Thursday September 11, 2014 2:00 pm PDT by Eric Slivka
With Apple's Mac notebooks continuing to prove popular with consumers, the company has been rumored for some time to be working on a 12-inch notebook that could feature an ultra-slim form factor, Retina display, a new buttonless trackpad, and a fanless design. Rumors of such a machine have surfaced from several sources over the course of the past year, suggesting Apple has indeed been working on the device.
While such a machine has yet to debut despite early rumors of a mid-2014 launch, perhaps due to continued delays with Intel's next-generation Broadwell chips, a new report from Jack March of A Tech Website claims the machine remains in the works. According to the report, Apple appears to be targeting a mid-2015 launch for the machine and, most interestingly, the company is said be planning to offer it in the same silver, gold, and space gray colors used on its iPhone lineup.
The most fascinating part of this report is that Apple is also planning to change the colours for the first time with an Aluminium MacBook, the source says that Apple is planning to add Space Grey and Gold colours to their MacBook lineup, which would be consistent with the colours on the iPhone 6.
While the claim of multiple color options for this new notebook appears outlandish, MacRumors has reason to believe this information is correct and that Apple has at least considered launching the 12" notebook with several different "special edition" color options.
The report notes that timing for release of the new notebook has shifted several times as Apple has continued development, with that uncertainty also reflected in a recent report from Digitimes pegging the timeframe at a wide open "end of 2014 or in 2015."
Wednesday August 27, 2014 2:42 am PDT by Richard Padilla
Apple will launch a thinner MacBook near the end of this year or sometime next year, according to a new report from Digitimes. Citing supply chain sources in Taiwan, the report notes that component production has already begun in small volumes. Apple will also reportedly cease production of the 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro by the end of 2014.
A report last month claimed that Intel's continued delays of its Broadwell chip may cause Apple to push back the release of its 12-inch MacBook until late this 2014 or early 2015. The 12-inch MacBook is said to include a Retina display and may either be a successor to the MacBook Air or join Apple's current 11-inch and 13-inch models.
A previous report in June stated that Apple would begin production of a 12-inch MacBook Air in the third quarter of this year, with Quanta Computer in charge of assembly. The 12-inch MacBook Air was also described as appearing similar to the 11-inch and 13-inch models, but featuring a Retina display and internal changes to various components.
Other reports throughout the year have also shared information on a 12-inch MacBook Air, with NPD DisplaySearch and KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also stating that the new notebook would feature a Retina display. A user on a Chinese forum who previously shared accurate information noted that the 12-inch MacBook Air would incorporate a new cooling system and button-less trackpad design.
Monday August 11, 2014 1:25 am PDT by Richard Padilla
Microsoft today launched threenewads targeting Apple's MacBook Air and comparing the notebook to its new Surface Pro 3 tablet. All three commercials emphasize the Surface Pro 3's touchscreen multitasking features and expandable hardware, with each showing how the MacBook Air lacks similar functionality. The ads also end with the tagline "The tablet that can replace your laptop."
The first spot is titled "Crowded" and focuses on two narrators and how the Surface Pro 3 is a tablet and a laptop. When told about the Surface Pro 3 by the first narrator, the second claims that the tablet doesn't have the power of the MacBook Air's Intel i5 processor. The first narrator states that the Surface Pro 3 does have an equal processor, and shows off Microsoft Office, Photoshop, pen support and its touchscreen. The second narrator counters with showing off his own touchscreen (an iPad), and exclaims "I have a lot of stuff to carry." The ad ends with the first narrator saying "You are more powerful than you think", referencing Apple's recent"Powerful"ads for the iPhone 5s.
The second ad, named "Head to Head", features a direct comparison between the two, drawing a parallel between the 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM on each device. However, Microsoft once again emphasizes the Surface Pro 3's touchscreen, pen support and detachable keyboard, while the MacBook Air is shown to have none of those features.
