Why an affordable MacBook actually makes sense

Apple's MacBooks top several of our laptop roundups, not least the best laptop for graphic design. But with great power comes a great price – MacBooks aren't cheap. Which makes the latest Apple rumour somewhat surprising.

As per new reports, Apple is planning a new, low(er) cost MacBook designed to compete with the likes of Google's Chromebooks. The machine could pack the M1 chip and potentially bring back an older design, such as that of the discontinued 12-inch Macbook. 

A top down view of two M1 MacBook Air laptops.

The M1 MacBook Air is currently Apple's cheapest laptop (Image credit: Future)

According to everyone's favourite Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo (below), Apple is planning to reveal a new MacBook as soon as 2024, designed to be differentiated from the current Air and Pro models. The current cheapest model is the M1 MacBook Air, which still starts at a (fairly whopping) $999.

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Apple has just announced a new event this month, titled Scary Fast, where it is expected to unveil powerful new MacBooks featuring the rumoured new M3 chip. These are expected to be partly pitched at gamers, with Apple recently showing a renewed interest in the field – the iPhone 15 Pro is the first to be compatible with several AAA titles such as the latest Assassin's Creed entry. In other words, we probably won't see a 'budget' MacBook this week.

Apple clamshell G3 design

Don't hold your breath for the return of one of these (Image credit: Future)

Kuo claims Apple's more affordable MacBooks will adopt some design changes, potentially featuring "different materials" to the current models (hey, with the Y2K aesthetic back with a vengeance, perhaps we'll get another colourful transluscent "clamshell" iBook? (Yeah, probably not.) 

But whatever Apple does reveal next year, if the price is right, it's easy to imagine it topping our list of the best laptops for students. With Apple's prices getting higher against the backdrop of a cost of living crisis, it's no wonder that so many students are opting for the likes of the Chromebook. It's clear from the iPad line up that Apple appreciates the importance of more affordable options – the 9th generation iPad starts at just £369. And with Apple constantly trying to remind us that the iPad is a computer, it makes sense for its computers to become a little more iPad-like in price.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.