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New MacBook Air arriving next week if we all wish really hard

We've been led up the garden path before, but it seems Apple may finally be about to announce its updated MacBook Air, complete with RAM and processor upgrades.

Oh, Apple, you do like to tease us so. We were all set for the latest refresh of the MacBook Air to appear this week, but apparently that was just wishful thinking. It will actually be next week. Definitely. Absolutely no doubt about it. Maybe. 

The new models aren't expected to differ at all in the looks department, which is good, as we like the way we can slice cheese with the current Air. There will be some upgrades to the specs, though.

An industry analyst told AppleInsider that the new 11-inch and 13-inch models will pack 4GB of RAM, doubling that of previous models. It's also pretty certain that the upcoming Air will use Intel's new Sandy Bridge chips, which deliver decent performance while keeping power usage to an absolute minimum.

These new specs should make the latest operating system from Apple -- Mac OS X Lion, with its 250 new features -- run pretty well.

The analyst also expects the Air to ship with 128GB and 256GB solid-state drives, dispensing with the 64GB option. SSDs are more power-efficient and smaller than normal hard drives, allowing the Air to be so dangerously slim.

The new Air should also pack a backlit keyboard, so you can go back to typing away in a darkened cell, should you want to.

The new Air has the potential to be seriously good -- and seriously expensive. The new models will see the Air take the fight to rivals such as the cracking Samsung Series 9 laptop, which is due to be available in a sleek 11-inch version soon, and the super-slim Asus UX21 'ultrabook', which should emerge later this year.