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Apple could be working on an affordable MacBook to rival Chromebooks

The lower cost MacBook would be launched as a new lineup, and could arrive in the second half of 2024.

Published onSeptember 5, 2023

apple macbook air 15 inch closed
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • A new report suggests that Apple is working on a lower-cost MacBook that would primarily compete against Chromebooks.
  • The new laptop would be part of a new MacBook lineup focusing on the education sector with lower-priced options than current MacBooks.
  • This new device could launch as early as the second half of 2024.

Chromebooks have grown to exert considerable influence over the education sector. Thanks to their low cost, which comes from running the cloud-centric Chrome OS, they have become quite popular in schools. You can get some great Chromebook options for less money than you would need to spend on a Windows laptop or a MacBook. Apple has apparently taken note of this market reality, as a new report suggests that the company could release a new MacBook line to compete with Chromebooks.

According to a report from Digitimes citing industry sources, Apple is working on a new low-cost MacBook series aimed at the education sector and primarily targets Chromebooks as its rivals. This laptop will be launched as a separate lineup from the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro.

As for what would let Apple achieve a lower price, the new laptop lineup could continue using a metal casing but made of different materials. Other components are also expected to be budget-centric.

The report qualifies the above by noting that Apple’s major suppliers have shown no signs of manufacturing activity just yet. Since Apple follows a development cycle of nine months for going from development to mass production, the earliest the laptop could launch is the second half of 2024.

apple macbook air 15 inch wallpaper
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Apple’s apparently renewed interest in the education market makes sense. The K-12 education sector of the US is lucrative post-pandemic, where the demand for online education has boomed and remained at higher levels. Further, familiarizing students with an OS is a strong base for future product opportunities. Apple once targeted this market with the iPad but has since ceded ground to Chromebooks thanks to their lower cost and ease of use in the envisioned educational use cases.

It remains to be seen just how Apple develops this lower-cost MacBook and if it intends to sell the product beyond the US. The new laptop would have to significantly undercut the cheapest 13-inch M1 MacBook Air (currently priced at $999) to justify its existence in the first place.

Depending on the specs, you can get top-end Chromebooks within the $700-$1,200 price range, while education-centric Chromebooks typically target the $150-$300 price bracket. Apple will have to seriously figure out how to bring the pricing down to win over the education sector.

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