Apple designs a low-cost MacBook, a more professional Mac mini

Apple Inc. will launch a new laptop and a low-cost professional update focused on the Mac mini desktop before the end of the year, ending the drought of Mac computers that have limited sales from the company's oldest line of devices, according to company. with people known by the plans.

The new laptop will look like the current MacBook Air, but will include thinner frames on the screen. The screen, which will remain at 13 inches, will be a high-resolution version of "Retina" that Apple will use in other products, people said. They asked not to be identified in products still under development.

The current MacBook Air, which costs $ 1,000, remains the only Apple laptop without a high-resolution screen. The MacBook Air was last updated with a faster processor option last year, but has not seen a major overhaul in several years. The 12-inch MacBook launched in 2015 was seen as a replacement for the MacBook Air, but the initial price of $ 1300 put it out of reach for some consumers. The new MacBook Air will be aimed at consumers looking for a cheaper Apple computer, but also for schools that often buy laptops in blocks.

When Apple releases new Macs in the fall, it often does so in October, after the release of the new iPhone. The company plans to introduce three new iPhones, Apple Watch with larger screens and the new iPad Pro later this year, other people are familiar with the plans.

The Mac has been a constant seller, accounting for over 11% of Apple's sales in the last fiscal year, before the iPad. However, some loyal users have complained that recent updates have not met their professional needs. Apple has tried to solve this problem by launching a high-end iMac Pro and a new MacBook Pro with an updated keyboard and faster processor options.

However, in the third fiscal quarter of this year, the company said it had sold 3.7 million Macs, the lowest amount in a quarter since 2010. And Apple is lagging behind other companies in the education market . Chromebooks, cheaper laptops that work with the Google Chrome operating system, accounted for 60% of devices sent to K-12 US educational institutions in the last quarter of 2017, according to Futuresource Consulting Ltd.

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"HP and Lenovo have launched products with a price similar to that of MacBook Air, gaining market share and remaining competitive at that price level, we believe that a change in the form factor is needed," said Cross analyst Shannon Cross Research. "It should help them recover some of their Mac sales, since things have become a bit complicated in terms of the Mac line, as they have clearly focused on the iPhone and service companies."

The shares of the Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo Group Ltd. decreased by 2.8% before closing the day on the downside, while the Hang Seng index gained a bit. Quanta Computer Inc. and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. constitute the current generation of MacBooks and will also do the next generation, they said that people are familiar with Apple's plans. According to analysts, Apple represents about a third of Quanta's revenue.

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Apple is also planning the first Mac mini update in about four years. It is a Mac desktop that does not include a screen, keyboard or mouse in the box and costs $ 500. The computer has been favored by its lowest price, and is popular among application developers, those who run the multimedia center and server farm. administrators. For this year's model, Apple is focusing primarily on these professional users, and the new storage options and processors will make it more expensive than previous versions, people said.

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 to classify files and the ability to run iPad applications such as Apple News. The company is also planning a new version of Mac Pro, the company's most sophisticated Mac, for next year, Apple said.

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