Apple just simplified its MacBook lineup by killing the 12-inch model and refining the Air and Pro models. This new simpler lineup is more straightforward and easy to understand than in recent years—still, you may want to wait to buy.
No More 12-Inch MacBook, But Touch Bars Added to Pro Models
The writing’s been on the wall for the 12-inch MacBook since last year, when Apple refreshed the Air, so now seems like the right time for Apple to officially kill it. The 2019 Air has an updated True Tone display (and lower price tag), making the 12-inch MacBook’s already-outdated specs seem even more ancient.
With the removal of the 12-inch MacBook from the lineup, everything is simpler again. It’s just the Air—the laptop for most people—and the Pro—the laptop for professionals. This new, less-convoluted lineup should streamline purchasing decisions at least slightly.
The base model MacBook Pro is also on the receiving end of an upgrade, as all Pro models now feature the Touch Bar and Touch ID. The good news here is that the price hasn’t changed for the base model—it’s still $1299—despite the upgrade in hardware. Nice.
But You Should Still Probably Wait to Buy
Apple’s new simplified MacBook lineup looks great and makes a lot of sense. But there’s still something that hasn’t been addressed yet: the keyboard.
As pointed out by The Verge’s Tom Warren, both the Pro and Air models are launching with the same Butterfly keyboard that’s been plagued with issues. Apple already updated its Keyboard Service Program to include these new models, which is pretty telling—if you buy right now, you’ll risk having keyboard issues down the road.
The word on the street is that Apple is expected to revamp the keyboard this fall, adopting scissor switches instead of the butterfly system. Why it didn’t move to this type of keyboard system (which has long been available) for these newly revamped model is anyone’s guess.
But either way, if you don’t want to risk ending up with a sketchy keyboard, it may be best to wait till later this year to pick up a new computer.