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Apple's MacBook Air: Not dead, but exactly the same

The MacBook Air is staying just the way it is, but Apple wants you to consider upgrade options.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you were looking for a new MacBook Air, well, you didn't get one, exactly. The 13-inch Air remains. It's right there on Apple's website, same as always, after Apple's October Mac event.

But there's a successor Apple wants you to buy: another laptop, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, that's thinner and smaller -- a model without a fancy new Touch Bar or Touch ID. It's being positioned as a middle step, a 'tweener option.

The larger Air, meanwhile, remains the same: no Retina, same processor and storage, starting at $999, £849, AU$1,549. But the 13-inch Pro starts considerably more expensive, at $1,499, £1,449, AU$2,199. Of course, there's also the 12-inch MacBook at $1,299, £1,049, AU$1,999, but which only has one USB-C port.

That new Touch Bar-free 13-inch MacBook Pro certainly seems like a worthy Air successor, but it's not the same thing. The keyboard's different (that is, shallower). There are different ports. MagSafe is gone. There's a Retina Display, though, and a faster processor, and it has a smaller footprint. Battery life, rated at around 10 hours by Apple, might be a little less than the incredible 13-inch Air battery.

If you're not happy, you'll have to deal with it. But Apple didn't really update the Air after all -- it just offered lots of alternatives.

Check out the rest of CNET's coverage of all of today's Apple news.