Apple is rumored to release a Retina version of the MacBook Air this fall, according to a new report from Taiwanese publication Economic Times. The next-gen MacBook Air is expected to ship in the third quarter of 2013, and the laptop will go into production overseas during the summer months.
Both the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models are expecting a refresh. Apple will likely use Intel’s new Haswell processor, and the MacBook Air would be given an exterior “facelift” to complement the Retina display.
If Apple were to release a MacBook Air with Retina display later this year, the two biggest factors to overcome would be battery life and cost. The Retina versions of the MacBook Pro sell at a significant premium of several hundred dollars. The MacBook Air is Apple’s entry level laptop, and the company would likely want to keep its attractive $999 price point untouched for the 11-inch model. A Retina display also requires a lot of battery that would have to be crammed into the Air’s ultra-thin enclosure.
Interestingly, Apple lowered prices for the Retina MacBook Pro last week. In addition to adding faster processors and more storage, Apple slashed $200 off the base 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro model and $300 off the high-end model. The Air’s pricing was left untouched.
When Apple introduced the MacBook Pro with Retina display last year, it kept the non-Retina models available for sale at a lower price point. The same thing will probably happen to the MacBook Air in 2013.
It has been rumored that redesigned MacBook Pro and Air models are coming in June. Apple could announce a Retina MacBook Air then and ship it at later date during the third quarter.