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Apple discontinues 12-inch MacBook

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Apple has stopped selling the 12-inch MacBook just four years after introducing the laptop as the slimmest in its lineup. The previous generation MacBook Air — the one without a Retina display — is no longer available in Apple Stores either.

The 12-inch MacBook had not been updated in two years, but it still filled a spot that stood out from other models: it was thinner and lighter, though that also came with being less powerful.

At $1,299, its price put it directly up against the entry-level MacBook Pro, which outperformed it, with only a small gain in weight and size.

Apple appears to see the new MacBook Air (the redesigned model with a Retina display) as the MacBook’s replacement. The Air is not as thin and light, but it is more powerful.

And perhaps more importantly, Apple has been able to get the Air’s price down: as of today, it is  selling for $1,099, making it the clear entry-level option.

Along with dropping in the 12-inch MacBook, Apple also updated the entry-level MacBook Pro today, making it so that all models now include the Touch Bar.

That makes an even clearer difference between the two laptop lines, though it also means that, for anyone who wants a MacBook with a physical Escape key, you’re now locked into picking the new Air.

While the non-Retina MacBook Air is no longer available through Apple’s consumer-facing stores, the company will still be selling it through education channels and resellers. That means it is not  gone entirely, but Apple is clearly directing customers to the updated model.

The laptop’s disappearance means it’s the long-overdue end of an era for the non-Retina MacBook Air.

That laptop helped Apple reshape the laptop market, but the company’s design leadership waned as Windows laptop makers moved onto high-res displays, touchscreens, and convertible form factors while Apple took its time bringing even just a higher-resolution screen to its consumer-level MacBooks.

Apple continued selling the non-Retina Air for years as an entry-level offering, at $999, but it has  been an increasingly dated choice. Now that the new Air is close in price, Apple has finally cut it off.

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