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Apple Refreshes MacBook Air, Pro for Back to School, Kills 12-inch MacBook

Apple today updated the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro as part of its Back to School promotion for college students. It has also stopped selling the last-gen MacBook Air with a non-retina display (but a better keyboard) and the 12-inch MacBook with just a single port.

The MacBook Air's update is the addition of its True Tone technology, which is supposed to adjust the display's colors based on ambient lighting, to the 13-inch MacBook Air's Retina Display. That isn't much of a change, but the price drop to $1,099 ($999 for students) could make up for the lack of exciting updates to the entry-level MacBook Air.

Apple made a few more changes to the MacBook Pro. The new model features a 13-inch Retina Display with True Tone, an upgrade to quad-core Intel 8th Gen Core processors, and the Apple T2 Security Chip used to bolster the company's other security features. It also saw a price drop to $1,299 ($1,199 for students) as well as the addition of a Touch Bar.

Most of those changes should be welcome--who doesn't want more cores?--but the Touch Bar might be controversial. Apple had to remove the Function keys from the MacBook Pro's keyboard to accommodate the new input. The Touch Bar has many of the same functions (pun intended) but it's effectively a software replacement for hardware controls.

Of course, both of these laptops come with butterfly keyboards. The company was reportedly set to go back to those switches with a new MacBook Air.

There's still time for Apple to announce new MacBooks later this year, however, with today's announcement simply allowing it to cash in on the back-to-school market. The company is reportedly planning to introduce a MacBook Pro with a 16-inch display, and the MacBook's disappearance from the Apple website could mean it's getting a significant update later.

  • velocityg4
    Gotta love Apple's CPU price game on the Macbook Pro lines. I doubt there's more than a $40 difference in CPU's between the $1,299 and $1,799 models. I guess the other $460 is for double the SSD space and two thunderbolt ports.
    Reply
  • apone
    velocityg4 said:
    Gotta love Apple's CPU price game on the Macbook Pro lines. I doubt there's more than a $40 difference in CPU's between the $1,299 and $1,799 models. I guess the other $460 is for double the SSD space and two thunderbolt ports.

    Agreed and I remember back in the early 2010's when DDR3 RAM was dirt cheap. Apple was charging $200 - $300 for 16GB RAM upgrades when an 8GB stick was about $28 and 16GB was $55.
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    apone said:
    Agreed and I remember back in the early 2010's when DDR3 RAM was dirt cheap. Apple was charging $200 - $300 for 16GB RAM upgrades when an 8GB stick was about $28 and 16GB was $55.

    That's when I built the desktop I still use. 16GB was far more than I needed but it was so cheap. I didn't realize how good a deal I was getting until prices skyrocketed. Nor did I ever think a system would last so long. All these years later and it is still very fast (as good as a Coffee Lake i3). It'll probably still be chugging along fine for another five years.
    Reply