Apple Will Build 400,000 Sandy Bridge MacBook Airs In Time For July

Apple Will Build 400,000 Sandy Bridge MacBook Airs In Time For July

Apple has ordered 400,000 next-generation MacBook Airs to be built this month for a July launch, and each and every one of them will ship with low-watt versions of Intel’s cutting edge Sandy Bridge processors.

While the Cupertino, Calif. company ordered both 11.6 and 13.3-inch versions, around half (209,000) will be for the smaller design more popular due to the lower $999 price. At the same time, Apple will stop making the original MacBook Air, ordering the final 80,000 in June.

Earlier this week at the San Francisco-based Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller described the new laptop akin to a sports car: “It’s beautiful, it’s thin, it’s fast.” Indeed, the “PC industry wants to copy it,” he said.

Introduced in late 2010, the thin and light MacBook Air in March reportedly sold half as many copies as the MacBook Pro, a move seen indicating consumers are rapidly adopting mobile computing. Also helping push demand is the introduction of Intel’s faster Core i5 and Core i7 Sandy Bridge processors replacing the aging Core 2 Duo used by current MacBook Airs.

Even when the Air launched, its Core 2 Duo processor was hopelessly out of date. Have you been waiting for a beefier processor on the MacBook Air before you bit the bullet on one? Will you buy one with a Sandy Bridge chip, even if that’s at the expense of slower integrated graphics? Let us know in the comments.

  • kollner

    I would consider it if the 11″ comes with 256GB disk – 128gb simply doesnt cut it.

  • DysonApps

    I’m really hoping for the backlit keyboard to make a comeback. Wonder what graphics chip they’ll throw in there.

  • Jrosen76

    Absolutely – I have been waiting for the new processors on the 13.  

  • E J Carvalho

    Agreed. In fact, I’d suggest they consider upping it to 500GB.

  • oldandintheway

    256gb disk or Card Reader on the 11″ and I’ll upgrade my current 11″. Current processor is fine with me.

  • LuigiMD

    Totally agree!

  • Z25MN6

    +1 for the backlit keyboard.   Are the current MBA’s too “slow?”   No.  Are they too hard to use in dim light?  Yes.   The biggest deficiency should be fixed first.

  • Kannapiran P

    I believe MB Air can be a secondary accessory if you are a hardcore computing geek, given the style / range it targets. Its a travel-cum-light-user friendly computer. Expecting MBP configuration is like expecting different class from one product that are premium. Its happy to see that a light computer can be owned by every user which was a business class commodity. I welcome Sandy Bridge with its minimum graphics companion given the fact that Apple is reducing the price during its each release.

  • Kannapiran P

    The greatest expectation from me will be how nig the SSD is going to be in the base model. I think Apple a large consumer of SSD is the only company that can bring down the commodity to a affordable pricing than the current market price given the number of MB Airs under production now.

  • Stephen

    I’ve been curbing my purchase since mid-April. Not only am I waiting for the hardware upgrade, but also for Lion (which I understand to be a free upgrade with any newly purchased Mac) and for the Educational Promotion to kick it. It sounds like any day now.
    My wish list for the new MacBook Air: Backlit keyboard, Sandy Bridge, Thunderbolt, and 4Gb of stock SDRAM. I’m okay with 64Gb. Time Capsule and iCloud will make large on board storgage unnecessary.

    What I can’t decide is if 11-inches with be satisfying. Does anyone have thoughts? I’m use to a 13-inch MacBook. I’m also trying to find a monitor that would complement the Air nicely (Apple’s cinema displays are beyond my means). If people had suggestions I’d greatly appreciate it. Lastly, my technical know how is limited: the post indicates that the MacBook Airs comes at the expense of a slower integrated graphic. What does that mean?

  • V. Matias

    I can hardly wait! I’m quite keen on buying a 11″ MBA.

