MacBook Air 'Sandy Bridge' update expected in June
Apple is aiming for a summer refresh of the MacBook Air that will be centered on an upgrade to Intel's Sandy Bridge processors, CNET has learned.
Brooke CrothersFormer CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Apple is targeting a MacBook Air update for this summer that will include a move to Intel's Sandy Bridge processors, CNET has learned.
Initial shipments of Intel's Sandy Bridge processor were snafued on January 31 by a minor glitch in the accompanying chipset, though the chipmaker will resume shipments of fixed chipsets as early as mid-month. The Sandy Bridge processor itself is not affected.
The MacBook Air refresh is expected in June, according to a source familiar with Apple's plans.
An Apple representative declined to comment on the company's Sandy Bridge plans.
A Sandy Bridge processor would be a welcome addition to the MacBook Air, which currently uses a Core 2 Duo chip, essentially the same basic processor technology the Air has used since its introduction three years ago. That three-year span puts Core 2 Duo chips two generations behind Sandy Bridge. The MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro also use Core 2 Duo processors.
MacBook Pros are reportedly also slated for an update, but that is expected to come earlier, possibly in March. It is not clear if these systems would use Sandy Bridge (aka, Second-Generation Intel Core Processor). If they do, it's worth noting that the Sandy Bridge issue has thrown shipment schedules back by a few weeks.
PC makers are eager to ship systems--already announced--with the latest Intel processor because it speeds up gaming graphics and multimedia tasks over current Intel silicon at little or no extra cost. This is due to the fact that the graphics silicon is built directly onto the main processor--a first for a mainstream Intel chip. Apple, which has yet to annnounce any Sandy Bridge systems, would reap similar benefits.