Rumor: 11.6-inch MacBook Air on the way

Frequent rumor source DigiTimes is reporting that Apple plans to release a new MacBook Air later in 2010.

Frequent rumor source DigiTimes is reporting that Apple plans to release a new MacBook Air later in 2010. According to a brief article published Thursday, the revamped MacBook Air will feature an 11.6-inch screen, a ULV version of one of Intel's Core-i series processors, and be even thinner than the current MacBook Air.

DigiTimes quotes one of its internal analysts as saying, "The 11.6-inch MacBook Air will feature an even slimmer and lighter design than the previous-generation models and the technologies used for the design and concept are expected to be broadly used in the company's other product lines to boost their competitiveness." Further, DigiTimes predicts that 400,000 units of the new MacBook Air will ship in 2010.

Though it has its devoted fans, the MacBook Air has never seen the same widespread acceptance as the more popular MacBook series. In fact, the Air is sorely due for an update, having remained essentially unchanged since its 2008 launch, aside from a few minor spec upgrades. Enviably thin and light, the system has nonetheless been criticized for underwhelming performance and a lack of ports and connections.

Shrinking down the display size from 13 to 11.6 inches seems like a smart idea for a highly portable laptop. We've seen several 11.6-inch systems that fall into the premium Netbook category, combining the small size and low prices of Netbooks with slightly more powerful processors (but nothing on the level of a ULV Intel Core CPU). An excellent current example is the $449 Gateway LT32 , which uses an AMD Athlon Neo II K125 processor).

Reports of this new MacBook Air should be taken as rumor-level only at this point, at least until someone leaks some prototype photos (or one accidentally gets left in a bar).

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.


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