The MacBook Air’s name no longer makes sense

The new MacBook Air.
The new MacBook Air.
Image: Apple
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At Apple’s press event in New York today (Oct. 30), the company unveiled a revamped MacBook Air, its first redesign of the laptop in years.

When the Air was first unveiled a decade ago, there were audible gasps in the audience when Apple founder Steve Jobs pulled the slim laptop out of a manila folder. It was a massive shift from the chunky laptops Apple had been producing up to that point—it was very light, fast, and affordable (at least by Apple’s standards). As current CEO Tim Cook said onstage today, it has inspired the design of all Apple laptops since.

But the Air had been neglected by Apple’s design team recently, as the company released new MacBook Pros, and a laptop called the MacBook in 2015, which many saw as the spiritual successor to the Air. Today’s redesign brings the Air into the same design language as its siblings, including an HD Retina display, a new wider keyboard and trackpad, and a TouchID fingerprint scanner.

But the new Air is a confusing one. It starts at $1,199—that’s $200 more than the old model, and only $100 less than the MacBook. It’s also not the lightest laptop Apple makes, as the name suggests: The Air weighs 2.75 pounds, whereas the MacBook weighs 2.03 pounds. (The Air also only weighs 0.27 pounds less than the MacBook Pro.)

The Air was traditionally Apple’s lightest laptop, and the only one that started at under $1,000. It is now no longer either of those things. Early indications suggest it’s going to be quite a decent laptop, but perhaps Apple should’ve thought about naming it something else.