  • SpongebobUK

    The decision to go for the MBA over the MBP is definitely one from the heart. The £200 price difference between the MBA 13/128GB and the MBP 13/320GB never mind the significant difference in specs should drive you to the MBP. So why go for the Air? Well for me I don’t need all of the elements of the MBP as my heavy work is done on my iMac. The MBA would be for lighter use – as most people recognise. 

    ‘Need’ though is very emotive – £200 extra is a lot of ‘need’ so for me it’s come down to the form factor – Jony Ive has created a thing of beauty! I bought my wife an iPad 2 with a view to seeing whether that would meet my computing needs but it’s a bit too light – no flash capability which renders some sites as unusable until every migrates to HTML5. She doesn’t have a problem with it though – I can’t prise it out of her hands long enough! So now I’m just waiting for the processor update for the MBA so I can press the ‘Buy’ button. One more decision for the heart!

    The other good news this week are the Lion OS and iCloud – which looks like the 2012 MBP range may well go the way of the Air – goodbye to the slot drive! 

  • Joe Terzano

    I actually bought a 11″ MBA a month ago and through a series of crazy events was able to return it to the Lincoln Park – Chicago Apple store for a full in store credit (actually they gave me more than what I payed but that is the extended version of this story). I returned it because I had read (after my initial purchase) that Apple was going to come out with a Sandy Bridge version no later than July. I’m so very glad I keep up with the Apple rumor sites. Thanks COM!

  • SpongebobUK

    Go to a store and have a good look. I spent an hour or so weighing up the MBP/MBAs and in the end it will come down to personal preference and affordability (there’s a significant hike between the 11in/64GB and 13in/128GB). For me the 11inch screen is just a wee bit too small – eyesight challenges and all that. If you’re looking at the 13inch MBA then the 13inch MBP is cheaper!

    As for graphics, you’re not going to be playing high end games on the Air. Otherwise, the graphics are good enough for most other needs.

    Good luck!

  • Joe Terzano

    I was wondering if the 11″ screen would be enough too. Let me tell you, it was great. Not only was the screen large enough for my needs (email, web, garage band, basic stuff…) but it was nice having a compact machine that felt a lot more portable than my old black macbook. I recommend going 11″!

  • Joe Terzano

    500 GB = $$$! Apple is obviously going the way of the cloud. I’m guessing we’ll begin seeing 128 GB SSD as an average size from here on out. Just guessing…

  • mikkeee

    I sold my original MacBook 13 about 2 months ago anticipating the i3/i5 Air. I was hoping it was sooner but have an iPad to bridge the gap. I’ll be ordering the 13″ with all the options!

  • Toby Smith

    I would go with something like a 26″ Vizio LED TV. that way it can double as a monitor and office TV. There is a really good site called Monoprice that sells any kind of cable or adapter you would need. And the site is very inexpensive. I got two of the premium flat HDMI cables from them for less than $15 shipped.

  • Support 18inc

    I was hoping they would refresh this line :) I’m on the market for an Air but since it’s an addition to an already extensive line of mobile Apple products I own, I’ll probably see what the price reduction is like for the Core 2 Duo models. Speed isn’t an enormous factor for me because my main comp is a speedy 15″ Pro. And I’d rather not jump on the Thunderbolt wagon until the MacBook Pro line is refreshed and gets a physical redesign. And again, I really wish Apple would make a 15″ Air already, c’mon!

  • Toby Smith

    Another plus 1 on the backlit keyboard. Maybe since the SB processors use less power, they will bring back the backlit keyboard. Hoping anyway.

  • Mike Redmer

    Love my Macbook Air 13″! Don’t know that I will really need the i5/i7 processors. This thing is plenty fast for me, but alas being a Mac fan I may have to upgrade just “because”. :) The 13″ is my main machine and it has been working great! Way better than my MBP15″! 

  • fernando

    thunderbolt and 7 hours battery and im sold.

  • CoastalGuy

    I can’t wait to get a Sandy Bridge 13″ Macbook Air as my main computer. I’ll ditch the 15″‘s that I have.

