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Apple MacBook Air 11.6-inch in the Offing?

Andy Vandervell


Apple MacBook Air 11.6-inch in the Offing?

We call this a plausible rumour rather than solid fact, but well-connected Taiwanese tech site Digitimes is reporting that Apple is to release an 11.6-inch MacBook Air later this year that uses Intel's Core i-series ultra-low processors.

Imagine something like this, but smaller.

Mingchi Kuo, the senior analyst at the presumably related Digitimes Research, claims it will be manufactured by Quanta Computer. However the volumes are likely to be low, with only 400,000 units being shipped initially.

These are all the scant details offered, but the concept of an 11.6-inch MacBook Air is sound. Intel's new Core i5 ULV processors are going on sale now, and the form-factor is one that Apple doesn't offer as yet and arguably makes more sense than the current MacBook Air, which has the same 13-inch form-factor as the significantly more powerful MacBook Pro 13-inch.

Pricing could be an interesting subject. Would Apple undercut the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and Air, or will it be priced above the Pro so as not to cannibalise its sales? Either way, one thing is for certain: it's not a netbook! Call it that and anger will ensue.




July 16, 2010, 4:15 pm

Naturally with the MacBook Air line, the 11 inch is even more expensive than the 13 inch. You take this to its logical conclusion, and they sell you an ****ing empty box for five grand. Can't get more "portable" than a whole lot of nothin'. (I LOATHE this product. It evokes Gibsonesque rage in me every time.)


July 16, 2010, 5:06 pm

For those of you struggling to visualise what a smaller Macbook Air might look like, here's a helpful guide: http://i.imgur.com/UCGCf.jpg


July 16, 2010, 5:09 pm

@GoldenGury: (I LOATHE this product. It evokes Gibsonesque rage in me every time.)

Not my cup of tea either, but not sure why it angers you. Some people will like it, just because it's not your taste no need get upset dear.

But your response does remind me of one of Lea Evens jokes, where he's complaining about all these Health foods products, with this taken out, that taken out. Customers end up walking out of the shops with a bag of air saying, "Must be good for me, there's nothing in it".


July 16, 2010, 5:12 pm

I'm calling bs on this one for now. It just doesn't seem to makes sense. I mean, depending on the price it could compete with the iPad.


July 16, 2010, 5:13 pm

@Hugu: For those of you struggling to visualise what a smaller Macbook Air might look like

Wow!!, by my calculations that's 7.64", when are they planning that one?


July 16, 2010, 5:28 pm

Having owned a Vaio X, it may seem desirable to have a wafer thin notebook but there are so many drawbacks.

Typing - less travel on keys (which are obviously not full size)

Screen - 1366x768 is about the limit on a < 12" panel

Discrete graphics - no chance, nor should you be stupid enough to expect it.

Small machines are all about a blend of amazing battery life with extreme portability. The wish list on the MacRumors forum is hilarious. So many people are going to be disappointed when there wish lists read like this guys:

"Core i7 680 - 1.46GHz, 2.53GHz Turbo! The Core-i7 680UM is absolutely perfect for me. 18 Watts TDP so it won't sear my thighs/duvet/sofa - I love to lap/bed/sofa surf &#8211 being able to at least watch videos on these surfaces is an enormous factor for me. Its 1.46GHz standard clock is perfectly sufficient for my everyday use, with the 2.53GHz Turbo reserved for those few times I personally do heavy lifting &#8211 eg video editing &#8211 whereupon I'll put it on a hardtop table and let it roar.

4GB RAM (though would be nice to have more, for VM)


Intel Graphics - Integrated is the only realistic option that I can think of I'm afraid, barring major improvements in cooling tech (though see Toshiba rumors!)

IPS Display

Improved Battery

Current MBA is according to Apple "Up to 5 hours". With improved throttling algorithms in Snow Leopard (eg throttling individual cores) and potential for improved battery tech/spacial efficiency and lower idle clock speeds from a more efficient 32nm-process processor and integrated graphics only, I guess an 8 hour-battery

Lighter, Aluminium - say 2.5lbs? Despite reading reports late last year about rumors of Apple looking into Carbon Fiber tech for a possible future MBA, the argument of poor thermal conduction and perhaps price means that it is difficult to imagine them not continuing with their proven aluminium model. However, regardless of material I hope the design is as equally killer as the current MBA. And I'd like to see this one in black.

