According to supply chain sources for DigiTimes, Apple has postponed the production of its rumoured 2018 MacBook Air to the second half of 2018. This new version of Apple’s affordable MacBook was expected to go into mass production at this time, but Apple has already told its supply chain partners that this will not be the case.
The sources said that Apple has informed supply chain partners that mass production of its new notebook model for 2018 will not kick off until the second half of the year, yet without explaining the rescheduling move. Some partners speculated that the postponement might be caused by problems with some key components such as processors.
DigiTimes was the first to report on Apple’s intention to release a new cheap 13 inch MacBook, due in the second half of 2018, which would be a good replacement for the MacBook Air. Over two months later, Ming-Chi Kuo (former KGI Securities analyst) issued a research note claiming that Apple is set to release a “more affordable MacBook Air”.
Whilst he didn’t mention any information on what to expect in a refreshed MacBook Air, DigiTimes suggested that they may upgrade the display to a newer Retina display in order to generate more interest in a new lower-price MacBook Air.
Bloomberg has claimed that Apple is working on a new MacBook that costs under $1000, but they did not specify whether they believe that it will be a new MacBook Air or a new sub-$1000 MacBook. The current MacBook Air hasn’t seen any large changes in three years. In these three years, Apple discontinued the 11-inch model and boosted the base processor option – but it is still only a 2014-15 processor.
Apple’s original plan was to manufacture this new MacBook from April-June, hinting at a WWDC release, but news of the deferred production makes this release date seem extremely unlikely, with a September/October release being much more probable. As a result of this change in manufacturing date, some MacBook Air supply chain partners who had readied their material inventories to support the production now face a low capacity utilization before they begin to deliver shipments in the third quarter, according to sources of DigiTimes.