Rumor: New MacBook Airs Won’t Hit Wednesday

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Ready for the next round of MacBook Airs? It sounds like Apple is, namely that Cupertino’s placed orders for nearly 400,000 ultra-light laptops, due to enter mass production this month.

AppleInsider plucked the rumor from an “accurate” security analyst, who told the Apple news-watcher that Cupertino had placed orders for 380,000 Sandy Bridge-fueled 11.6 and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs in June.

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Sandy Bridge is Intel’s latest, smallest processor, and arrived last January, so the last MacBook Air refresh—in late 2010—just missed it. In fact I bought one of those late 2010 models, which still ship with a Core 2 Duo processor. The Core 2 Duo architecture, you’ll recall, arrived practically eons ago back in 2006—you know, the same year the International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto from “planet” to “dwarf planet.”

Getting specific, expect to see 32 nanometer processors in the new MacBook Airs, with ultra-low-voltage Core i5 and Core i7 chips housing Smart Cache (it lets multiple cores share cache memory) and the memory maximum to bump from 4GB to 8GB. The current Penryn-based processors in the Core 2 Duo MacBook Airs are 45 nanometers and top out at 2.13GHz.

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Apple’s last refresh introduced a smaller, cheaper 11.6-inch model to complement the larger 13-inch version. Apple won’t call it a “netbook,” but it is, or at least it competes more directly than the 13-inch version in that space. Look for slightly greater than half of the upcoming 380,000 to be that, which likely means the new Sandy Bridge version of the 11.6-inch tier will retain its more popular entry-level pricing.

So when should we expect confirmation? Probably not this week. Apple leaker Chronic Wire tweeted they’d appear this Wednesday, but backpedaled yesterday, claiming its source “had mixed up part numbers.”

Apparently we should expect unlocked iPhones this Wednesday instead. We’ll see. Until then, check out: How an ‘Unlocked’ iPhone 4 Would Work.

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