The third ad "Power" starts off with a Mac user curious about a full version of Adobe Photoshop running on the Surface Pro 3, once again demonstrating the device's laptop and tablet capabilities. The narrator claims that the Surface Pro 3 is just as fast as the Mac, boasting a touchscreen with a kickstand along with a Mini DisplayPort and a USB port. The ad ends when the Mac user states "So you're saying it does more than my Mac?", and the Surface Pro 3 user going "Well, technically you said it."
Microsoft originally announced the Surface Pro 3 this past May, and also launched a program offering MacBook Air owners $650 to trade in their laptop towards the Surface Pro 3. In prior years, Microsoft has also released ads pokingfun of the iPad and comparing it to the Surface.
Apple has launched a new television ad for the MacBook Air, "Stickers," showing off an array of customizable decals placed over the Apple symbol on the back of the notebook.
Decals shown include various sunglasses, hats, and headphones, along with nods to Breaking Bad, Peanuts, Ice Age, Snow White, Pac Man, Chi the Cat, The Simpsons, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Tasmanian Devil, Hello Kitty, Catwoman, and Mickey Mouse.
There are also cameras, record players, trees, faces, cityscapes, planets, scuba divers, 8-bit games, a variety of abstract designs and patterns, and more, plus a Beats logo. The new spot ends with a side view of the MacBook Air and the tagline "The notebook people love." Apple has also posted a "Stickers" page on its website detailing some of the decals in the video.
A celebration of all the many ways people love the MacBook Air, featuring music from artist/producer, Hudson Mohawke.
Apple's MacBook Air, last refreshed in April of 2014, is known for its portability and ultrathin size, weighing in at 2.38 pounds for the 11-inch model and 2.96 pounds for the 13-inch model. The MacBook Air is also Apple's most affordable notebook, with prices beginning at $899.
According to the site, the device will not ship until late 2014 or early 2015 as it is expected to use Intel's 14-nanometer Broadwell chips, which have been delayed numerous times. The most recent rumors have suggested the U series Broadwell chips designed for use in Apple's MacBooks may not ship until February of 2015.
Apple's 12-inch MacBook, which is said to include a Retina display, has been described as a successor to the MacBook Air. Rumors originally pointed towards a fall 2014 launch date with mass production beginning in the third quarter.
News of the 12-inch MacBook first surfaced in October of 2013, with KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo describing the device as a MacBook with the portability of the 11-inch MacBook Air but the productivity of the larger 13-inch model, with a high-resolution display.
Rumors have also suggested the 12-inch MacBook will have a redesigned ultrathin chassis with a revamped trackpad design that doesn't incorporate a mechanical button as well as no fan assembly for quieter operation.
Along with the 12-inch MacBook, Intel's Broadwell delays are likely having an impact on several of Apple's planned product releases. The first chips designed for Apple products are not expected to begin shipping until early 2015, and the chips designed for the Retina MacBook Pro and the iMac may not ship until mid-2015, meaning Apple will be unable to launch significant product updates until the chips are ready.
Though the 12-inch MacBook is delayed, a separate report from Economic Daily News [Google Translate], suggests new 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air models are set to enter production next month with new processors, chassis, screen, and other components.
Intel's line of 14-nanometer Broadwell chips, which are expected to be included in future versions of the MacBook Air, Retina MacBook Pro, and iMac, have been further delayed, reports Chinese site VR Zone [Google Translate] (via CPU World).
According to the site, while Intel will begin production on its extremely low power Core M processors in July and August for a 2014 launch, production on the U and H Broadwell chip series will not begin until much later in the year.
As a result, the Broadwell U 2+3 dual-core chips with GT3 (HD 5000 or Iris) graphics, likely slated for use in the MacBook Air and the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, won't be ready to ship until February of 2015. The Broadwell H 4+3e quad-core chips with Iris Pro graphics designed for the larger Retina MacBook Pro and iMac won't be shipping until July 2015 at the earliest.
Back in May, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich promised Broadwell processors for the 2014 holiday season, but it appears that the promised chips will be limited to the company's Core M processor series, used in ultra low power products like two-in-one computers. Broadwell chips suitable for Apple products will not make their first appearance until 2015, which Intel essentially confirmed to CNET in June.
