Slimmer, lighter Retina MacBook Airs reportedly enter production

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Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Quanta Computer has reportedly started production on Apple’s ultra-thin 12-inch MacBook Air notebooks — although production challenges may mean that it doesn’t hit shelves under after Christmas.

Citing sources in Taiwan’s supply chain, the Digitimes report states that the new MacBook Air is slimmer than both the existing 11.6- and 13.3-inch models, and may well sport Retina displays.

This ambitiously slim form factor is pushing component makers to the limit, however, and currently yield rate is not satisfactory, which has resulted in low output. It is hoped that this will increase from November onwards, although this may not be enough to see the notebooks arrive for the holiday season.

The slimmer design of the MacBook Air was previously reported to be the result of eliminating the fan assembly, which is part of the reason the Air is thicker on one end than the other. Apple may also be able to save space within the new MacBook Air’s chassis by eliminating the physical clicking mechanism in the trackpad.

Apple’s reason for moving to a 12-inch MacBook Air may relate to the fact that the present 11-inch model has a screen size similar to the iPad, and Apple is looking to establish a clear boundary between the two product lines to avoid one cannibalizing the other.

The new MacBook Airs will reportedly come in silver, gold, and space gray options, much like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.