Integrated 4G, or even 3G

3rd Gen Bear-slaughtering algorithm

Shards of moon

Pleasant to the tongue

Some as yet unknown Apple X-factor - a "one more thing" perhaps?"

Oh dear...

The perfect ultra-portable powerhouse machine does exist, you just have to pay through the nose for it. It's called the Vaio Z. Expensive, but it really is the best of everything in one little 13" package :)


July 16, 2010, 5:54 pm

@Hugo: Cool, that looks small enough to crush beneath my mighty foot now!

Hmmm, who'll take bets on Apple announcing this Air and revamped iPod later this afternoon and totally ignoring the antenna issue? {or saying it's a non-issue as the "fix" is already out}


July 16, 2010, 6:03 pm

I thought TR didn't do rumour articles?

Well if netbooks are meant to be about £200-350 then this sure would never be called a Netbook were Apple to make it. But why would they make it, the iPad is magical and the future of computing, they should just kill off their Macbook line now.


July 16, 2010, 7:03 pm

Unfortunately early testing has showing that holding the shift key and any other at the same shorts the keyboard causing the display to blank out. Thankfully apple are kindly offering to fix this by selling you an apple branded external usb keyboard for only $59 or £175.27 for uk customers.


July 16, 2010, 7:36 pm


What can I say? I just think it's the nadir of Apple and needlessly reduces itself to the style-over substance stereotype that so many haters casually ascribe to a usually very decent company. "How did we fit a Mac in here? How did we do it?!" Simple. You gutted a perfectly respectable MacBook Pro and the more you removed, the more you charged! I'd have less of a problem with it if the price point admitted that it's a lot less computer than a MacBook.


Are you sure that's representative and not just one random crazy person? Some desktop replacements would struggle to match that feature set. Without going to the barren extremes of the MacBook Air, size means compromise. And for a supposed Mac fan, they seem to have a gleeful disregard for what makes sense within Apple's own line up, e.g.; integrated 3G is just silly - Apple finally answered that deficiency with the iPad and it makes no sense to encroach on its USP there.


July 16, 2010, 8:02 pm


Just looked at that Vaio Z range. I didn't even know you could crush a 1920 X 1080 res into a 13 inches. (Behind yet again!) But that makes the omission of BD all the more irritating. Granted its business-oriented rather than media, and an external solution is a hell of a lot easier with Windows than OS X.


July 16, 2010, 9:32 pm


There is an optional bluray WRITER in the Z range. You just have to customise the Z (X) series and be happy to pay more than two grand for a laptop... I did and am happy with my Z25W since november 2009 (apart from the defective screen they are refusing to repair under the extended guarantee, but that's another issue).


July 18, 2010, 8:02 am

About time! Now I will finally be able to update by 12" G4 PowerBook.


July 18, 2010, 12:46 pm

Sony customer service is awful in the UK. I have had absolutely terrible exepriences.


July 18, 2010, 1:05 pm

at under 12 inches the macbook air will look very sexual!

Yis Yis Toight!

Toight like a little tiger!


July 18, 2010, 4:36 pm

My other half *still* uses and absolutely adores here PowerBook G4 12" (images: http://www.apple.com/r/store/g..., which is widely regarded and a much-loved model from Apple.

While for doing what she does (no doubt like everyone else's other halves: living on Facebook), the 12" is absolutely fine. However given that things like VLC will say 'Processor too slow' messages, she does realise she needs to upgrade. She does quite like the 13" Air and the 13" MBP, but so far hasn't been totally sold on either.

However the 1024x768 display of the 12" PB, the 1.5GHz G4, a PATA HDD and maximum 1.25GB RAM are really too low and the standards (ie now HDD's are SATA not PATA) are too old for a modern laptop these days.

The thing is Apple have 2 reference models to build the ultimate small form factor laptop: the 12" PB and the Air. So squeezing the Air down to a 11.6/12" size while keeping it's display and resolution the same (but with a lower dot pitch) would be fine. The only real improvement I'd add in the absence of a gigabit port on the Air is to include triple (450mbps) or quad (600mbps) channel 802.11n wifi instead of single channel (150mbps).

It's about time...


August 11, 2010, 12:44 pm

This is what the 11.6" will look like compared to it's bigger 13.3" brother sizewise:


Do you think it's realistic?

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