MacBook Air Refresh Nears
The week has kicked off with reports that Best Buy has suspended the ordering of MacBook Airs from its online store. All MacBook Air models on the Best Buy site are now listed as “Not Available for Shipping”, Apple’s online store still lists the notebooks shipping in 24 hours.
The news today is just another nail in the coffin of the current MacBook Airs. Last week DigiTimes reported that “Makers in the upstream supply chain for Apple notebook products will run in full gear starting July preparing needed parts and components for the vendor’s new MacBook Air models”. The same sources estimate that Apple will take delivery of over eight million MacBook Airs in the third quarter, a very suspicious figure as Apple only shipped four million units across all its Macs in Q211.
As July nears, so of course does the release timeframe of Apple’s OS X Lion which will ship with over 250 new features and be a major part of Apple’s Mac sales strategy moving forward. It has been suggested from a number of sources that Apple could wait until a point where it can pre-load OS X Lion on any new Macs that it is shipping, so that the crucial upgrade comes pre-loaded on all new models.
The refreshed MacBook Airs are expected to move to Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors. Apple’s MacBook Pro models already make use of Intel’s Sandy Bridge product catalogue but they use the 25 to 25 watt variety, Intel has recently released ultra-low voltage processors that consume only 17 watts, something that is far more suitable to the ultra-thin and long battery life of the Air.
As listed by CNET earlier this month Intel’s new ULV Sandy Bridge processors come in three varieties, running at speeds from 1.7GHz to 1.8GHz and all featuring dual cores.
In addition to updating the processor speeds of the MacBook Air, Apple may also bump the size of the in-built SSD. Currently the MacBook Air’s internal storage ranges from 64GB to 256GB, it has been suggested that this could be pushed to 512GB. Apple is also likely to include ThunderBolt connectivity, the change would require very little work from Apple has the current range of MacBook Airs include a MiniDisplay Port connector.