Apple has not done much with its ultra-thin MacBook Air in recent years, opting to slim down some of its other offerings instead. But the Air is reasonably popular, and according to Apple analyst KGI Securities, the company is reportedly planning to release a cheaper model at some point in the second quarter of 2018.
Details are scarce at the moment but 9to5Mac noted that this corroborated a sketchy claim from Digitimes. It does not mean Apple will redesign the MacBook Air, it gave the system just a modest spec bump back in June 2017. It may have reasons to make a more substantial update this year, however, Apple might not have much choice to upgrade to a modern processor thanks to Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities.
There is also the question of ports, while plenty of people still rely on USB-A peripherals, it is hard to see Apple keeping the connector on laptops for much longer when the MacBook Pro and 12-inch MacBook both rely exclusively on USB-C.
Another big question is whether or not Apple can move past the Air's old 1140 x 900 display, which is not very competitive when many newer laptops have 1080p displays with richer colours. Apple still has to lean on the Air whether or not it wants to move on, and that means making the system attractive enough to reel in buyers who would balk at the prices for other Mac portables.