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New MacBook Air imminent?

New MacBook Air models may be right around the corner -- if a reading of retailer tea leaves is correct.

New MacBook Airs could be coming in weeks.
New MacBook Airs could be coming in weeks.
Apple

Signs may point to a refresh of Apple's popular MacBook Air. Possibly next month.

AppleInsider said Friday that at large online retailers like MacConnection, stock has vanished for the popular 13.3-inch Air with a 1.8GHz processor and 256GB solid-state drive.

That said, Best Buy has stock, but it's the "only reseller on AppleInsider's Mac Price Guide that is currently advertising available inventory," according to the Apple-centric site.

Dwindling inventory at authorized Apple outlets is usually an indication that a product refresh is imminent.

And what, pray tell, will Apple deliver with the next Air? It's pretty much a given that Intel's next-gen Haswell chip -- with improved graphics -- will be on board.

That processor will debut in early June, and Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference will follow soon thereafter.

It's much less certain that Apple will adopt a Retina display for the MBA. Though the addition of a Retina display is seemingly a no-brainer, those displays still entail a lot of extra cost and can wreak havoc on battery life in thin designs.

The thinnest MacBook with a Retina display is the 0.75-inch-thick 13.3-inch MacBook Pro. But it's thick by MBA standards -- partly to accommodate a large battery -- an indication of the challenge of getting these displays into the most svelte designs.

High-resolution display technology is advancing rapidly, however, so Apple could surprise.