We didn’t get a new 12-inch MacBook in 2018, and because the latest thin-and-light from Apple has been out for nearly 2 years, we’re ready for a sequel.
On paper, the MacBook 2017 was exactly what we’d been asking for since its reincarnation back in 2015. Apple’s signature Butterfly keyboard was better than ever while it also experienced a dramatic boost in power, thanks to the 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake Y-series processors.
However, now that we have Amber Lake processors that feature better performance than their 7th-generation Kaby Lake predecessors – we expect the MacBook 2019 takes a huge leap over the 2017 model. Hopefully it’ll be as dramatic as the new MacBook Pro.
So, be sure to keep this page bookmarked, and we’ll update it with any new information that comes our way.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next 12-inch MacBook
- When is it out? Hopefully sometime in 2019
- What will it cost? Presumably the same as current models
MacBook 2018 release date
None of the most recent reports, rumors or leaks give any idea as to when we’ll see the 2019 MacBook. Of course, we’ll gladly speculate based on the previous three releases of Apple’s 12-inch laptop.
In 2015, Apple released the first MacBook during April, directly following a March keynote. That’s a largely odd time for Apple to release a device, but that obviously didn’t happen this time.
However, Apple went all of 2018 without releasing a new 12-inch MacBook, and while we initially thought the blame was on Intel’s 14nm shortage – the Cupertino behemoth had no problem putting out the MacBook Air 2018.
So, maybe we’ll see the MacBook 2019 in the Spring, like we saw with the 2018 iPad for education? Either way, we’ll see the new MacBook when Apple decides its time.
MacBook 2018 price
Right now, we think that Apple will launch the MacBook 2019 around the same price as the current models.
This is another aspect where we’ll have to speculate based on the current pricing of the MacBook. The entry-level MacBook will run you $1,299, £1,249 or AU$1,899 to start. Only one more model, with more storage and power, goes for another 300 to 450 bucks on top of that. However, there is speculation that Apple is going to be releasing a cheaper 13-inch MacBook, but that turned out to be the new MacBook Air.
With the pricing so tight here, amounting to minute differences in hardware between offerings, we probably won’t see a price drop. The only way we see the current version of the MacBook budging in price is if Apple introduces more capacious storage or higher power options, which will send the price up, rather than the opposite.
For the MacBook price to come down, or for Apple to release a cheaper MacBook model alongside more expensive version, something has to give. Apple could lower the memory down to 4GB from 8GB, but we don’t think that’ll happen. Instead, we believe the only way we’ll see a cheaper MacBook 2019 would be a MacBook with a 128GB SSD instead of starting with 256GB.
We’ll look out for new rumors and update this article as soon as the MacBook 2019 price begins to crop up as we inch closer.
What we want to see in MacBook 2018
All of this uncertainty surrounding a possible MacBook 2019 release is fertile ground for a well-crafted wishlist.
So, while we wait for any kind of official word from the Cupertino behemoth, here’s what we hope to see Apple improve about the MacBook for 2019.
MacBook 2018 keyboard and screen
Throughout 2018 there were plenty of rumors that Apple was planning on making a MacBook with dual screens. One of these screens would be a capacitive touch keyboard. We’ve seen a recent rumor that the touchscreen keyboard would have raised glass and haptic feedback, so it feels as much like a traditional keyboard as possible. However, it’s easy to expect this to raise the price in any MacBook that implements it.
Even if this touch-screen keyboard doesn’t make its way into the 2019 MacBook, that doesn’t mean the Butterfly mechanism keyboard won’t be improved upon. Apple has recently admitted that some of the keyboards in recent MacBooks are faulty – and will even repair them for free. That’s why we’re pretty sure that the MacBook 2019 will feature the same third-generation Butterfly keyboard as the new Macbook Pro and MacBook Air with a membrane that makes it less prone to jamming up.
More ports, please
One of the biggest problems with the 12-inch MacBook, ever since its initial launch has been the sheer lack of ports. With only one Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port and a headphone jack, this absolutely needs to change in the MacBook 2019. Maybe just one more port?
We’ve already seen Windows laptops accomplish this feat, like the Huawei MateBook X with its two USB-C ports. Even the similarly priced MacBook Pro has two. Maybe there’s room for a microSD card reader too, but that may be pushing it.
Costing what it does, Apple really needs to inject some more power into its 12-inch MacBooks.
Then again, the MacBook has consistently used energy efficient Intel Core ‘M’ and ‘Y’ series CPUs up to this point, we wouldn’t bank on seeing full-fat Ultrabook processors, as they’d generate too much heat for the tiny chassis.
But, now that Amber Lake Y-series CPUs have been launched by Intel, we’d like to see Apple shove these latest 8th-generation processors into the new MacBook. but those are essentially old tech already, we’ll just have to see.
We’ve also seen some rumors that Apple is planning on crafting an ARM-based MacBook at some point, and if the iPad Pro 2018 is any indication, we could definitely see this happening. Apple would just have to work out some kinks in getting macOS to run on an ARM system.
It’s also safe to assume that Apple will shove its T1 or T2 processor into the MacBook 2019 – as it has with all of its latest Macs.
Since the 12-inch MacBook doesn’t have a Touch Bar, it’s safe to assume that if one of these co-processors is implemented, it will be used for the automatic wake and ‘Hey Siri’ functionality presently exclusive to the iMac Pro, MacBook Air 2018 and MacBook Pro 2018.
The Apple MacBook already feels remarkably sturdy in hand, but over time it can become covered with scratches – even if you are extremely careful. Luckily, Apple has recently filed a patent that details plans for making ‘indestructible’ hardware, through some unique coatings. Not only will this be a great option for a premium device that most users won’t upgrade for four to five years, but it’ll keep the MacBook looking as gorgeous as the day you opened it.
We don’t know if this patent will ever surface, but this approach along with the improved Butterfly keyboard found in the MacBook Pro 2018 could make the MacBook 2019 a much more durable device.
Stronger audio and video
Speaker performance and webcam quality are two corners that Apple obviously cut through in crafting the MacBook. With the MacBook 2019, this needs to stop. Tinny speakers and a sub-HD webcam for a laptop this expensive simply isn’t acceptable.
All Apple needs to do is simply beef the webcam up to 1080p, like its price tag suggests, and problem solved. The speakers, though, are a problem we don’t necessarily have a solution for. Supporting the speakers with down-throwing bass modules in the base might work?
- These are the best Macs that 2019 has to offer so far
Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this report