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Report: 12-inch MacBook Air release coming in Q3/14

Sections: iPad, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Laptops, MacBook Air, Macintosh/Apple Hardware

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Citing a DigiTimes report, Christian Today’s Azalea Pena notes that Apple’s fixing to release a new 12-inch MacBook Air to be built by longtime Apple collaborator Quanta Computer. However, Digitimes’ anonymous sources have not heard any additional changes coming to the 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air products, which received a mild upgrade recently that included a small speed bump from 1.3 to 1.4 GHz and a $100 price cut.

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Reportedly with iPad sales to some degree cannibalizing MacBook sales, Apple has determined that the best strategy is to “establish a clear boundary between the two product lines.”

There’s no announcement as yet, but the 11-inch MacBook Air may well be on the bubble, and it’s reasonable to speculate it will be eventually phased out in favor of the new 12- inch machine, which is expected to have a Retina resolution display. The non-retina panel in the current 11-inch MacBook Air gets lukewarm reviews at best. On the other hand, Apple is unlikely to be able to sell Retina MacBooks for $899.00.

Other reported distinctions for the 12-inch MacBook Air are a redesign for the internal layout and changes to the battery, but in general it is expected to carry over the nearly four-year-old second generation MacBook Air unibody aluminum design.

According to International Business Times’ Precious Silva, Quanta Computer has also been contracted to develop a 12-inch iPad. Silva cites KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo—who has a good track record for accuracy predicting Apple product releases—commenting: “With the 12.9-inch iPad, we think Apple will come up with a new user interface that’s more innovative and intuitive, so that input will be as efficient as a device with keyboard.” Mr. Kuo doesn’t expect the iPad Pro to be released until 2015, but had previously indicated that the new 12- inch MacBook Air will combine the performance of the 13-inch Air with the portability of the 11-inch variant, and add Retina technology.

We might also deduce that by getting the 12-inch MacBook Air out first, it will help minimize the cannibalization impact a 12-inch iPad will inevitably have on sales of particularly a similar sized Apple laptop.

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