something else entirely? We don’t know, and this report doesn’t say. How can Gurman know these things are imminent but not know the details about them? Or maybe he does know the details but can’t say? At a meta level I find this fascinating.

Monday, 20 August 2018