Apple did indeed test out a black powder-coated MacBook Air, but the treatment absorbed body oils and didn't live up to Steve's standards, according to an anonymous Apple employee.
This employee got in touch after we wrote about emails we'd received claiming that the next-generation MacBook Air would have a black option.
The rumors that the next iteration of the MBA's will have an optional black finish is grounded in truth.
We tried to powder coat the Air's (and Pro's for that matter) in black as a test run. There are more than a few floating around campus.
The coating looks good and holds up well, but it also soaks up body oils, making the palm rest look pretty gross. Ultimately that is the reason that the top brass (Jobs) killed the idea... it was just too easy to make the computer look like crap.
At some point we may offer a black coating, but it won't be powder coat, and it won't be anytime soon.
The sender doesn't have an existing track record, but after chatting with him, we suspect his story checks out.