MacBook Air Supplies Dwindle, Refresh Coming Soon? [Updated]


AppleInsider reports that its daily tracking of Mac availability from a number of third-party resellers is showing signs of dwindling supplies of Apple's MacBook Air, suggesting that a refresh may be approaching in the relatively near future, perhaps as early as next week. According to the report, nearly every retailer has run out of stock of the low-end MacBook Air model, while several vendors are also showing no stock of the high-end model.

This marks the first time that AppleInsider has witnessed this abnormal trend in regards to the Air since it began tracking availability of Apple's Mac line on a daily basis over two years ago. Still, the drought didn't manifest over night. For weeks now, the websites of certain resellers have indicated that inventory of the low-end MacBook Air was on the verge of depletion, urging shoppers to "order soon," as only a handful of units remained in stock.

What's more, people familiar with the buy side of operations for big box retailers like Best Buy and Amazon.com say that Apple has indicted to them that it will not replenish supply of the notebooks until Oct. 12 through Oct. 16 at the earliest. Such expansive delays on low volume products like the MacBook Air are common only when Mac maker is preparing to overhaul the product line, these people say.

As noted in our Buyer's Guide, the MacBook Air is long overdue for an update, having last seen a refresh in June 2009. The extended interval since the most recent update has offered ample opportunity for speculation about updates, with the most recent rumors suggesting that Apple may be preparing an even smaller 11.6-inch MacBook Air for launch. An 11.6-inch "MacBook", which could be the new MacBook Air, has even been claimed to already be in production.

For the past several years, Apple has offered refreshes of at least part of its notebook lines in the October-November timeframe, suggesting that we may yet see something similar this year as Apple seeks to set its lineup for the holiday season.

Update: TUAW is now reporting that it has received information that Apple is pulling all stock of the MacBook Air SuperDrive accessory from its retail stores, possibly offering a further hint at changes to the MacBook Air.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Neutral)