Apple’s MacBook Air is a thing, light, and rather expensive laptop with a 13.3 inch display. Weighing just 3 pounds and measuring just 0.76 inches thick, it’s the thinnest and lightest Mac laptop available… but it hasn’t received a significant update in years. That’s led to a round of rumors that Apple may be preparing to launch a refreshed MacBook Air at an event scheduled for October 20th.

I’ve been taking the rumors with a grain of salt, since rumors about Apple products are a dime a dozen and it’s awfully easy to get worked up about nothing. But now Engadget has received a photo from an anonymous source which purportedly shows the inside of a new MacBook Air.

While a number of sites had been reporting that the new model would have an 11.6 inch display, the photo seems to show a 13.3 inch model. The photos show extra battery cells, and no hard drive — which is in keeping with a rumor that’s been going around suggesting that Apple was developing a new type of solid state drive that uses flash storage without taking up as much space as a traditional hard drive.

That’s hardly a brand new idea. Netbook makers have been doing it for years — but usually netbooks with solid state drives ship with slow drives that aren’t much faster than an SD card or USB flash drive. I suspect Apple would use something a bit more powerful.

Engadget’s tipster says what we’re looking at is an early prototype using the same Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400 processor as current MacBook Air models — which is a pretty good indication that this is not the final design. So there’s still a chance that Apple has used the months since this photo was taken to shrink the case and screen size or make other modifications.

Or it could all be nothing at all. Maybe Apple isn’t working on a new MacBook Air. The photo lends a little more credence to the rumors, but just a little.

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8 replies on “Is a new MacBook Air on the way?”

  1. If it it’s real, then let’s hear ANYTHING about it AFTER it’s announced. If it’s not, then who cares? In other words, that’s enough with the whole use of a rumor to hype a product. It’s old. It’s tired. It’s an Apple staple, and, as a consumer, it’s insulting. Leave it in the mall.

    IF this is true, it’s a pretty big confession on Apple’s part that they were wrong about the whole “netbook” thing. No, this Air would NOT a netbook, but it would definitely be a response to the popularity of the form factor. However, I will have a much harder time wrapping my head around the idea that Apple is releasing a product into a category which they are “killing” with their phone-based MID slate. Oh well, the world is set up to make money and not sense, so it’s my fault for going off looking for people to be reasonable in the first place.

    1. The original MacBook Air was an under powered system that cost as much as a PC gaming laptop. Aside from being thin, it wasn’t one of Apple’s successful products.

      A new version has been in the rumor mill for quite some time now and they hopefully will make significant improvement but even if this version is true it’ll have nothing to do with the Netbook market unless it’s prices not much higher than $500 and encroaches on the other netbook specs. But aside from weight this only encroaches on CULV’s and it’s very unlikely Steve Jobs will ever admit he was wrong or charge so little…

      Btw, UMPC’s also use small SSD solutions as well and as tablets start entering the market then they too will also employ SSD solutions. Most people are just more familiar with the early sub 10″ netbooks that used SSD’s, but it shouldn’t be confused as just a netbook staple…

      As for Apple’s iOS devices… they aren’t killing anything right now. Products like the iPad are pretty much in their own market right now, with practically no competition to speak of for 2010, and though successful they are still selling less than 1/10 as many total units as sub-notebooks, which still sold more units than they did last year.

      So we shall see how well they do in 2011 and whether this rumor is true or not, which at this point I don’t think most would care about until it gets close to the actual release date anyway…

  2. Brad to use some gaming lingo, you have pwned me. I bow to you my friend. *runs away and finds a hole to hide in*

    In my own defense, if there were tablet rumors from Apple at the time, I ask why the others were so pathetically behind on this. Apple has done 10 laps already and the others are still warming up on the side lines. Lame. It tells me that not very many people take Apple “leaks” seriously.

  3. There is no way this is legit. I mean when is that last time an image was leaked from Apple? How long were they working on the iPad? There wasn’t a hint of that. Apple doesn’t roll like this. Fact is, people don’t want death by lethal injection done Apple style. I think they take a pill or something that makes them forget anything that happens behind their closed doors.

    I’ll stand by the 11.6″ form factor. When that does happen, you will see the 10.1″ form factor at a crossroads.

    aka gman

    1. Actually, there were rumors about an Apple Tablet for a good year or two before it was released, and don’t forget all the pictures of the iPhone 4 that were leaked even *before* Gizmodo got their hands on a prototype.

      1. yep … apple “sources” were all the time dripping of rumors to heat up the crowd … be it geeks or analysts

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