Why Apple still doesn’t offer MacBook Air with Retina display

“Another Apple event has come and gone, and there’s still no MacBook Air with a Retina display,” Jon Fingas writes for Engadget. “I won’t blame you if you’re frustrated — now that there’s a 5K iMac, the Air is Cupertino’s last screen-packing computer to ship without an extreme-resolution display. For that matter, competitors haven’t had qualms about releasing their own ultraportable laptops with extra-crisp visuals. So, what gives?”

“The company may not be offering answers, but it’s most likely that the technology needed to make a Retina-equipped Air simply isn’t ready for prime time. As much as Apple would like the Air to hop on the high-res bandwagon, it may have to wait until a whole bunch of pieces fall into place,” Fingas writes. “You can summarize the biggest problem with two words: battery life.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. any time apple does something new they always do it on a low volume product first. in this case, the iMac.

    when they first did unibody for Macbooks it was on the Macbook Air. a new laptop that didn’t sell very well for the first two years.

    1. Intel is just starting to roll out Core Processors, slightly less powerful than the i5 but much more energy efficient and they run much less hot. I’m guessing the next Airs will sport core M’s. The Yoga Pro 3 is the first on the market (coming out in just a few days) that has the core M.

  2. The 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina is almost a Macbook Air… only .5lb heavier and not much bigger.

    Be interesting how they approach this… I’m thinking next year it’s all ‘Air-Pro’. Not that they will call it that – but that they will merge and have one line, probably with the old Airs as cheaper alternatives for price points (similar to iPad line).

    1. My guess it that the 13″ MB Air (like mine) will be phased out (since as you point out the MB pro is similar but better specced), replaced by a 12″ retina unit and that the 11″ non-retina machine may be retained as a cheap-but-lovely ‘gateway drug’ to Mac OS / iOS nirvana.

    1. Lovin’ my new “whole enchilada” Mac Book Pro 15″ with 1Tb storage. Just installed Yosemite. Looks great so far. First thing I did though was go to “Accessibility” and click on the “Increase contrast” button to make the lines and some text just a little bolder and blacker. Nice! This machine is not being put to great use yet (as it will be soon) so I thought I’d give the new OS a go in this small down period.

  3. I think the answer is that the product line is about to change and placing a Retina in the MB Air is just not on the roadmap.
    If you can put a retina display in a 6.1mm iPad you can do it in a MB Air – so its not technical.
    The Air needs Flash memory but the Pro offers a choice. My guess is the Smaller MB Air will combine with the 13″ Pro to produce a single specced Air with Flash at sizes up to 512GB possibly more.
    The new portable will be the 12″ without being a clamshell and will be, of course flash memory.

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