If you've been planning on buying a Mac notebook, especially their thinnest Air model, maybe you should wait until summer when Apple is rumored to summon the next-generation MacBook Air. Apple is readying a new MacBook Air model and plans to launch it in June, possibly at its high-profile annual developers conference in San Francisco. Citing "a source familiar with Apple's plans," CNET reported today that the $999 ultrathin notebook is up for a Sandy Bridge overhaul, which would mark a major break and step up in performance from three-year old Intel Core 2 Duo processors being utilized in current MacBook Air models.
Apple updated the notebook last October with an all-new thinner design, two USB ports, higher-resolution display, faster solid state flash drives, and glass trackpad. In addition, the update brought a smaller and cheaper 11-inch model to the Air family. The news comes on the heels of the previous rumor calling for refreshed MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks purportedly landing on store shelves in March.
Apple, which traditionally refreshes MacBooks twice a year, may have chosen to delay the new notebooks until Intel sorts out the mess with Sandy Bridge chipsets. The $1 billion recall of Intel's B2 stepping 6 Series Express chipsets has affected the entire computer industry which hoped to spur spending by launching new machines with the latest Core 2011 processors.
That wasn't the case due to a "design flaw" Intel discovered in chipsets. In some cases, it degrades the Serial-ATA port performance over time, potentially leading to data loss and reducing the performance or functionality of SATA-linked devices such as hard disk drives and DVD units.
The Cupertino firm now has to sit quiet until Intel delivers a silicon fix which won't be available in greater quantities before April, with late February availability for first samples. Apple received preferential treatment from Intel in the past. For example, Apple had been first to incorporate Intel's then unreleased ultra low-voltage processor inside a notebook, the original MacBook Air.