"We expect the initial Broadwell-based devices, including fanless 2-in-1s built on the Core M processor, will be on shelves by the end of this year with more products and broader OEM availability in 2015," Intel told CNET on Wednesday.
Intel's Broadwell chips have seen several delays over the course of 2013 and 2014, and were originally slated to enter production in late 2013 before production was delayed until Q1 2014 and then Q3 2014. The delays are reportedly due to problems with the 14-nanometer process used to manufacture the chips.
Intel's continual Broadwell delays are likely impacting Apple's own release plans. Rumors have suggested Apple is planning a fall launch of a refreshed Retina MacBook Pro and a new 12-inch MacBook Air, but it is unclear which chips the company will use. Apple may only be able to offer a minor Haswell processor boost for the Retina MacBook Pro, which will be the only update the line sees until Broadwell is ready. Apple has already given the MacBook Air a Haswell refresh bump alongside a price drop with an update in late April.
On the desktop side, Apple introduced a new low-end iMac last month, but otherwise the lineup has not been updated since last September. The Mac mini has not even been updated to Haswell yet, with its last revision coming in October 2012. It is unknown why Apple has not released updated Mac mini models, as appropriate Haswell chips are readily available.
Intel's Broadwell chips are said to be 30 percent faster and more power efficient than Haswell, offering even greater increases in battery life and performance. According to Intel, the Broadwell delays will not affect the company's next line of processors, Skylake, as the chips are based on new architecture. Broadwell, however, will have a very short lifespan as Skylake has a prospective late 2015 release date.
Digitimes reports that Apple's new 12" MacBook Air will enter mass production in the 3rd quarter of 2014. Quanta Computer is reportedly responsible for the assembly of the new machine which falls in between the 11" and 13" MacBook Air lines. Their sources have not heard of any changes to the existing 11" and 13" MacBook Air models.
Digitimes' sources were able to confirm some small internal changes to the machine, but the new MacBook Air is said to look similar to the existing models:
The 12-inch MacBook Air features some design changes such as the battery and the internal layout, while its industrial design will be similar to its existing counterparts using an unibody aluminum chassis, the sources detailed. Some market watchers expect the machine to feature a Retina display.
First word of a 12" MacBook Air came from NPD DisplaySearch and analyst Ming Kuo in October, 2013. Kuo described the new machine as thinner than the existing MacBook Air and that it would incorporate a Retina Display. A Chinese forum post from a user who had previously leaked accurate information added that the 12" MacBook Air would feature a "new trackpad design" without a mechanical button and that the machine would have no fan.
Previous rumors have predicted that the 12" MacBook Air will be announced between Q3 and Q4 2014, so approximately September/October of this year.
Macworld's Jason Snell provides a nice hands-on writeup about Apple's new OS X Yosemite. Snell focuses on the user-experience from a long term Mac user, focusing on the visual and usability changes of Mac windows. He notes the increased use of transparency and the varying implementation of title bars in many applications:
Overall, Snell feels that many of the design changes were done with Retina displays in mind:
For a while now, I’ve thought that 2014 would be the year that Retina spreads across the Mac product line. After spending time with Yosemite on both Retina and non-Retina systems, I’m more confident than ever in that guess. Yosemite’s new design feels like it was built for Retina displays: Thin Helvetica Neue replaces the long-serving but chunky Lucida Grande as the system typeface.
Apple first introduced Retina displays into the Mac line in with the Retina MacBook Pro in June, 2012. Since that time, Apple has been slow to extend Retina screens to the rest of their lineup.
The MacBook Air seems likely to be the next Mac to deliver a Retina Display. Signs point to a 12" Retina model later this year, and there has already been early evidence in Yosemite of Retina iMacs in testing.
French site MacBidouille revives rumors that Apple is actively developing ARM processor based Macs. According to a source that they describe as reliable, Apple has prototypes of several ARM-based machines, including an iMac, Mac mini, and 13" Notebook with 4-8 64-bit ARM Quad-core processors.
