Signs point to imminent 11.6” MacBook Air debut

That 11.6" MacBook Air we’ve been hearing about may be out before too long. The guys at AppleInsider have learned that Apple is paring down supply of the current, 13.3" MacBook Air, and they say all signs point to an imminent hardware refresh.

What signs? For one, Amazon, MacConnection, MacMall, and J&R—all Apple Authorized Resellers—have reportedly run out of the base 13.3" MacBook Air model. Only two of them carry the other, more upscale variant of the system. AppleInsider says this is the first time it’s "witnessed this abnormal trend in regards to the Air" since it began tracking Mac availability in 2008.

The site goes on to say its sources don’t expect Apple to replenish supply until the middle of this month—an "expansive" delay characteristic of a product refresh.

If a new, 11.6" MacBook Air does come out later this month, it would only reaffirm Apple’s predilection for October hardware launches. You might recall the very first unibody MacBooks made their debut on October 14, 2008, and Apple refreshed its whole Mac lineup almost exactly a year later, on October 20, 2009.

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    • Hrunga Zmuda
    • 9 years ago

    About time!

    • gmcd2200
    • 9 years ago

    Air is a work / office computer with Tons of performance.
    I know because I have one. The Air is Perfect to use as it is portable, and protects the screen. With the Air. you do not need an I-pad as the I-pad does not even offer 1/10 th of the usability and functionality and performace.

    The Air is a beast of a computer, with Tons of performance.. (thx to Open CL and SSD). You can do all office work + games ++++ any other thing you wish. The air is the Best portable computer on the market today.
    I am waiting for HP to bring out an aluminum case Envy to see how that compares. But today.. nothing.. realy nothing even comes close to the quality and usability of these computers…This is by far the best purchase anybody can do if they want the ultimate in portable notebooks. Find your use and get the right computer.

    I hate it when people that comment on forums don’t even know anything on the computers they crap on about.

      • End User
      • 9 years ago

      Jeez. I’m a big Apple fan but I’ve got to say that you have your head in the sand.

      Performance of the Air is rather low in the grand scheme of things. The 9400M sucks for gaming and the fact that it maxes out at 2GB of memory is joke in this day and age.

    • provoko
    • 9 years ago

    techreport is great on computers, but when I read about apple, it’s like reading about diamonds, and i’m not into diamonds

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    The first macbook air was a joke and I still don’t think its a relevant mobile device, but rather a gimmick.

    • samurai1999
    • 9 years ago

    How about if it’s iOS/Arm based, with a 1280×800 resolution, touch-screen
    – priced about $800

    That could be great for the Air target market
    – execs who need to do some light Word-processing & spreadsheeting on the plane, and at the airport
    – should have Facetime as well for quick calls to the office.

    • crsh1976
    • 9 years ago

    Price is going to be key if they want to save the failure the original Air has been; keep it simple, keep it shard, but for God’s sake, keep it under $1k no matter how much “snazzy business lightweight revolutionary goodness” buzzwords you want to slap on it.

      • Decelerate
      • 9 years ago

      The original air was a failure?

        • provoko
        • 9 years ago

        I saw one person ever with an air. Not sure what their profit was on it, but, that doesn’t sound too good. Yet I see many people carrying around an atom based netbook.

      • KoolAidMan
      • 9 years ago

      The Air sold well, and it was cheaper and faster than Lenovo and Sony notebooks in its class.

    • BestJinjo
    • 9 years ago

    Personally, what somewhat justified the MacBook Air before was that it was undoubtedly the slimmest/lightest/trendy 13.3 inch laptop. Sure it didn’t have a fast CPU or a GPU, but it had a screen you can work with and a reasonably sized keyboard.

