The next-generation MacBook Air will have an 11-inch screen and an ultra-low voltage (ULV) Intel Core i-series processor, according to the Taiwan-based publication DigiTimes
. The report - which as is usual for DigiTimes
cites "upstream component makers" - also echoes increasingly-common rumors that the new iPod touch released this year will have a camera. The report says that the refreshed MacBook Air would be produced in relatively few numbers, with only 400,000 slated to ship by the end of the year.
If the report is borne out, it would move the MacBook Air to almost netbook size, althouugh at a very significant price premium compared to most ultraportables: Apple's lightest notebook starts at the hefty price of $1,499 US. The DigiTimes story, with credit to senior analyst Mingchi Kuo, claims that the new Air will be thinner and lighter than the current model. The computer will supposedly also have a ULV Intel CPU, possibly the Core i5-560UM that was seen in a leaked Intel roadmap back in May
. Other persistent rumors, such as a 3G chip
, or more SSD options, were not mentioned in the report.
The Air has always occupied a strange position in Apple's product lineup: performance like the low-end MacBooks but priced near the MacBook Pro. It's done reasonably well, but it's far outsold by the mainstream models. If it does in fact only ship in limited quantities this year, it could indicate that the smaller MacBook Air may be a specialty model, or a trial balloon to test consumer demand. Analysts have been challenging Apple for years
to come out with some sort of netbook, though the company has persistently ignored those calls. With a lower cost chip, Apple could reduce the price somewhat, but it's unlikely we'll ever see sub-$500 Apple netbooks.
Kuo also claims that the fourth-generation iPod touch expected this fall will have an A4 processor and a 3-megapixel camera. Though other rumors
have said that the touch will have two cameras, with a front-facing sensor allowing FaceTime support
, but Kuo didn't refer to a second camera in his report. The next generation iPod touch is expected in August or September, when Apple has traditionally refreshed the iPod line.