Production of New Thunderbolt-Equipped MacBook Airs Set for Next Month?


AppleInsider reports on a new research note from Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple is set to begin production on new Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Air models late next month, setting the stage for an update to the company's popular ultra-thin notebooks.

Kuo tells AppleInsider that his latest round of checks with suppliers and system builders in the region reveals that MacBook Air shipments are set to rebound during the current calendar quarter, fueled by an upgrade to Intel's latest Sandy Bridge microprocessors, integrated Intel graphics, and the expected adoption of the new Thunderbolt high-speed I/O technology that made its debut on MacBook Pros earlier this year.

Specifically, he said the new models will "go to mass production in late May," which corroborates an earlier report that cited reliable sources as saying Apple would be ready to publicly announce and ship to consumers MacBook Airs with Sandy Bridge processors during following month of June.

A production ramp in late May would set the stage for a June launch for the new MacBook Airs, a timeframe that had been rumored several months ago.

While Apple's current MacBook Airs launched in October 2010 with a new 11.6-inch model joining the redesigned 13.3-inch model, they still rely upon aging Intel Core 2 Duo processors as Apple has struggled to find a suitable pairing of CPU and graphics performance in the wake of a dispute between Intel and NVIDIA over chipset production. But with new Sandy Bridge processors from Intel sporting improved graphics performance now available, Apple now has better options for its small form factor machines utilizing integrated graphics.

Kuo notably revealed Apple's plans for an 11.6-inch MacBook Air a full three months before the product debuted last year.

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

Top Rated Comments

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113 months ago
I hope they bring back the backlit keyboard.
Rating: 6 Votes
113 months ago
Late 2010 - Weak processor, decent GPU
Mid 2011 - Stronger processor, slightly worse GPU than before
2012 - Stronger in every category
Rating: 5 Votes
113 months ago
I hope to see the backlit keyboard back also. It should be a standard MacBook feature.

I think I'll be satisfied with gaming on an Air thanks to OnLive. In fact, it's the perfect machine for it. Just plug in a wireless 360 controller (and optionally an external monitor/HDTV) and play.
Rating: 4 Votes
113 months ago

It should be a dual-core Llano, not Sandy Bridge.


Yeah, but Im pretty sure Apple is gonna follow their MO of matching the MBA with the guts of the 13 MBP...just like we had a C2D and 320m.

Gosh dangit! If only they didnt handicap the 13 inch MBP with that horribly archaic display res. I dont know why people arent more "up in arms" about that. Why didnt they just give it the 1440x900 of the 13 MBA!!!!!!! Grrrrr!!!!! :mad:
Rating: 4 Votes
113 months ago
I hope - but afraid it won't - there is a back lit keyboard re-introduced.
Rating: 4 Votes
113 months ago

Do people really game on an Air?


Yes, they really do.
Rating: 4 Votes
113 months ago
Battery and Backlit

If ditching the 320M and switching to an i-processor boosts battery life even 10%, I think it will be worth it.

People who want to play modern games on these systems should already be aware of their limitations; sure, a graphics downgrade is a bummer, but the Intel IGP is good enough for most general productivity needs. And it's already been proven to handle 1080p out.

The general sentiment that the 2012 will be an improvement on 100% of the internals is likely accurate. However, there are four changes that will make this a 100% buy for me:

1) Backlit keyboard (my biggest hope).
2) Larger SSD. 90+ GB base (128 would be most likely, I reckon), 380+ GB BTO.
3) +10% Battery life. An extra 30 minutes to an hour would be spectacular.
4) Core i ULM processor.
Rating: 3 Votes
113 months ago

Now there's 100GB BDXL. There's plenty of time for Blu-Ray to keep on living on notebooks.


True, but I doubt Apple will put them in their machines and/or peripherals. I'd love to keep a third offsite backup of my information with BDXL, and I can with 3rd party hardware.

I think one of the biggest things holding me back though is the price of the discs.

I hope they bring back the backlit keyboard.


Same here! 100% same here!

I have been holding back on buying a 13" Air for the backlit keyboard and Thunderbolt.

If I get both it'll be a definite buy. If I get just TB, then I may just consider the MBP.
Rating: 3 Votes
113 months ago

I used to have a laptop as a single computer at my home. It resembled a Christmas tree pretty much - it had an USB optical mouse, a printer, external speakers, a Yamaha keyboard, card reader and power cord plugged in. I was always plugging and unplugging cables whenever I wanted to move it to another place. Thank goodness I did not come to the idea to attach an external monitor to it.

USB keyboard + mouse? Was this from the 90s??? Bluetooth keyboards/mice and WiFi printers are how most people do it nowadays. Apples monitors even have a laptop power cord, speakers and a USB hub built in, so it's 3 cables max to attach. If it takes more than 5 literal seconds to connect/disconnect when you move, you're doing it wrong. And with their patents for doing eveything over one cable, looks like the futures only going to get easier.
Rating: 2 Votes
113 months ago

I've heard this request from a lot of people on this forum. Is this really a deal breaker for you? the screen isn't bright enough at night to illuminate the keys that you need a separate source of light?


Absolutely not!
Rating: 2 Votes

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