MacBook Air update: Apple keeps budget-friendly laptop afloat despite thinner MacBook Pro 2017 models

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MacBook Air
Connections on the updated Macbook Air are pictured during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco, California June 11, 2012. Reuters/Stephen Lam

Apple had plenty to offer at the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). These include mild improvements to the MacBook Pro. Though most of the changes were already expected, one other variant got a slight nudge as well – the MacBook Air.

As mentioned in a previous post, the MacBook Pro 2017 hardly carried any surprises outside speculations dished out by analysts and critics. The most notable change was the chipset with the 2017 editions now sporting Intel Kaby Lake SoCs. It may not be much, but it somehow addresses the backlash against the 2016 model.

With attention on the HomePod, iOS 11 and other popular Apple devices, most failed to take notice of the MacBook Air. In the official press release, an update to the 13-inch MacBook Air was also revealed, though it was not that striking. The lightweight Apple laptop variant got a 1.8 GHz processor bump, hardly something to cheer about but nevertheless a welcome change. 

So what's the big deal with the processor jump for the MacBook Air? As most know, this Apple variant would become the alternative for cash-strapped users. Tech Crunch points out that Apple did introduce a thinner MacBook Pro, though it was still an expensive choice. The reason for that selling point is obviously because the Pro variants have features not present in the MacBook Air line. This means no Retina display, improved storage or even RAM bumps.

Seeing that the MacBook Air is still selling well, the Cupertino company may not yet be ready to pull the plug to appease cost-conscious folks. It still comes in handy for folks who prefer to work on a macOS-run device, not to mention something that would be easy to carry. Looking ahead, the MacBook Air may be walking a thin line as far as its future is concerned. 

Speaking of the MacBook Pro 2017 variants, the 13-inch version is sold at a curious price of US$1,299 (AU$1,719). Initially, it seemed like a bargain, an ideal option over the 12-inch variant. Factoring in the MacBook Air, it may be possible that Apple is slowly trying to woo customers since the price drop left many befuddled. 

There is a chance that Apple may have offered the price decrease for some other reason like a promotional offer. Looking at the future of the MacBook Air, it could be a way of breaking in buyers before the next MacBook refresh is made.