The MacBook Air 2017 might prove to be Apple's most well-rounded laptop yet.

The MacBook Air 2017, And How Apple Could Recapture The Budget Market [Opinion]

With the introduction of last year’s MacBook Pro series, it appeared that Apple was set on its way towards permanently retiring the MacBook Air. Unfortunately, the retirement of the beloved ultrabook also appeared to signify Apple’s departure from the budget market, especially since the most affordable updated laptop from Apple is the 2016 12-inch MacBook, a device that is the pinnacle of portability, but one that has taken far too many compromises with regards to its design. Unlike the MacBook Air, however, the 12-inch MacBook is an expensive device, starting at over a thousand dollars for a model with a Core m3 processor and 8GB of RAM.

There is just something endearing about the MacBook Air. Maybe it’s the fact that it was one of the last products that went in development under the watchful eye of the late Steve Jobs. Maybe it’s the fact that, even after all these years, the MacBook Air is still one of Apple’s most popular laptops. Maybe it’s the fact that despite being outgunned by rivals and its own siblings in the Mac lineup, the Air’s battery life is still practically unbeatable. Regardless of the reason, however, one particular thought crossed the minds of all Apple fans last year — it’s still far too early to retire the MacBook Air.

It would be no exaggeration to state that the MacBook Air was created by an entirely different Apple. Since the death of Steve Jobs, the Cupertino-based tech giant has mainly focused itself on keeping the status quo, as shown in its conservative upgrade cycles and its tendency to stay within the safe zones of design. A perfect example of this would be the iPhone 7, one of the world’s most advanced mobile phones that is, for some reason, stuck in a three-year-old chassis. Even the Apple Watch, arguably the first post-Jobs device that the tech giant released, proved to be a moderate success.

The MacBook Air could be considered as a device from the past that has remained so stable, it continued to be a formidable competitor well into the future. Its design might be outdated, but the sheer practicality of the device, especially its capability to last as long as 14 hours on a single charge, ultimately gained the MacBook Air a devoted set of users, according to MacWorld. Users who, used to the design approach of the aging laptop, could not adapt to the compromised design choices of Apple’s most recent machines.

If rumors are any indication, however, Apple might give the MacBook Air an extended lease on life, with the tech giant speculated to give the beloved ultrabook a spec boost for 2017. Considering that Apple’s laptop lineup is expected to feature Intel’s Kaby Lake processors and 16GB of RAM across the board, there is a good chance that the Air would receive a similar upgrade as well, according to a TechRadar report. This, of course, would likely make the MacBook Air more popular than ever before.

The MacBook Air, after all, does not utilize a Core M processor like the 12-inch MacBook. Instead, it uses a Core i-series chip similar to those utilized by the MacBook Pro. Coupled with 16GB of RAM, the MacBook Air 2017 would pack a powerful wallop. Add the device’s sub-$1,000 price to the equation, and Apple has a formidable entry into the bang-for-your-buck segment of the laptop market.

It is quite a shame that Apple has neglected the MacBook Air for so long. Nevertheless, if Apple does choose to put a little effort in updating its most versatile, budget-friendly laptop in the market, there is no doubt that the Cupertino-based tech giant would see a spike in its notebook sales. There is, after all, nothing in Apple’s lineup that really matches up with the MacBook Air’s balance of portability, power, design and price.

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