    With the Air solely moving to 11.6 inch space, the screen and the keyboard are going to be too small for anyone who does office work when travelling. It will (most likely) also be unsuitable for games since I doubt Apple is going to put anything faster than GT415M in there (and the fact that Mac OS is not supportive of many modern games). On top of that Apple is probably going to have a high resolution screen (>1280×800) which will only exacerbate the issue of poor readability on a small screen when working on a plane, train, in a dark hotel room. The smaller physical laptop size will likely compromise the battery life as well.

    And if it isn’t a trendy/sexy laptop with at least a useable screen and keyboad, then it’s pretty useless, esp. since for $500 you can get a 10 inch ipad for your every day emails and Internet browsing.

    At least the Alienware is suitable for games since it runs Windows 7. What am I missing? Why would someone want a >$1000 11.6 inch that won’t be good for office work or games?

    I hope they at least include eSATA or USB 3.0 and an HDMI port as standard.

      • Voldenuit
      • 9 years ago

      Air is not a work/office machine. As others have said, it’s more of a fashion statement.

      The thinkpad X300 that came out around the same time was a much more practical machine, though the Air (sans SSD) was cheaper, had a faster processor and better battery life.

      It’s a shame lenovo has cancelled the X30x line, hopefully the T410s and X20x series will be good enough for road warriors.

      Although I almost never have any devices plugged into my X300 (the Trackpoint is great and the keyboard is better than most anything you can buy anyway), I do appreciate its 3 USB ports much more than the Air’s sole port.

      • End User
      • 9 years ago

      l[

        • BestJinjo
        • 9 years ago

        13 inch at 1080P LOL what a joke. If they could technically produce a 2560×1600 13 inch monitor, I suppose people on these forums would start saying 1080P is too low? Sometimes I think none of you guys actually work in a professional fast-paced environment where you are on the computer 90% of the time.

        Do you guys actually use these things to do your office job? I hope not. I have purchased a 28 inch LCD for work and a 37 inch LCD for home because I couldn’t stand pushing financial models on 12-17 inch laptops. Almost all my coworkers followed suit after seeing what a major difference a large screen makes to their productivity (resolution alone is overrated). If you actually work 12+ hours a day on a 12-13 inch 1080P laptop, I feel sorry for your eyes.

        I’ll even go as far as to say the “big boys” are all running dual- or tripple- monitor working environment. It’s one thing to do “office work” on a computer (say engineering with long deadlines), it’s altogether entirely different when you work in a “live” environment of say trading.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    In other news: people were still buying the Macbook Air.

      • bthylafh
      • 9 years ago

      I know, right? I got a chance to play with a first-gen one last month and was unimpressed. Too slow, no wired Ethernet, and one USB port just isn’t enough.

      I’m a lot more impressed with my (admittedly newer) Acer 1410.

        • Kharnellius
        • 9 years ago

        Got the exact same model! I love the aspire 1410. Great design. I just wish it had bluetooth. :/

          • bthylafh
          • 9 years ago

          There might be an expansion slot in the underside for a card – mine’s got a Bluetooth status light.

            • Kharnellius
            • 9 years ago

            Same, but no actual bluetooth. Good idea about checking for the expansion slot. Hadn’t thought of that.

    • Skrying
    • 9 years ago

    Let’s see if they can figure out a way to put more than one USB port on it this time… my money is on no.

      • Deanjo
      • 9 years ago

      Number of USB ports I regularly use on my portable is one and that’s for when it is sitting on the living room coffee table for use with a mouse. I don’t buy an ultra portable to have to carry around 10 pounds of USB devices with it. If I really need more USB ports, I plug it into a powered USB hub at home. Even then you don’t need that on the MBA, get a bluetooth kb/mouse and that frees up the one USB for what ever you want.

        • swaaye
        • 9 years ago

        I hope you don’t ever need to use a mouse and a USB stick at the same time or something.

        ASUS managed to fit 3 USB ports onto the EeePC 900 and obviously it’s smaller than these Macs. 2 is minimum for me. I haven’t seen a notebook with only one port since the Pentium II days when USB was nearly useless.