These machines are reportedly far along in development, and come with a new keyboard that incorporates a large-format Magic Trackpad. Apple might even be ready for an announcement but is reportedly hesitant to make the move.
MacBidouille isn't a frequent source of rumors, so its hard to gauge its source's credibility, but rumors of ARM-based Macs have been circulating for years. It seems likely that Apple has prototyped such devices, but many have doubted the feasibility of moving forward with such a plan.
The first inklings of such a plan might have come when Apple threatened to abandon Intel's chips if they didn't work to slash power consumption. While AMD might have been one way to go for Apple, the first rumors of an Apple migration from Intel to ARM processors appeared earlier that year. Later, a report claimed that Apple already had an ARM (A5) powered MacBook Air in their labs back in 2011.
An analysis in 2012 suggested that Apple shifting from Intel to ARM wasn't implausible but it faced several hurdles. The most significant one was Apple's own ARM chips being able to keep a pace with Intel's future roadmap.
Apple, however, has been making great strides in performance in their ARM processors. The A7 is described as desktop class even in an independent analysis. In fact, the A7 chip is currently being underutilized in Apple's iPhone and iPad devices, leaving some of its power untapped.
Monday May 19, 2014 3:18 am PDT by Richard Padilla
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has stated that Intel's next-generation Broadwell processors will launch during this holiday season, reports Reuters (via MacG).
"I can guarantee for holiday, and not at the last second of holiday," Krzanich said in an interview. "Back to school - that's a tight one. Back to school you have to really have it on-shelf in July, August. That's going to be tough."
Originally expected to launch in Q3 2014, Krzanich noted that new manufacturing technologies are responsible for the delays surrounding Broadwell, but maintained that Intel is now on schedule to ship its new chips to manufacturers later this year. The statement comes after a leaked Intel roadmap surfaced this past February, which appeared to show an uncertain timetable for Apple's 2014 Mac updates.
With Intel's Broadwell chips launching near the end of this year however, it is possible that Apple could either choose to wait until next year to integrate Broadwell chips into the Retina MacBook Pro or launch updated models with slightly faster Haswell chips. Apple updated its standard models of the MacBook Air last month with a faster 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor while cutting the price by $100.
It is also possible that Intel's new Broadwell chips could be used in the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air, which may coexist alongside or replace the current MacBook Air line. However, it is uncertain which specific chips Apple would use for the new notebook, as prior reports have pointed to the machine coming out towards the end of the third quarter.
As far as a next-generation iMac goes, Apple could also choose to hold off on an update until the appropriate Broadwell chips are out. However, a report last month claimed that Intel's faster Haswell desktop CPUs could arrive in May, with Apple perhaps launching updates sooner rather than later.
Apple is also rumored to have a low-cost iMac in the works, which could utilize more cost-efficient chips. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the low-cost desktop computer could boost sales in critical foreign markets and increase shipments by up to 30 percent.
Tuesday May 6, 2014 10:46 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
For many years, Apple has used different suppliers for the solid-state drives (SSDs) in its MacBook Air models, with drive performance varying among manufacturer brands. A recent study by Macworld demonstrated rather dramatic differences in SSD read and write speeds between tested 2013 and 2014 models, but at the time it was unclear whether the poorer performance for the 2014 models was still simply due to drive brand variances or if there was something specific to the 2014 machines causing an overall degradation in performance.
Other World Computing (OWC) has now performed some apples-to-apples testing between 2013 and 2014 models with SanDisk SSDs, and has found that performance is nearly identical.
In OWC's testing using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, the new MacBook Air model with a 128 GB SanDisk SSD reported read/write speeds of 705/315 MBps, while the 2013 version also with a 128 GB SanDisk drive scored similarly with read/write speeds of 711/316 MBps.
Macworld's testing of four machines (various combinations of 2013/2014 models at 11 and 13 inches) had included drives of two different capacities from three different manufacturers, making it difficult to determine the exact cause of the performance differences.
