macbook.jpg MacBook Air refresh rumoured for June or July

Reports by multiple sources are suggesting that Apple is getting ready to refresh its MacBook Air lines of notebooks come June or July and as expected we'll be seeing some Sandy Bridge hardware inside the new models. The other big addition is said to be Thunderbolt support, something that could prove to be useful on a system that is otherwise void if high-speed interfaces.

Reports by multiple sources are suggesting that Apple is getting ready to refresh its MacBook Air lines of notebooks come June or July and as expected we'll be seeing some Sandy Bridge hardware inside the new models. The other big addition is said to be Thunderbolt support, something that could prove to be useful on a system that is otherwise void if high-speed interfaces.

Moving from Intel's aging Core 2 Duo CPUs to Sandy Bridge should be a huge boost to the performance for the MacBook Airs, although the biggest question that so far remains unanswered is what Apple is going to do in the graphics department. Apple hasn't shipped a single product using Intel graphics since the good old GMA950 which was used in early models of the Apple TV and Apple in general seems to loathe Intel graphics. That said, we're seeing switchable graphics on Apple's MacBook Pro models, so there's already OS support for Intel's HD 3000 series of graphics, which might just be good enough for Apple.

Apple is expected to use the new low Voltage and ultra-low Voltage Sandy Bridge based mobile CPUs from Intel with a TDP of 25W and 17W respectively. Clock speeds range from 1.4 to 1.6GHz for the ultra-low Voltage CPUs whereas the low Voltage models are clocked at 2.1 to 2.3GHz. If Apple goes down the same route as today, the 11.6-inch MacBook Air should be fitted with the ultra-low Voltage CPUs while the 13.3-inch model would use the low Voltage CPUs.

Thunderbolt support could make for some interesting external device options for Apple's ultra-thin notebooks that have so far suffered a fair bit in terms of high-speed peripheral ports. This way the MacBook Air family could also become much more productive work tools, especially for those that need a very portable notebook to travel with for example. The new models are expected to enter production this month for an announcement sometime in June or July.

Source: Digitimes, Apple Insider