          • Deanjo
          • 9 years ago

          That’s just the thing, I don’t need all that crap on a portable. If I wanna do some gaming, I use the desktop, if I need to do something that requires a large HD, I use either a desktop or connect to NAS, it’s not like some FCP user is gonna buy a MBA for running Final Cut on or a Eee to run Premiere on. Again if your gonna have all that crap hooked up you should probably be running a powered USB hub anyways. One USB connection can handle up to 127 devices.

            • swaaye
            • 9 years ago

            All that crap as in a mouse and a USB stick? What if one day you want to copy some data from one USB stick to another? 😀

            • Deanjo
            • 9 years ago

            Nice editting of your post, you had joystick, mouse and possibly HD, before you editted it. Here is an easy wireless solution though for ya, bluetooth mouse and gamepad. No wires at all.

            • swaaye
            • 9 years ago

            Hey if you’re happy with one port, that’s neat. I’d steer clear myself though. I use 2 ports at once rather often and I don’t want to have to plug in a hub to do it.

            I don’t use gamepads/joysticks very much, but USB flash sticks, mice and HDDs are frequent for me. My Logitech VX Nano receiver is a permanent resident in one port.

            • Deanjo
            • 9 years ago

            To the same effect I have quite literally hundreds of laptops where the USB was never used, period. As well I have seen many many many portables with a broken USB hub from people plugging in devices and smacking the connector from moving and such. Laptops typically have a lower max current rating on their ports as well not to mention that plugging in (especially storage devices) typically draw a hell of a lot more battery power then keeping a bluetooth connection active. Since USB is hot pluggable you can simple swap one thumb drive for another. It’s simply not that big of an issue for most people, it’s just another reason that people like to jump on because they hate apple.

            • swaaye
            • 9 years ago

            I hope you’re not saying I hate Apple because I think any computer with one USB port is lacking. 🙂

            I still say 2 ports is minimum. Want to copy from one USB stick to another, 2 gets the job done. Don’t need to buy and pack a hub. Yes there are other ways to get connectivity for other devices, but 2 ports is not asking for the world.

            • Deanjo
            • 9 years ago

            Not saying that you in particular are but it was the feature that every anti-MBA article concentrated on even though it is a non-issue for most people in real everyday use. The MBA was and always has been marketed as a supplement to an existing “power” system and never a replacement.

            • zdw
            • 9 years ago

            /[

            • Deanjo
            • 9 years ago

            Nice catch, one less needed USB port since the MBA has built in bluetooth.

            • swaaye
            • 9 years ago

            Yeah I have bluetooth in two notebooks but I haven’t bought a mouse for it. I would definitely pick up a bluetooth mouse if I needed a new mouse though because bluetooth seems to be almost a standard feature now.

            I still don’t want a notebook with one USB port though, simply because I don’t want to lose the ability to use two USB storage devices at once.

            • Kharnellius
            • 9 years ago

            You are clearly not the target market for this. Pretty much everyone can see that but you.

            Why would you be using a mouse on an ultraportable? The point of having an ultraportable is for someone on the run nonstop who would probably NOT be using a mouse or really any other devices. If they really need one they would be using a smaller bluetooth enabled one.

            Further posts seem pretty pointless.

            • swaaye
            • 9 years ago

            Yup I tend to not pay more for less. Or maybe I should say that I don’t see the “form” over function here.

            • Kharnellius
            • 9 years ago

            Don’t change the subject to cost when that was never the original argument. I never said I didn’t think the MA was overpriced.

            That said,

            After finally using Apple products for a descent amount of time (more than 10 minutes) and finding how useful they are…I’ve realized the “apple tax” is not nearly as high as people would have us believe. Not everyone will agree, I know. But, obviously for a lot of people the extra money is worth it. It’s definitely not marketing that drove me to that conclusion because I found a lot of their marketing to be a bit “I’m better than you”. DESPITE the marketing getting in the way, I have found that there is definitely a reason why people like their product. The more $ for less is such a narrow approach because you are really ignoring the entire package. If you truly give them a chance and actually use one of their computers for a week or so but still find it not worth it, fine, it’s not your kind of product.

