Apple Refreshes MacBook Air, Pro for Back to School, Kills 12-inch MacBook


Apple today updated the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro as part of its Back to School promotion for college students. It has also stopped selling the last-gen MacBook Air with a non-retina display (but a better keyboard) and the 12-inch MacBook with just a single port.

The MacBook Air's update is the addition of its True Tone technology, which is supposed to adjust the display's colors based on ambient lighting, to the 13-inch MacBook Air's Retina Display. That isn't much of a change, but the price drop to $1,099 ($999 for students) could make up for the lack of exciting updates to the entry-level MacBook Air.

Apple made a few more changes to the MacBook Pro. The new model features a 13-inch Retina Display with True Tone, an upgrade to quad-core Intel 8th Gen Core processors, and the Apple T2 Security Chip used to bolster the company's other security features. It also saw a price drop to $1,299 ($1,199 for students) as well as the addition of a Touch Bar.

Most of those changes should be welcome--who doesn't want more cores?--but the Touch Bar might be controversial. Apple had to remove the Function keys from the MacBook Pro's keyboard to accommodate the new input. The Touch Bar has many of the same functions (pun intended) but it's effectively a software replacement for hardware controls.

Of course, both of these laptops come with butterfly keyboards. The company was reportedly set to go back to those switches with a new MacBook Air.

There's still time for Apple to announce new MacBooks later this year, however, with today's announcement simply allowing it to cash in on the back-to-school market. The company is reportedly planning to introduce a MacBook Pro with a 16-inch display, and the MacBook's disappearance from the Apple website could mean it's getting a significant update later.