This variability in brand performance was noticed years ago, when Apple started using both Toshiba and Samsung SSDs in its MacBook Air models. Apple continues to use drives from different manufacturers in its 2014 models, including units from Samsung, Toshiba and SanDisk. How various batches of drives from the different manufacturers are assigned to various machines is unknown, and consumers are unable determine which brand of SSD is in their MacBook Air without opening the box and either booting the machine to examine system profile information or physically opening the machine.
Apple's new MacBook Airs are available from Apple's website beginning at $899, while the 2013 models are being sold at significant discounts through a number of retailers.
The newly released 2014 MacBook Airs are seeing improved processor performance thanks to updated Haswell chips, but storage performance appears to have declined.
In a series of performance benchmark tests performed by Macworld, tests of the flash storage suggested the new MacBook Airs are performing slower than the 2013 MacBook Airs. The comparison, which included a 2013 11-inch MacBook Air with a 256GB SSD and a 2013 13-inch MacBook Air with a 128GB SSD vs. a 2014 11-inch model with a 128GB SSD and a 13-inch model with a 256GB SSD, found that the 2014 models were twice as slow as the 2013 models at some tasks.
Copying 6GB of files and folders took 28 seconds on last year's 11-inch MacBook Air, but took nearly twice as long (54 seconds) on this year's 11-inch model. With solid-state storage, lower capacity drives are often slower performers, and last year's 11-inch had the higher capacity 256GB of flash. However, the new 11-inch model was also slower than last year's 13-inch model with 128GB of flash storage.
Compressing 6GB of files also took longer on the 2014 MacBook Air, and Macworld described unzipping as "just plain slow" with the new 11-inch version taking three times as long to unzip files as the 2013 model.
Using fewer but larger files, the performance difference narrowed between the two models, but the 2014 11-inch MacBook Air still performed 35 percent slower copying files than the mid–2013 13-inch MacBook Air with the same storage capacity and 53 percent slower when uncompressing files.
The Blackmagic Disk Speed Test also showed the new models running slower than the older models, with write/read speeds as follows (in MBps):
- 2013 13-inch with 128GB SSD: 445/725
- 2013 11-inch with 256GB SSD: 687/725
- 2014 13-inch with 256GB SSD: 520/676
- 2014 11-inch with 128GB SSD: 306/620
All four of the drives in the MacBook Airs tested came from different manufacturers, with two from Samsung, one from Toshiba, and one from SanDisk, which accounts for the performance discrepancies. Speed differences between SSDs used within Apple's MacBook Air computers have been highlighted before in previous models and as suggested in the past, while the speed variations may be noticeable in some high-intensity tasks, they are unlikely to be noticed during day-to-day usage.
Released earlier this week, the new MacBook Airs are available from Apple's website beginning at $899.
Wednesday April 30, 2014 10:48 am PDT by Juli Clover
Following the introduction of refreshed MacBook Airs yesterday, Geekbench 3 benchmarking scores have begun appearing, suggesting, as expected, just minor speed improvements for the new notebooks.
Apple only updated the low-end processor option for the MacBook Air and that is seeing 32-bit single-core scores around 2532 and multi-core scores around 4781. Compared to the 2013 MacBook Air the new processor brings just a slight boost in processing power. The 11-inch 2013 MacBook Air saw average scores of 2379/4480, while the 13-inch version saw scores of 2369/4468.
Single and multi-core Geekbench scores for the low-end 2013 MacBook Airs
Along with minor speed improvements, the new 1.4Ghz Core i5–4260U processor has also increased the battery life of some tasks, namely video playback, which has gained an extra hour on the 11-inch model and an extra two hours on the 13-inch model.
Most notably, Apple's update brought lower prices for the MacBook Air, dropping its price tag by $100 across the board in the United States and many other countries. MacBook Air prices now start at $899 instead of $999, and there are also several more affordable 2013 and 2012 options available in Apple's online refurbished store.
