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Reports: New MacBook Airs to add storage, RAM

Two new reports suggest Apple's doubling up on storage as part of the yet-to-be-announced entry-level MacBook Air refresh. The built-in RAM is said to be getting a shot in the arm as well, going up to 4GB.

The longer the wait for a refresh to Apple's MacBook Air hardware, the more of a machine we may be getting, it seems.


Two separate reports today have suggested that Apple's planning to double up on the amount of built-in storage offered in its entry-level MacBook Air model. One of the two also reiterates that Apple's jumping to 4GB of RAM across the line, an upgrade that previously cost users an extra $100 when buying the machine from Apple.

Based on check-ins with industry sources by Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, AppleInsider this morning noted that Apple was making the important jump from 2GB to 4GB of RAM in part to "improve performance on Mac OS Lion," which is set to ship on the new hardware. Kuo also said that Apple was simplifying the storage offerings by doing away with the 64GB SSD on the 11.6-inch model in favor of the 128GB offering.

Later in the day, AllThingsD weighed in with similar rumblings of 128GB and 256GB configurations, as well as citing "several sources" saying the new Air hardware would be arriving "late next week."

Expectations have been high for Apple to offer a speedier, more feature-filled version of the Air. The machine, Apple's tiniest notebook computer, was completely relaunched back in October as part of the company's "Back to the Mac" event.

The second-generation model is a complete redesign from the first, moving to higher-pixel-density screens and adding an extra USB port and SD card slot, along with moving to newer-generation processors, graphics cards, and flash-based storage. As part of that overhaul, Apple did away with a popular feature, the backlit keyboard, which recent reports have suggested is making a comeback in the upcoming refresh.

Beyond the Air, a number of other Mac computers are ripe for a refresh, in part to coincide with Lion, the next major version of Apple's Mac OS. At its Worldwide Developers Conference early last month, Apple said simply that it would be offering the new operating system sometime this month, though so far it has not provided any additional updates on a more precise date. Since then, the company has been offering new Mac buyers a free upgrade to the new OS, which it will be releasing solely through the Mac App Store as a digital download.