A recent intriguing report on Apple’s upcoming MacBook strategies suggests that the company is working on a more budget-friendly MacBook model, potentially priced even lower than its MacBook Air lineup. This move appears to be a response to Google’s Chromebook, with the new MacBook possibly hitting the market next year.
Apple’s most affordable MacBook available at present is the 2020 M1 MacBook Air. Nevertheless, a recent report from Digitimes, as noted by iMore, has disclosed that Apple is actively working on a budget-friendly MacBook series intended to rival Chromebook models in the education sector. This new MacBook series could potentially launch as early as the second half of 2024.
As per the report, Apple is poised to introduce a distinct product line for its budget-friendly MacBooks in order to set them apart from the existing MacBook Air and Pro series. This cost-effective approach will involve the use of more affordable materials for the laptop’s outer casing and less expensive mechanical components. The ultimate goal is to offer a more affordable option, primarily targeted at the education market as a competitor to Google’s Chromebook.
Apple’s typical timeline for transforming an idea into mass production is approximately nine months. However, there hasn’t been any noticeable activity in the supply chain regarding this project. Consequently, it’s safe to assume that this MacBook is still at least nine months away, making it highly improbable that the product would be released in the first half of 2024.
The report highlights that Apple’s iPad lineup presently represents its most budget-friendly offerings for students. Nevertheless, “industry experts” have pointed out that even Apple’s top-notch iPads designed for students fall short of Chromebooks in terms of ease of use and pricing competitiveness.
Therefore, it appears that a cost-effective MacBook might offer a solution. However, entering this market could present significant challenges. According to iMore’s research, the top-selling Chromebooks on Amazon US are all priced around $200, with the priciest option being the HP X360 at just $263. Even a “low-cost” MacBook is unlikely to match these price points. Therefore, Apple will need to employ more than just competitive pricing to attract students to its offerings.