Vanishing into thin [MacBook] Air: shortages signal WWDC refresh

Gregg Keizer
27 May, 2013
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Lowest-priced 11.6-in. ultra-light out of stock at Amazon; new models powered by Intel’s Haswell processors expected in two weeks

Apple’s lowest-priced MacBook Air was out of stock on as of Friday, hinting that rumours of a refresh in two weeks are on target.

The 11.6in MacBook Air with 64GB of storage space – Apple’s least expensive laptop – was listed as unavailable on the giant e-tailer today. “Note: this item is only available from third-party sellers,”’s listing stated.

That US$999 model has been in short supply on Amazon for several weeks.

The pricier 128GB 11.6in MacBook Air, which lists for US$1099, remained available on Amazon and other online retailers, however, as did the 128GB 13.3in Air. The latter runs US$1199, but Amazon’s entry showed a discount to US$1130.

AppleInsider, a blog that regularly tracks Mac hardware prices, reported on the sell-outs on Thursday, and had called out the MacBook Air shortages earlier.

Not that the notebook is impossible to find. Spot checks by Computerworld found the US$999 MacBook Air available at all stores in the Pacific Northwest; the Massachusetts and Connecticut areas; at outlets in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin; and throughout Texas.

Apple has not refreshed the MacBook Air line since June 2012, when Apple cut prices by US$100 on three of the four Air configurations, boosted the standard amount of RAM to 4GB across the board, and placed Intel’s dual-core processors from its third-generation Ivy Bridge architecture inside the notebooks.

Most Apple watchers expect that the company will again use its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) to introduce new Air models. The consensus of those rumours is that Apple will roll out Air laptops powered by Intel’s latest family of Core processors, code-named Haswell, at WWDC, which runs 10 to 14 June.

Intel will likely unveil the Haswell chips at Computex, a Taipei trade show slated to run 4 to 8 June. Personal computer and tablet makers are also expected to show their Haswell-powered wares there.

According to Intel, Haswell processors will deliver twice the graphics performance of their Ivy Bridge predecessors and 50 percent longer battery life.

If the new MacBook Air talk is accurate, the ultra-light laptops will probably be introduced by Apple during the WWDC keynote, where various executives, including CEO Tim Cook, will take the stage to also trumpet iOS 7 and OS X 10.9, the as-yet-unnamed upgrade to the Mac’s operating system.

The WWDC keynote will take place on the morning of 10 June, if Apple follows its usual practice.

by Gregg Keizer, Computerworld

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