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Apple to refresh MacBook Air in June or July, says report

Gregg Keizer | May 18, 2011
Apple will refresh its popular MacBook Air line of ultra-thin notebooks in June or July, a Taiwanese publication said today, citing unnamed Asian supplier sources.

In June 2009, Apple used its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) to unveil new MacBook Pro machines. At that time, Apple shifted the unibody aluminum MacBooks into the MacBook Pro line, leaving just the white Polycarbonate MacBook to soldier on under the old moniker.

This year's WWDC runs June 6-10. The keynote, which is the only event open to reporters, usually kicks off the conference, and is the platform where Apple makes public announcements.

Further down the road, Gottheil is intrigued with the idea that the MacBook Air will become a hybrid that combines more elements of the iPad -- including more emphasis on the tablet's iOS, and perhaps touchscreen capabilities -- with a traditional notebook format.

"That will be an interesting transition," said Gottheil. "The MacBook Air is sort of the same size as the iPad, but some users want a [physical] keyboard at times."

As Gottheil pointed out, the Air is the Apple laptop most like the iPad: The smallest model of the former takes the tape at 11.8 inches by 7.6 inches, and weighs in 2.3 pounds, while the iPad 2 measures 9.5 inches by 7.3 inches, and tips the scale at 1.3 pounds.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has promised that the next version of Mac OS X, dubbed Lion, will include more iOS-like features, including a centralized screen called "Mission Control" that integrates several Mac OS interface elements.


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