New MacBook Air models 'on the way'

Reports from Far East suggest launch is coming, but don't say when

MacBook Air

MacBook Air

Apple is preparing to refresh its MacBook Air line-up with a new model, it has been claimed.

Digitimes reports that revenue at Quanta Computer, which manufactures the MacBook Air for Apple, is expected to grow "with Apple set to launch a new MacBook Air model".

However, it is unclear whether the new model will be a new addition to the family - rumours have suggested that Apple is planning a 15in thin-and-light laptop with solid-state storage and no optical drive , though some believe this to be a completely redesigned MacBook Pro - or if Apple is planning to upgrade the existing MacBook Air line-up with new components.

Apple last refreshed the MacBook Pro line-up in July 2011, and it is expected that any new MacBook Air models will utilise Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture, which has not yet been officially unveiled.

Many manufacturers of ultrabooks - Windows-based thin-and-light laptops intended to compete with the MacBook Air - are said to be awaiting the availability of Ivy Bridge processors and chipsets before launching new models, with Samsung, Dell and other big names said to have new ultrabooks nearing launch.

However, Intel is likely to let Apple get the jump on rivals by using Ivy Bridge processors first. Reports from earlier this month suggested that mass shipments of Ivy Bridge processors had been delayed, though, which means new Macs might not see the new architecture until June.

It is expected that the Ivy Bridge processors destined for the MacBook Air will run at 2GHz and 1.8GHz, and be known as the i7-3677U and i5-3427U respectively.

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Ben Camm-Jones

Macworld U.K.

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