Apple made some changes to its line of MacBooks last week, bringing two updated models to its lineup. The updated MacBook Air added a True Tone screen and dropped the starting price by $100, to $1,099. Otherwise, it's the same overhauled 2018 model that came out last fall, which added a Retina Display, Touch ID, butterfly keyboard and Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports.
In the 13-inch MacBook Pro ($630 at Amazon) line, meanwhile, Apple overhauled its entry-level model. $1,299 now buys you a quad-core Intel processor (up from dual-core), along with the Touch ID and Touch Bar features that were previously reserved for models starting at $1,799. Those pricier models offer faster Intel processors, and four Thunderbolt ports rather than two -- but hey, it's a nice upgrade if you can live without a hard escape key.
But with those two new models came four casualties from the line. In the interest of streamlining the buying process, Apple axed:
- The "classic" MacBook Air with full-size USB ports, dedicated video output, and even an SD card slot. The ports were arguably more versatile, sure, but the processor and non-Retina display were severely out of date. Still, it had its fans -- and sold for $999.
- The 12-inch MacBook, which was the smallest and lightest model in the line.
- The 2018 version of the Air (the one that's nearly identical to the 2019 model, except for its lack of a True Tone screen).
- That older dual-core MacBook Pro. Though slower than its siblings, the so-called "MacBook Escape" carved out a niche for folks who eschewed the Touch Bar in lieu of a dependable old row of function keys (including that glorious escape key).
The new MacBooks are primed and ready for back-to-school season (students get $100 discount and even a free Beats headphone with some models). But if you're not ready to deal with the controversial butterfly keyboard, you can still buy all four discontinued devices from the retailers listed below. The current prices range from $440 (refurbished) to more than $1,000 brand new, depending on storage configurations.
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The 'classic' MacBook Air
This model, with its non-Retina screen, is still available through buyers in the education channel. But consumers can still find it, too -- both new and used.
Yes, it had only a single USB-C port, it was underpowered if you were doing anything work-oriented and it was the originator of that controversial butterfly keyboard way back in 2015. But in some ways, it was a great "writer's laptop," too. We're skipping the older (slower) Core M, Core m3 and m5 models, and linking only to the newer "Core i5" versions below.
13-inch MacBook Pro (sans Touch Bar)
Can't deal with a Touch Bar? The venerable "MacBook Escape" can still be yours.
MacBook Air 2018
This is the updated MacBook Air that was just introduced last fall. All you're really missing compared to the new 2019 model is the True Tone screen.
What do you think about the new MacBook changes? Let us know in the comments.