It’s not clear which MacBook laptop to buy anymore

Maybe this one?
Maybe this one?
Image: Apple
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Earlier today (Oct. 30), Apple released a new, confusingly named, MacBook Air. It rounds out the lineup of laptops that Apple has been releasing since 2015, with the launch of the MacBook.

But along with the 13-inch MacBook Pro that it released in 2016, Apple now has three laptop models that are roughly the same size, and all look pretty similar.

To the average buyer who walks into an Apple store and sees these three machines next to each other, they’re likely not going to be sure which one is right for them. And it’s not entirely clear what the answer is:

There are some slight differences between the models: For example, the Air is the only one of the three to feature Apple’s TouchID fingerprint scanner, and the MacBook only has one USB port, while the others have two. But realistically, there isn’t much difference between the three devices.

Given that Apple hasn’t updated its MacBook since July 2017 (it refreshed the internals on the MacBook Pros this summer), it’s possible that it plans to phase the laptop out and return the Air to its rightful place as the company’s budget laptop. And given that it’s now charging $200 more for an Air than it was previously, there’s a case to be made that Apple’s entry-level laptop is now, in fact, the new $800 iPad Pro it also introduced today. It’s a lot easier to understand which iPad Pro to get, given that there’s only two of them.