            For a lot of people, “it just works” for them. I can’t understand why people get so offended at the prospect that not everyone has the same tastes or needs as themselves.

            I only own an iPod and can’t really afford any of their computers, but I definitely would use one (pretty much exclusively) if offered one for a more affordable price.

            • provoko
            • 9 years ago

            Nerds yelling at each other on the internet, hahaha.

            • swaaye
            • 9 years ago

            Look, it’s another internet jackass. Dime a dozen.

            • swaaye
            • 9 years ago

            I’m pretty sure that “Apple hate” isn’t part of the equation here. It’s just a difference in taste. You, Apple and Deanjo are seeing extra ports as redundant and undesirable aesthetically. Not everybody sees those extra ports as redundant.

            It’s like the news post the other day about glossy laptops being undesirable but there were people in there who didn’t mind them either. I was surprised that some people actually liked (or didn’t mind) mirror-like touchpads and insta-smudge glossy finishes.

            • adisor19
            • 9 years ago

            Ever heard of Bluetooth ?

            Adi

            • swaaye
            • 9 years ago

            Maybe if I was stuck with one USB port, bluetooth would be more of a fixation for me.

            • indeego
            • 9 years ago

            So if Apple intro’d 2 USB ports you would not buy it because that was /[

            • Deanjo
            • 9 years ago

            No that’s not what I said, I said I would RARELY, if ever use it. Got wireless controllers and kb/mouse for everything else.

        • Skrying
        • 9 years ago

        So you rarely need more than one USB port… I rarely need one at all on my laptop. But sometimes I do, and sometimes I need two and I’ve even had an occasion when I needed three. Also, since the universe does not only include me I’ve considered that maybe other people have a use for more than one USB port at a time.

        Also, please don’t talk to me about needing to carry around things with a MacBook. Enjoy your MiniDisplayPort adapter. Oh wait… let me guess. YOU never have a need for an external display.

        But guess what… ultraportables tend to be looked at by people on the go who do things. Things that involve maybe getting files from other people using USB drives. Other crazy stuff like connecting to a projector.

        There’s a real advantage to having more than one USB port. Even worse is that there’s no real reason to have only one USB. Apple can easily fit another USB port on the unit. Other companies who spend less time designing their systems (I assume, otherwise I don’t know what to blame on so many companies missing such basic details with their laptop designs) have managed to do it easily enough.

        I like laptops that are flexible. Which ironically has had me looking at Apple’s laptops seriously again lately. I like that I can get a dedicated GPU and 10 hours of battery life with a real Core 2 Duo on their MBP 13. I like that their 15″ model gets 8 hours of battery life and still offer very high performance. That’s flexibility and it’s a great thing. What I don’t like is designs where form killed function (and form would have been just fine with 2 USB ports) and I only get 1 stinking USB port and I’m forced to carry around a MiniDisplayPort to VGA dongle to match my USB hub. While the world is certainly becoming more wireless, there’s many places that simply don’t work out with it very well. Places where people who can lay down some serious money for a laptop work in.

        But go on thinking the way you do. Because we all know your needs are all that matters and that accommodating one additional USB port would just be too much for you.

          • Deanjo
          • 9 years ago

          That’s great and all for you, for your needs you should go for another solution since you are looking for a higher performance machine to begin with. one six inch dongle is still easier to handle then carrying around external hard drives, wired keyboard and mouse, etc. MBP’s are meant to be a main system, the MBA isn’t, it’s there to compliment your other system when portability is needed. Two different audiences for two different products.

            • Skrying
            • 9 years ago

            What? I’m not even talking about what I would carry around and I’m not talking about myself. This isn’t about me. I’m simply coming up with numerous scenarios on why a Air having another USB port would be very helpful. It doesn’t even involve the user having that stuff on themselves, they just come in a case where it would be very useful.

