We first heard a report of an ‘entry-level’ 13-inch MacBook back in January. That was backed by Ming-Chi Kuo in March, who suggested that it would be branded as a new MacBook Air

Kuo says that he expects Apple to release a new MacBook Air “with a lower price tag” […] which will help push MacBook shipments up by 10-15 percent this year.

A couple of reports suggested that the machine would debut in June, which obviously didn’t happen. What’s been reported so far is that the machine would have a lower price than the current MacBook Air, which starts at $999, and have a Retina display. If true, that would be a big deal given that the current 12-inch MacBook starts at $1299.

A Digitimes report today mentions the rumored machine in passing. It references research into Compal Electronics, a contract manufacturer of laptops for a wide range of brands.

Despite a cut in orders from Dell, Compal will see a dramatic ramp-up in orders from HP in the third quarter, the research report discloses.

But Quanta’s shipments are expected to also rise above 10 million units in the fourth quarter thanks to orders for Apple’s new inexpensive notebooks.

No further details are provided.

Apple’s current MacBook Air has been rather neglected by Apple, with a core design which has remained unchanged since 2010, and with no major update since 2015. Despite its dated form factor and performance, however, its price means it’s still a popular choice for those new to Mac.

While it had at one time appeared that Apple was waiting until it could get the 12-inch MacBook down to the MacBook Air price level, these reports appear to be suggesting that the company is instead effectively aiming to create the new iBook.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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