Over the last few years, the MacBook Air has become the forgotten member of the Apple laptop lineup. The device's spiritual successor, the MacBook, was first introduced in 2015, and the Air hasn't received a meaningful refresh since then.
But according to a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), the MacBook Air isn't dead just yet. Kuo says that Apple will be introducing cheaper models of the PC later on this year. Currently, the Air starts at $999.
And while that's the most budget-friendly MacBook that Apple sells, it's really hard to justify the price, when compared to pretty much any other portable PC at that price point. The newest model still uses Intel's fifth-generation 'Broadwell', while modern PCs are using seventh- or eighth-gen chips at this point. The 1440x900 display is antiquated by any standard, and the Thunderbolt 2 port isn't doing it any favors either.
But Kuo - who has an excellent track record when it comes to Apple rumors - didn't specify what changes a new MacBook Air might have aside from the lower price point. It's possible that there will be newer processors, although you probably shouldn't bet money on that. When Apple refreshed the MacBook Pro with seventh-gen 'Kaby Lake' chips, it refreshed the Air, but still with Broadwell.
The other thing that many users will be hoping for is a Retina display. This is also unlikely, considering the price drop. It would seem that Apple wants to keep the MacBook Air in its lineup as an entry level model, but it's not exactly going to give it its best effort. For the MacBook Air, the writing has been on the wall for some time.