Apple to release new Mac mini, low-cost laptop

Tim Cook new Macbook USB C USB-C

Getty Stephen Lam

Although it's not clear whether this new MacBook will also carry the "Air" moniker, Bloomberg reports it will come with small bezels and Retina display.

Apple reportedly hasn't forgotten about the tech pros that want Macs.

Apple is prepping the long-awaited return of the Mac Mini and MacBook Air, giving both computers their first major refresh in several years, according to a new report today. The new MacBook Air will be geared toward consumers looking for a cheaper Apple computer, but also schools that often buy laptops in bulk.

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Apple releases its new Mac models in October, and it looks like this year is going to be a pretty exciting one. That was initially expected to be the 12-inch MacBook, but Apple's combination of high-end, fanless hardware and slimline design - not to mention switching to USB-C alone - priced that notebook out of the range for would-be Air upgraders. This adds more smoke to an ever-growing fire, as an August 17 report tipped Apple's hand on a "13-inch cheap MacBook" that was "originally set to be released in the fourth quarter of 2017". As a true HD screen became a must-have on any laptop, the Air started losing favor, and when the 13-inch MacBook Pro was redesigned to be thinner and the 12-inch Retina MacBook introduced, it was completely squeezed out. The new products, though unconfirmed by the Cupertino company itself, would finally bring updates to some of the oldest products in Apple's portfolio.

It's been over four years since the Mac mini received any kind of update, but rumors suggest a new one will arrive this year at long last. It's a Mac desktop that doesn't include a screen, keyboard, or mouse in the box and costs US$500. The company hasn't upgraded the Mac Mini in years, and the upgraded device is expected to include new processor and storage options. The computer has been favored because of its lower price, and it's popular with app developers, those running home media centers, and server farm managers.

As the market slowly weans off tablets, Apple is choosing instead to focus on its higher-end models and will shower this year's iPad Pro with new features and functions.

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