Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) MacBook Air has not aged well, and hasn't been particularly competitive in terms of hardware for a few years now. Meanwhile, it's been nearly four years since the Mac maker updated the Mac Mini, its entry-level diminutive desktop. We know that Apple is working on a new Mac Pro, after its rare admission last year that the current version had some design flaws; the company recently released the iMac Pro in the meantime in order to cater to its professional user base.
It sounds like Apple is preparing to release a new affordable MacBook alongside a revamped Mac Mini.
Two new Macs are coming
Bloomberg reports that the new MacBook will look like the MacBook Air, but will feature thinner bezels around a high-resolution Retina display. The MacBook Air is the only laptop that Apple currently sells that uses a traditional display, after transitioning almost every other product to Retina displays over the years. The MacBook Air is in dire need of an overhaul, as it was released in its current form way back in 2010 and only received intermittent spec bumps.
A new Mac Mini that is also intended to satisfy professional user demands is expected to be released later this year, according to the report, although professional-geared upgrades could push up the price of the desktop computer. The current Mac mini starts at $500 and was last upgraded in 2014.
The Mac installed base is at an all-time high
Mac unit sales have been sluggish recently, with Apple selling just 3.7 million units in the fiscal third quarter, down 13% year over year. Apple attributed the decline to a tough comparison, as the year-ago quarter included an update to its popular MacBook Pro. Last quarter was the first time since 2013 that quarterly Mac unit sales came in below 4 million.
Of course, PC replacement cycles have been steadily getting longer and longer, but refreshing the most affordable Macs would undoubtedly help stimulate demand. The $1,000 MacBook Air is popular among college students, for example.
However, Apple also noted on its July earnings call that the overall Mac user base is still growing at rapid clip, and that the company continues to win over customers that are new to the platform. "We were very happy to see double-digit year-over-year growth in our active installed base of Macs to a new all-time high, with nearly 60% of purchases during the quarter coming from customers who are new to Mac," CFO Luca Maestri said.