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Apple to launch cheaper laptop

Some consider it the standard in laptops. Now Apple will release a new low-cost MacBook Air laptop and a professional-focused upgrade to the Mac mini desktop later this year. The move is seen as ending a drought of Mac computers that has limited sales of the company’s longest-running line of devices, according to people familiar with the plans.

The new laptop will look similar to the current MacBook Air, but will include thinner bezels around the screen. The display, which will remain about 13-inches, will be a higher-resolution “Retina” version that Apple uses on other products, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing products still in development. Apple spokesman Bill Evans declined to comment.

The current MacBook Air, which costs $1,000, remains Apple’s only laptop without a high-resolution screen. The MacBook Air was last updated with a faster processor option last year but hasn’t seen a major overhaul in several years. The 12-inch MacBook launched in 2015 was seen as a replacement to the MacBook Air, but its $1,300 starting price put it out of reach for some consumers. The new MacBook Air will be geared toward consumers looking for a cheaper Apple computer, but also schools that often buy laptops in bulk.

The Mac has been a steady seller, representing more than 11 percent of Apple sales in the last fiscal year, ahead of the iPad. However, some loyal users have complained that recent updates haven’t met their professional needs. Apple has sought to address this by releasing a high-end iMac Pro and a new MacBook Pro with an updated keyboard and faster processor options.

In addition to the new Mac models, Apple is preparing to launch macOS Mojave, a new version of its Mac operating system that adds new features for sorting files and the ability to run iPad apps like Apple News. The company is also planning a new version of the Mac Pro, the company’s most high-end Mac, for next year, Apple has said.

–Wire Services

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