I guess it’s no surprise. Several websites were reporting that Apple was going to discontinue the MacBook, and Apple has now removed the 13-inch Intel Core 2 Duo powered laptop from it’s main website as of yesterday, July 20, 2011.
This was the last of Apple’s polycarbonate (“plastic” as some call it) laptops as well as the last Apple laptop powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.
Have no fear though, Apple is not abandoning the under $1,000 laptop market. It’s clearly positioning it’s $999 11-inch MacBook Air, and what an upgrade it is from the MacBoook. With an Intel Core i5 CPU and with a Thunderbolt port allowing for high resolution displays, super fast peripherals and mass storage, it’s a natural progression for Apple.
One big change between the MacBook and 11-inch MacBook Air besides the materials – the display, while being smaller on the MacBook Air, is actually of a higher resolution and better quality. There is still the 13-inch MacBook Air, but it starts at $1,299. There is also the loss of the optical drive, although Apple has been moving down this road with the MacBook Air, and now the Mac mini. There are USB DVD drives available everywhere, including Apple’s own external USB drive.
While the MacBook was targeted at students, the MacBook Air should be a suitable fit – it’s smaller, more powerful, and has a better battery life.
That’s not to say the MacBook isn’t still available. Amazon still has MacBooks from other retailers and you should be seeing MacBooks popping up in the Refurbished and Clearance section of Apple’s online store. And for those students and educational institutions that prefer the MacBooks or need optical drives, MacRumors is reporting that Apple will still make them available for educational instituations.