Though this update has not been a significant change for the MacBook Air, Apple is said to be working on a significantly improved version of the notebook with a 12-inch Retina display, a slimmer body with a fanless design, and a buttonless trackpad. This redesigned MacBook Air may launch towards the end of the year.
Tuesday April 29, 2014 1:05 am PDT by Richard Padilla
As indicated last week and yesterday, Apple today launched updated MacBook Airs, which feature faster versions of Intel's Haswell processors at $100 less for each model.
All standard models of the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air now come with a faster 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor along with the same 4GB of RAM. Both entry-level configurations of the 11-inch and 13-inch models now sell for $899 and $999 with 128GB of flash storage, while the higher-end 11-inch and 13-inch models now come in at $1099 and $1199 with 256GB of flash storage, respectively.
Build-to-order options include a 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor with up to 8GB of RAM on both the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs.
Apple is also rumored to be working on a 12-inch MacBook with a new ultra-slim design and a high resolution Retina display for later this year.
The updated 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs are available today through Apple's various retail locations and online store, with all standard configurations showing availability of "within 24 hours."
Update 1:28 AM: Apple's updated MacBook Airs are now available in its U.S. Online Store with each model now costing $100 less compared to the previous model.
Update 1:36 AM: Notably, the battery specs for both new models list slightly longer iTunes Movie playback times, with the 11-inch model jumping from 8 to 9 hours of playback and the 13-inch model jumping from 10 to 12 hours.
Update 6:08 AM: Apple has issued a press release announcing the minor update.
“With MacBook Air starting at $899, there’s no reason to settle for anything less than a Mac,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Macs have never been more popular, and today we’ve boosted the performance and lowered the price of MacBook Air so even more people can experience the perfect everyday notebook.”
The press release also highlights the significant increase in battery life for movie playback through iTunes.
Update 9:00 AM: Refurbished MacBook Air computers have dropped to all time low prices, with an 11-inch 2012 model available starting at $599. 2013 models are available starting at $719.
Earlier this morning, news of an imminent MacBook Air refresh surfaced, and now there are additional details on what we can expect from the update. As initially reported, the new MacBook Airs will include updated Haswell processors with no other specification changes.
As can be seen in an image of the new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Air specs provided to 9to5Mac, the notebook will offer a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, a very minor boost from the current entry level 1.3Ghz processor in the 13-inch version. Build to order models in both 11 and 13-inch varieties are expected to see the same minor processor improvements.
The MacBook Airs continue to offer the same amount of storage space, RAM, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and there has been no upgrade to Thunderbolt 2, which was included in the latest Retina MacBook Pro. The Airs continue to use Intel's HD Graphics 5000 and it is unclear whether updated Haswell processors will bring any boosts to battery life.
It is unknown when Apple plans to introduce the new MacBook Air computers, but it is possible Apple will take its online store down tonight in order to update inventory ahead of an in-store release tomorrow.
As was initially reported last week, Apple's updated MacBook Air may launch this week, possibly as soon as tomorrow.
Shipments of new 11 and 13-inch MacBook Airs are currently arriving in Apple Stores across the country, according to 9to5Mac, with plans to put the computers on display beginning tomorrow morning.
The MacBook Air refresh is expected to be minor and could arrive with little fanfare. Updated MacBook Air computers may include a slightly improved Haswell processor with a small speed boost and few other changes.
Tomorrow’s 11-inch and 13-inch Airs are codenamed J41A and J43A, respectively, and their SKUs are simply a variation to the current MacBook Air SKU labels. For example, the entry 13-inch MacBook Air of today is known as "MD760LL/A", while this week’s refreshed version is known as "MD760LL/B." It's unclear if Apple will even promote the updated Airs.
Though Apple is planning just a minor MacBook Air refresh for this week, the company is also said to have a second 12-inch MacBook Air in the works that will be released later in the year.
The 12-inch MacBook Air is expected to feature some major design changes in the form of a slimmer chassis without fans, a Retina display, and a buttonless trackpad.
It is unclear when tomorrow's updated MacBook Airs might make their first appearance, but it is possible Apple will take its online store down tonight in order to update inventory ahead of an in-store release tomorrow.
