Posted on April 11, 2016
Apple Has Probably Killed the ‘Air’ Brand
I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that Apple will never release a new 1 product with the ‘Air’ branding again.
For starters, the words ‘Light’ and ‘Professional’ are no longer a dichotomy, though they were when the original MacBook Air was launched in 2008. For Apple to achieve the the title of ‘World’s Thinnest Notebook’ they had to compromise on performance and expansion slots. It was a very niche and expensive product, only for people with the primary priority of portability. In 2016 – where nearly all products from Apple and competitors are thin and light – Apple’s distinction of ‘Air’ is redundant.
It’s also obvious that buyers of the MacBook Air no longer have weight as their primary priority, otherwise they’d buy the 12” MacBook, or a thinner Windows laptop like the HP Spectre. Most people are buying it either because it’s a cheap Mac, for the slanted keyboard 2, or because it’s halfway between the 12” MacBook and the MacBook Pro in terms of performance/portability. 3
Though the launch of the iPad Pro 9.7” a few weeks ago was the last nail in the coffin for the ‘Air’ branding, it has exactly the same weight & dimensions as the Air 2, but Apple renamed it to the ‘Pro’. But why did they bother with the ‘Air’ branding in 2013 if the ‘Air’ brand had been redundant for so many years? And if they knew they’d release the Air-less 12” MacBook less than 2 years later? I have a probable explanation:
Way back in September 2014 I reported that Apple was planning a new 12” ‘MacBook Air’ with a USB Type-C port and multiple colour options, but a few months later I heard that Apple would actually market it as an entirely new brand – which turned out to be true. It’s possible that within that timeframe Apple realized that ‘Air’ historically signals compromise to the customer. By removing the ‘Air’ brand, Apple can contrast their MacBook lineup as Good vs Better (MacBook vs MacBook Pro) rather than “Meh” 4 vs Good (MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro).
Although Apple have been rumoured to launch new MacBook Air’s this year, I’ve been given strong indication from a source that’s not going to happen. It’s more likely that Apple will launch new MacBook Pro’s that are thinner (at thickest point) and lighter than the current MacBook Air models. Therefore, the 2016 13″ MacBook Pro will be the equivalent of the Retina MacBook Air that everyone was waiting for.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Or via Twitter:
Apple Has Probably Killed the ‘Air’ Brand: https://t.co/p0AHYYOg2G
— Jack March (@JackGMarch) April 11, 2016
- “New” meaning redesigned, I expect Apple to continue selling the MacBook Air and wouldn’t bet against CPU upgrades.
- Some people find the MacBook Air’s keyboard easier to type on because it’s slanted.
- I’d counter argue that the current MacBook Air is only 14% lighter than the MacBook Pro, a negligible difference for the Retina Display and performance increase.
- I know the MacBook Air is arguably better than the MacBook, I’m referring to the ‘Air’ brand rather than the product itself.