Last fall, Apple finally updated the MacBook Air. In doing so, it made choosing the best entry-level Mac laptop far more complicated than necessary. The Air was directly pitted against the 12-inch MacBook and the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro (sans Touch Bar). There was no clear-cut best option: There was too much feature overlap, and no one machine was a winner in all regards.
Fortunately, Apple simplified things quite a bit last week by discontinuing the 12-inch MacBook and updating the Air and entry-level Pro. The Air simply got a $100 price drop and a True Tone display, but changes to the Pro were more extensive. But after about two years of status quo, the $1,299 MacBook Pro got some substantial changes: It now has an eighth-generation Intel quad-core processor, better speakers, a True Tone display and the controversial Touch Bar with Touch ID. Oh, and both laptops also have Apple's supposedly more reliable keyboard design, which the company first introduced in May.
Now it's a lot easier to compare these lineups. If you want to save cash and aren't working on processor-intensive tasks, the Air is probably for you. But if you require more horsepower, the MacBook Pro's quad-core processor is a major improvement for an extra $200.