Thursday April 24, 2014 3:51 am PDT by Richard Padilla
Apple may be planning to update its MacBook Air line next week, according to a new report from MacGeneration [Google Translate]. Citing reliable sources, the website notes that references have been made towards new devices featuring screens of 11-inches and 13-inches, which are the current display sizes for the MacBook Air.
Apple last updated the MacBook Air in June 2013, which featured Intel's energy-efficient Haswell processors, faster PCI Express-based storage, and faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
If the claims turn out to be true, it is likely that a new MacBook Air at this point in time would feature a small speed bump among few other changes. As outlined by Intel's processor roadmap, Apple could choose to use a number of just-launched processors for an updated entry-level MacBook Air, including the 1.4 GHz i5-4260U, 1.4 GHz i5-4350U, or the 1.5 GHz i5-4360U.
Notably, the 4350U chip has been available since last year, but Apple elected not to use it in the current MacBook Air. It is also unclear as to what processor Apple would integrate into an updated high-end MacBook Air, as leaked roadmaps have still yet to show a direct successor to the current i7-4650U chip.
Multiplereports have also indicated that Apple is working on a brand new 12-inch MacBook Air for later this year. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the notebook is expected to feature a thinner design than the current MacBook Air, and utilize a fan-less cooling system, buttonless trackpad, and higher resolution Retina display.
While it is unclear how a 12-inch Retina MacBook Air would fit into the current lineup, analyst Daniel Matte argued that the laptop will be exactly 11.88'' in diagonal screen size, allowing Apple to offer a Retina Display (2732 x 1536, twice 1366x768) with the exact same PPI as the iPad Air (264 PPI).
Apple is also expected to update its line of Retina MacBook Pros during the third quarter of 2014 alongside the aforementioned 12-inch Retina MacBook Air.
In an extensive research note covering Apple's product roadmap for 2014, KGI Securities Ming Chi Kuo reiterated expectations that Apple is working on a ultra slim 12" MacBook Air but also revealed a new low-cost iMac in the works.
Kuo's predictions for the 12" MacBook Air match what was leaked in March from a reliable Chinese forum source. The new 12" MacBook Air will "redefine notebook user experience":
- Thinner than current models
- No fan
- Buttonless trackpad
- Higher resolution Display
We expect the unprecedented 12” model will boast both the portability of the 11” model, and productivity of the 13” model. The high resolution display will also offer the outstanding visual experience of the Retina MacBook Pro. The offering will likely be lighter and slimmer than the existing MacBook Air to further highlight ease of portability in the cloud computing era. We think the form factor will showcase a much improved clamshell structure, and that it will redefine laptop computing once again following the milestone created by the MacBook Air.
Besides the 12" MacBook Air, Kuo reiterates his earlier claim that a "low-priced" version of the iMac is coming. The new model will help compete with companies such as HP and Lenovo as well as grow market share in Asia.
The 12" MacBook Air is not expected until late 2014, while the low-cost iMac may come mid-year.
Wednesday April 9, 2014 4:29 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is set to release a slew of new products during the third quarter of 2014 according to KGI securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo, who often provides reliable information on Apple’s product lineup.
In a 2014 product roadmap, Kuo suggests Apple will introduce its first new product of the year, a lower-cost iMac, during the second quarter. Soon after, during the third quarter, Kuo predicts Apple will introduce an upgraded iPad Air and iPad mini, followed by an iWatch in two separate sizes, and a 4.7-inch iPhone.
An upgraded Apple TV set-top box will come somewhat later, as will the rumored 12-inch ultra slim MacBook and upgraded Retina MacBook Pros. Later, in the fourth quarter, Apple will introduce the 5.5-inch iPhone, which is said to be delayed due to issues with in-cell display technology. Along with his roadmap, Kuo also gives specific information on each of Apple’s upcoming products.
