Apple can win me back with a true budget-priced MacBook

I have a confession to make: I prefer Windows to macOS. I recognize all of the advantages that Apple’s operating system has over Microsoft’s, especially for someone who does what I do for a living, but after switching back and forth between the platforms half a dozen times throughout my life, Windows has always drawn me back in. That said, if Apple really does release the rumored budget MacBook, I might have to reconsider.

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In recent weeks, multiple reports have pointed to the possibility of Apple launching an affordable line of MacBook models in 2024. In September, DigiTimes reported that Apple was working on a low-priced line of MacBooks to compete with Chromebooks in the education sector. On Tuesday, that report was seemingly corroborated by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said on X that “Apple may also consider (but hasn’t decided yet) introducing a more affordable MacBook model to boost shipments, with a target of 8-10+ million units per year.”

Two days later, yeux1122 on Naver claimed that Apple was developing two new budget-priced laptops. One is a 12-inch base model, and the other is a 13-inch educational model. There are also whispers that the new budget MacBooks could start at $700 or less.

Currently, the cheapest MacBook that Apple sells on its website is the M1 MacBook Air, which starts at $1,000. You could also snag a refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Air for $849. Not only is that significantly more expensive than virtually every Chromebook on the market, but that’s also about what I would pay for a decent Windows gaming laptop that suits my needs far better than a Mac. But slash a couple hundred dollars off the price tag…

For the past four years, I’ve been rocking an Alienware m15 as my primary computer. It barely fits in my backpack, it nearly gets hot enough to burn through my jeans, and it’s also obnoxiously loud. But I play a bunch of computer games, and my MacBook just was not cutting it. Shockingly, this laptop still runs about as well as it did the day I unboxed it, but the battery life is atrocious. I’d love to have a thinner, lighter backup to take with me when I travel or work anywhere other than my home. I’m just not going to shell out $1,000 for that privilege.

The problem is that the longer I go without a MacBook, the more I miss its perks. The trackpad on my Alienware is basically unusable. If I don’t bring a Bluetooth mouse with me, I might as well not even power the laptop on. I also can’t go anywhere without its gigantic behemoth of a power brick since it struggles to last longer than two hours fully charged.

Sure, I could buy a used MacBook Air today for around $700, but that comes with its own set of potential issues. I’d much rather buy a brand new MacBook for the same price, even if it means sacrificing a few features or Apple’s unmatched build quality.

What I’m saying is that if the market for a budget MacBook exists, I’m absolutely part of it.


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