November 28, 2011

15-inch MacBook Air Rumored for First Quarter of 2012

Aaron Lee, writing for Digitimes:

“Apple reportedly is set to launch its new MacBook Air series notebooks with panel sizes of 11.6-inch, 13.3-inch and 15-inch in the first quarter of 2012”

Label that as rumor. If true, though, it won't come as a surprise.

It'll be confirmation of what Steve Jobs said about laptops in late 2010: the MacBook Air form factor will be the future of laptop design.

It'll also help us make a good guess at the next iteration or two of the full MacBook line. Expect, perhaps, that all MacBooks will be Airs, including the currently slab-like 17-inch model. That means no optical drive across the line, extending Apple's abandonment of that component in the current MacBook Air 11- and 13-inch, and Mac mini models.

MacBook Air machines tend to run slower, less-powerful CPUs than their Pro counterparts. Will Apple find a way to achieve the same processing power in the slim, less well-ventilated Air models of the future? Enter Ivy Bridge.

Intel's next-generation CPU lineup runs at lower Thermal Design Power (TDP) than equivalent parts from the current Sandy Bridge line. Intel achieves their reduction in thermal output by shrinking the processor die size, resulting in a smaller chip that requires less electric current to operate at equivalent speed. Less current means less waste energy production, which for chips comes in the form of heat.

The end result should be thinner, lighter, more powerful MacBooks of all sizes without sub-par processing power.

And owners can always purchase and use an external, USB-powered optical drive for the few occasions one is needed.