updated 09:55 am EST, Fri January 22, 2010
Apple ultraportable may be stalled a few weeks
An update to Apple's MacBook Air may be pushed back several weeks due to delays in the ultra-low voltage Core i5 needed to drive it, rumors circulating today suggest. Since Intel has allegedly had to push back the 1.06GHz i5-520UM versus its full-power counterparts, Apple in turn may have to either avoid updating the extra-thin notebook at the same time as the MacBook Pro or else put the ship date in the future.
MacBidouille also speculates that Intel may supply Apple with just a small batch to claim immediate shipments but that bulk quantities won't be ready until later. Apple has taken a similar approach in the past as it has received special-run Xeons for the Mac Pro ahead of when they became available to other computer builders.
With the move away from Core 2 Duo, Apple has only a small number of processors it can choose from as the ultraportable nature of the Air requires chips with roughly half the power consumption of their full-size counterparts. The i5-520UM, as well as the 1.06GHz i7-620UM and 1.2GHz i7-640UM, require just 18W of power and use about as much as the Core 2 Duo S in the existing MacBook despite building Intel's graphics directly into the main processor die.
Although their clock speeds are seemingly much lower than the 1.86GHz-plus models available today, they should be much faster than current models as they can both use Turbo Boost to ramp up to speeds between 1.86GHz and 2.26GHz as well as behave like a quad-core processor through Hyperthreading.
Intel hasn't confirmed any such delay; it's also unclear if any other companies would be immediately affected.