- iWatch: Kuo believes the iWatch will ship during the end of the third quarter, offering biometric functionality, integration with the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and a "fashionable appearance." As has been previously suggested, he predicts the device will come in two sizes, with a 1.3-inch and 1.5-inch flexible AMOLED display. It will also include a sapphire cover lens, biometric recognition, an NFC chip, wireless charging, a 200 to 250 mAh battery, and a slim and light design. Kuo also believes that Apple will offer the iWatch at multiple price points, with the most expensive version costing upwards of $1,000.
- iPhone 6: Supporting previous iPhone 6 rumors, Kuo believes the device will come in two sizes: 4.7 and 5.5-inches, with resolutions of 1334x750 (326ppi) and 1920 x 1080 (401 ppi), respectively. Both models will come with an A8 processor, 1GB of RAM, LTPS display panels, optical image stabilization, and Touch ID. Kuo points to a 10 to 20 percent narrower bezel, a 6.5–7.0mm thickness, metal casings, and NFC integration. Mass shipments of the 4.7-inch version are expected in September, with the 5.5-inch version shipping later. Kuo suggests that only the 64GB 5.5-inch version will use sapphire displays.
- iPad Air 2: The second-generation iPad Air is expected to adopt Touch ID, an A8 processor, and an improved camera with a resolution of eight megapixels. Kuo believes the second iPad Air could come earlier in the year than the previous iPad Air, which was released in October.
- iPad mini with Retina Display: Like the iPad Air, a new Retina mini could gain an A8 processor and Touch ID, but Kuo believes it will retain the same form factor. He also suggests that the older iPad mini with Retina display could be sold at a lower cost.
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro: Kuo believes that Apple is indeed working on a 12.9-inch iPad, but he does not expect it to be launched in 2014.
- 12-inch MacBook Air: As rumored, Apple is believed to be preparing an ultrathin MacBook Air that incorporates a touchpad without buttons and functions without a fan. It is also expected to include a higher-resolution display.
- iMac: A lower-priced iMac is believed to be on the horizon, which Kuo says could help boost iMac shipments by up to 23 percent. It could be Apple’s first product launch of the year.
- Apple TV: Apple is not expected to launch a full television set this year, but an upgraded set top box with an App Store and motion control technology is expected.
While Kuo’s predictions do include many rumors that have previously surfaced over the past several months from a variety of sources, his roadmap gives a solid overview of what we might expect from Apple in 2014. We've also broken out several of his predictions into individual posts that can be found here: iWatch, iPad, iPhone 6, MacBook Air.
Wednesday March 26, 2014 3:32 am PDT by Richard Padilla
Apple is gearing up to release new MacBook models in 2014 including a MacBook Air with Retina Display, according to a new report from DigiTimes citing supply chain sources. The story notes that while some Taiwan-based supply chain makers are expecting MacBook shipments in 2014 to fall to 10 million units, others are projecting higher numbers with the belief that Apple's will refresh of its notebook line later this year and release a Retina MacBook Air.
However, other Taiwan-based supply chain makers hold the opinion that 2014 MacBook shipments estimates may not be accurate because Apple will launch new models in the second half of 2014. Apple will reportedly launch a MacBook Air with Retina display, the makers said.
Last week, a forum post from a previously accurate source on Weiphone.com claimed that the MacBook Air would be updated soon, with new MacBook Pros to be released in September. Most notably, the report claimed that both will be accompanied by the release of a new slim 12-inch MacBook, which will come without a fan assembly and feature a redesigned trackpad.
It is also possible that the new MacBook Air mentioned in the report and the slim 12-inch MacBook mentioned in the forum post could be the same laptop, which would fall in line with a report from NPD DisplaySearch last year claiming that Apple is planning to introduce a 12-inch MacBook Air in 2014. That report added that the 12-inch MacBook Air would come with an ultra-high resolution 2304 x 1440 display, and was corroborated by the reliable Ming-Chi Kuo.
The post also comments on Apple launching a larger iPad with a near 12-inch screen, however a report earlier this month claims that the project has since been put on hold due to development hurdles and incompatibilities with the existing iOS ecosystem.
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