MacBook Air due for refresh

Sandy Bridge processors and speedy Thunderbolt connections are expected for an updated MacBook Air this summer.

Apple this month will start to mass produce the next generation version of the MacBook Air, according to AppleInsider.

The Apple website got an exclusive report from Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stating that Apple placed orders for "a total of 380,000 Sandy Bridge-based 11.6 and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs." Kuo says 55 percent of those will be the popular 11.6-inch model.

Kuo's announcement is the latest in a series of rumors pointing to updated notebooks from Apple making an appearance sometime this summer.

Kuo in April told AppleInsider that new MacBook Air models would be coming soon. In May, rumors circulated that the new notebooks would be packing Sandy Bridge processors and the speedy Thunderbolt connections.

AppleInsider points out that Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing highlighted the MacBook Air's success during the company's WWDC presentation of Mac OS X Lion.

Updated MacBook Airs make a lot of sense after Apple's announcement of its new iCloud service. The notebook is clearly designed to be portable and in some cases considered an iPad alternative. Some people are saying that pairing the device's smaller capacity, faster flash storage with iCloud's wireless data syncing and Lion's iOS-like features may turn out to be Apple's next big thing.

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