            And again, there’s no reason not to have another USB port. It’s simply not there because Apple screwed up their form over function formula that time.

            • Deanjo
            • 9 years ago

            If you have all that “stuff” around you chances are you are at a desk environment where a powered USB hub offers only needing to plug in one cable into the machine.

            • Skrying
            • 9 years ago

            Other people. I assume you’re being purposely ignorant at this point and I’m done. You’re ridiculous.

          • swaaye
          • 9 years ago

          Apple doesn’t want your Macbook Air to have too many features. 🙂

          I suppose it could be a way to motivate people to look at the Macbook Pro line for their needs instead? I dunno.

        • ludi
        • 9 years ago

        Number I regularly use is two. The mouse hits one and a USB key hits the other quite frequently. Now and then I plug in a USB DVD-multi drive and I really don’t need a powered USB hub added into the mix with the extra cords and plugs scattered around to make all this work, either — I just need my Acer 1810TZ, which conveniently has three USB ports (and HDMI output as well).

        I suppose I could re-design my usage profile around Apple’s whims, but why? They did it as a fashion aesthetic, no other good reason. That worked real well when they decided to boot the floppy out of the original iMac as I recall.

          • Deanjo
          • 9 years ago

          Bluetooth Keyboard and mouse, now you only need one USB port for your DVD multi-drive. Two less cords, better battery life, more freedom, again only one USB port actually needed. Why tie yourself down with cords? Kind of defeats the purpose of a portable machine.

            • Skrying
            • 9 years ago

            You’re ridiculous. I’m not even talking about needing an external keyboard or mouse. How about just needing a external hard drive and a USB thumb drive plugged in at once? Or two thumb drives? How about connecting a printer in a pinch and wanting something else in?

            Even worse is that you’re arguing this and yet there’s no reason to argue it. The port should be there, I doubt the existence of any valid argument against why it isn’t there.

            • Deanjo
            • 9 years ago

            You know USB is hotplug right? So far there is not one operation that you mention that requires more then one USB port at a time.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 9 years ago

            Um, he mentioned a few non-farfetched ‘plug in i[

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 9 years ago

    Going from 13.3 to 11.6? Is that a downgrade?

      • Forge
      • 9 years ago

      Not for those crazy people out in the world who feel that portable > useable.

      They’ll be friggin overjoyed. It’s doubtlessly three tenths of a gram lighter, with 30 minutes more battery life!

        • SomeOtherGeek
        • 9 years ago

        Cool, Thanks!

        • Kharnellius
        • 9 years ago

        Quite happy with my 11″ Acer. When I need a bigger display, I connect to my 22 monitor. I don’t have any other computer in the house.

        • djgandy
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah. Those crazy people who buy laptops that can be used while not being plugged into the wall.

          • Forge
          • 9 years ago

          My laptop runs a 1680*1050 15.4″ screen, discrete graphics, a Core 2 Duo, 4GB of ram, Bluray, and it gets three hours+ on a charge. I don’t know how much it weighs, and don’t much care. If I feel a need to compute while walking/hiking/something else weight sensitive, I have my iPad.

          Not all of us want a computer that can only web browse and email, no matter if it’s two ounces with a ten hour battery.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 9 years ago

          That’s an odd thing to say considering that 13″ laptops with high capacity batteries blow everything else out of the water in battery life and weigh under 4 pounds.

        • KoolAidMan
        • 9 years ago

        As opposed to the crazy people who buy 12lb “portables” with 30 minutes of battery life /[

          • swaaye
          • 9 years ago

          Well, one can own more than one portable computing device. The hugenormous notes can be kinda nice as a mobile beast. The ricer styling takeover has been disappointing though.

    • Captain Ned
    • 9 years ago

    Some weird black turtleneck dude takes October Surprise way too seriously.

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