Apple to take on Chromebook with "low-cost" MacBook even cheaper than the Air

M1 MacBook Pro
(Image credit: Future)

An enticing new report into Apple’s future MacBook plans has revealed the company may be developing a “low-cost” MacBook that’s even cheaper than its MacBook Air series to compete with Google’s Chromebook, and it could arrive next year. 

Apple’s current cheapest MacBook offering is the M1 MacBook Air from 2020, however, a new report from Digitimes seen by iMore has revealed that Apple “is reportedly developing a low-cost MacBook series to compete with Chromebook models in the education sector that could be released as early as the second half of 2024.”

According to the report, Apple “will likely launch a new product line for its low-cost MacBooks to differentiate it from the existing MacBook Air and Pro lines.” Cost savings will be made by using a cheaper material for the laptop’s metal outer shell, and cheaper mechanical components, all combining for a lower price “aimed at the education market” and Google’s rival Chromebook.

 Low-cost MacBook? 

Apple reportedly needs around nine months to take an idea from product development to mass production, but there’s no sign of any movement on the supply chain yet. This means that such a MacBook is at least 9 months away and as such “chances the product would launch in the first half of 2024 are unlikely.” 

As the report notes, Apple’s iPad lineup is currently the most affordable product set it offers to students, however “industry observers” have noted that even Apple’s best iPads for students are lagging behind Chromebook because they’re allegedly not as easy to use, and “they cannot compete with Chromebooks on price.” As such, it seems that a low-cost MacBook could be the solution. However, it could prove a difficult market to crack. All of the best-selling Chromebooks on Amazon US, according to iMore research, are priced at around $200, with the most expensive offering an HP X360 for just $263. Even a “low-cost” MacBook is likely not going to stoop this low on price, so Apple will need to rely on more than just pricing to lure students to its cause. 

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9