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Apple readying an 11.6-inch MacBook Air?

updated 07:45 am EDT, Thu July 15, 2010

Apple may go to 11in screen, CULV for MacBook Air

Apple is planning a major overhaul of the MacBook Air that could see it competing with budget ultraportable notebooks, a rumor floated by Digitimes Research analyst Mingchi Kuo claims. The system would shrink to an 11.6-inch display and would use ultra-low voltage Core iX processors. In spite of the smaller screen, it would be thinner as well as lighter; the design would be advanced enough that lessons learned from its creation would be rolled into other Macs.

The new Air would be assembled by Quanta and ship sometime in the second half of the year, but shipment expectations hint either that it would only ship late or else would still have its niche status. Just 400,000 unts would arrive this year, Kuo said, without naming his sources.

Analyst claims such as these can have a mixed track record of accuracy, but the mention is the first of a significant design change to the MacBook Air since it was first released in February 2008. The system was billed at the time as providing the size and speed of a full-size notebook but in a much slimmer and lighter frame. Sales have been good enough for Apple to continue offering the system, but larger MacBooks have often outsold the Air.

While inexpensive compared to traditional ultraportables, the $1,499 minimum price hasn't been favorable next to the new crop of systems using Intel's CULV (Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage) processors, especially those using new Core i3 and i5 versions. While Apple could keep pricing high, the smaller screen and the lower price for reasonable performance could also lead to a price drop.

News of a redesign comes just as Lenovo may be dropping the ThinkPad X300 series. The line was pitched as a Windows alternative to the Air but, at a premium of several hundred dollars or more, it has faced lower demand.

Along with the new Mac, Kuo also claimed knowledge of the next-generation iPod touch. The MP3 player should have at least a three-megapixel camera with both photo and video capture; he didn't mention the front-facing camera but did understand that it would use an A4 processor. The researcher did hear that the iPod would be updated in August or September, consistent with Apple's usual late summer music event.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bmn

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Jony Ive's a

    "In spite of the smaller screen, it would be thinner as well as lighter"

    How DOES he do it?

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give us resolution independence, paired with

    2880 x 1920

    Yep, tile nine (3 x 3) of the iPhone 4 screens inside of the 11.6...hum...that would be 10.5. Anyway, something like that.

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The new Air sounds like NetBook. Hopefully the price is lower, too. I find it impractical to own a MacBook Air.

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Destroyer of Netbook Wealth

    Others beware. Here it comes. Brilliant.


    Joined: Dec 1969


    in spite of...?

    I don't understand why it would be thinner and lighter "in spite" of the smaller screen. What does the writing staff here think, that smaller screens are thicker?

    Aren't you guys supposed to be tech writers? Doesn't that mean that you understand technology, especially simple things like this?

    This is a failure in logic. I wouldn't bother commenting, but I see more wrong statements made by tech writers on the web every day. It's why I'm one of those who don't agree that much writing on the web is journalism. Doesn't anyone edit these things? And if they do, are they as unqualified as the writers?

  1. joesporleder

    Joined: Dec 1969


    in spite of typos?

    I wonder if MacNN or Electronista knows that it is OK to update articles to correct typos or to clarify information? I understand the need sometimes to get something posted as quickly as possible. It would be better, obviously, if one can take the time to get it right the first time before posting. However, I think a correction after the fact is better than nothing, letting the typo or clear as mud statement live on forever. Do the writers or editorial staff ever reread something after it has been posted, or check the comment section to see if the readers understood? Here is an idea - if the commenters write about a typo, how about fixing it? Or, if the readers seem to be misunderstanding part of the article, how about rewriting that part so that the article is better understood?

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969




    Seriously, I do not have a single client in the market for this laptop/netbook...

    I have clients that want Mac Minis w/ 4 ram slots, 1 or 2 PCIe slots, and 1 or 2 3.5" SATA drives... not needing the Mac Pro, nor having the budget for one...

    I have clients that want 15" MacBook Pros w/ an Express Card slot.. that don't want the "lunch-tray" 17" MBP..

    I have clients that regret buying Apple laptops w/o Firewire after needing to transfer large amounts of data.. That would consider the current or future 13" Air if and only if it had FW800... A few of them were looking at the 15" MBP, until finding it lacked an ExpressCard slot..

    And, after-all...I thought the iPad was Apple's netbook?

    So, again... Why?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Why?

    jwdsail, you need to explain to your clients that Apple knows what they truly need. They don't need 4 ram slots or full size hard drives or pcie slots. They need a mini with an SD card reader.

    And everyone knows the only people who need any type of expansion slot are the uber-pros. That's why they moved the ExpressCard slot to the 17" only, and the MacPro is the only one with slots and hard drive bays.

    And have your clients even thought about how nice their offices and homes would look with all that wonderfully designed computer systems sitting about? I mean, you walk into some offices and you want to wretch because they have some black plastic laptop or a desktop with ports on the front and plastic covers hiding empty drive bays. I mean, you can see seams, for god sake!

    Oh, just thinking of it is making me ill....

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In SPITE of...


  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I think the "thinner and lighter in spite of the smaller screen" might make some sense. The computer must have certain parts inside - logic board, wi-fi, whatever ports, etc. Going to a smaller screen is taking area away, plus also making it thinner will take away quite a bit of volume to house those necessary internals. It will need some ingenuity in the design (which is par for the course with Apple).

    I agree that it being lighter is a no-brainer.

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