MacBook Air 2019 update could include 10th-gen Intel processors

Will Georgiadis
2 Sep 2019

A report published by Forbes suggests that Apple has a big hardware refresh up its sleeve for later this year

Apple might be preparing to update last year’s MacBook Air line with tenth-generation Comet Lake processors from Intel. Speaking to Forbes, analyst company IHS Markit explained that Apple is looking to update the Air in 2019, and although it was reluctant to share details, the firm claimed that this update will involve Intel’s new chipset.

In actual fact, IHS Markit reported that the MacBook Air update would make use of Intel’s Amber Lake chips, which is the current generation of Intel processor. The confusion arose simply because Intel is referring to certain tenth-gen cores as “formerly Amber Lake Y”.

Intel was quick to clarify that the processors referred to in the Forbes article were indeed of the Comet Lake variety. Sadly for everyone involved, the manufacturer declined to confirm or deny the validity of IHS Markit’s claims with regards to the 2019 MacBook Air refresh, which to me only seems to lend them credence.

Last year, Apple launched a new line of MacBook Air products, bringing the lightweight range up-to-date by adding Retina displays and Touch ID fingerprint sensors. On the processor front, Apple opted for Intel’s 8th gen i5 CPUs, leaving 2018’s MacBook Air a little short-staffed in comparison to its competition; when faced with the likes of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2, the Air falls short on processing power.

Our review of the MacBook Air 2018 confirmed as much, praising the design updates whilst questioning the benefit of making cuts in the hardware department. There was a slightly cheaper 2019 refresh, but it merely added a TrueTone display and changed the way the keys worked.

Forbes points out that the tenth-gen Comet Lake laptop processors share similarities with the Amber Lake Y processors for which they were confused by IHS Markit. Both chips reportedly share the same power envelope, or thermal design properties (TDP); in short, the new Comet Lake chips are an ideal replacement for the Amber Lake Y chips. It just so happens, furthermore, that the MacBook Air 2018 uses those very same Amber Lake processors.

There’s a chance this update will rear its head at the Apple event in Cupertino on 10 September, where the iPhone 11 will (almost certainly) launch. While Intel remains mum on the subject, we’re hoping and praying that the report is accurate: Apple’s gorgeous ultraportable has long been the runt of the litter on the specs front.

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