  • c.t

    Plus one for backlit keyboard,
    Minus two for slower graphics… 

  • Bill

    Get any Acer or Gateway LCD Screen will do just fine.

  • droo

    Souped up MBA 13 for sale with max pro & ram – still 10 mo of warranty on it, Only used about 10-12 times (til the ipad2 arrived in the mail) taking best offers now.

  • Forest Walker

    I have been waiting very, very, very impatiently for this thing… Push it out already Apple…

  • Sean Clifford

    I’ve been waiting for the 13.3″ refresh to replace a C2D 17″ MBP as my main machine. With the screen rez, portability, and Thunderbolt for high speed data transfer, it’s a no-brainer. I’m a developer.

    Giving the old one to a friend’s son, an aspiring 13 year old iOS developer.

    On the topic of Thunderbolt – I’d *really* like a Thunderbolt Flash drive to back up my Air. Yes, I can do disk, but I’d rather have Flash. Everything else can live online.

  • Bimo

    Imagine this; 15″ MBA sandy bridge 8 gigs RAM 256 SSD drive thunder bolt back lid keyboard. It’s the end of the the MBPro line

  • DysonApps

    I think with the MBA, perceived speed is far more important than a Benchmark. I’d like to know if a MBA really needs the kind of graphics power the 2011 Pro model has. I’m thinking not. Is the tradeoff of a superior CPU for a lesser graphics chip worth it? More importantly, is the average MBA user going to notice or care?

  • ErinsDad

    Do you need reading glasses yet? If so, go with the 13. (I had to, I’m old).  Otherwise, enjoy the 11.  Two coworkers went with the 11, and they’re very pleased.

  • Bob Forsberg

    I’ve been waiting for this refresh on the 11″ instead of getting an iPad2. But I’ll keep my new loaded 17″ MBPro for everyday work.

  • Kyle

    Core 2 Duo was the reason i didnt buy the late 2010 update. Core i7 + sandy bridge = new purchase for me.

  • Rob Mitchell

    I have an MBA 11″ from 02/11.  I have the base model, 4G and 64GB longterm storage.  It drives a 27″ monitor as my main machine dong Java web development, and basic office and web stuff. It works great with GIMP for editing large pictures (just did at 30megapixel poster – yes it was a bit slow, sometimes I had to wait a few seconds ;)  Other than for frequent video editing and probably frequent image editing, the MBA 11″ is more than enough. I still have 30GB left!

    However I’m waiting for the latest hardware to come out this summer to buy one for my daughter who is graduating University.  I can’t imaging the i5 being noticeably faster but maybe it will have a larger storage device and more memory for the same money  (or maybe the C2Duo based MBAs will go on sale ;)  The later processors will likely hold their value longer.

  • Nutz320

    No. iCloud keeps only the most recent photos. Apple’s cloud is different from what people think of the cloud. Steve even said, “some people think the cloud is a huge hard drive in the sky. We think it’s more than that.” SSD sizes will continue to grow. Local storage won’t die. Imagine a whole country’s connection goes out. The civilians and organisations all go down. The economy collapses. If this does happen, countries will try to exterminate connection. On the plus side, dictators will think twice before removing their Internet connection. But it just won’t happen. The cloud is sync, not storage. At least, not all of it is storage.

  • Nutz320

    I think it may be the end of both the MacBook and Pro lines. It would be only the Air. One notebook for both consumer and pros. The consumer would choose the lower-end, the pro would upgrade it, but it’d be the same computer. In fact, it may be called the MacBook. The Pro and Air would die, the MacBook would BECOME the Air and lose the label at the end.

  • Gedster314

    If it comes with an internal 3G/4G card as an option, I will buy it for sure.  If not then I it maybe a questionable purchase.  I bought my current small form laptop with a 3G card and I really like having it and I use 3G quite often.  It is pain going to a client site and having to ask for the wifi password and I get much more online time then tethering to a phone.  Using a usb modem or mifi is just one more thing to forget or charge.

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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