Apple could plan a MacBook Air makeover, data shows

A research note from DisplaySearch hints at a revamped MacBook Air with a 12-inch pixel-packing display.

Brooke Crothers
Brooke Crothers Former 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.
A future MacBook Air may depart from the 11- and 13-inch designs to date.
A future MacBook Air may depart from the 11- and 13-inch designs to date. Apple

A redesign of the MacBook Air may arrive in 2014, if a research note from DisplaySearch proves to be accurate.

As CNET reported Tuesday, analyst firm NPD DisplaySearch anticipates that Apple may plan a larger 4.7-inch iPhone, a 5.7-inch phablet, a 1.3-inch iWatch, and a 12.9-inch iPad-like device, among other products.

Buried among the speculation about future iPads and iWatches was also data about a Retina MacBook Air due in 2014.

The speculative data about the future Air was tagged with the parenthetical "new," implying a new design. That redesign appears to be pegged to its size.

Instead of the 11.6- and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs to date, this would have a 12-inch screen with a much higher resolution.

The 2,304x1,440 display would jump to 226 pixels per inch (PPI) from an unimpressive 127 and 135 PPI for the current 13.3-inch (1,440x900) and 11.6-inch (1,366x768) MacBook Airs, respectively.

And that 226 number would almost exactly match the gorgeous 227-PPI Retina display on the current 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

Whatever Apple ultimately decides, it seems certain that the ultraportable laptop will get a physical makeover. The MacBook Air hasn't seen a physical redesign or display change since late 2010, when Apple introduced a new chassis and debuted the 11.6-inch Air.