Rumor: 12-inch MacBook Air Will Feature Thinner, Fan-less Design


Making the rumor rounds this week is a report about a new 12-inch MacBook Air to be released sometime soon; well, at least before summer. The rumor can be traced to a single post on a Chinese forum called Weiphone.com (translated post). The author of the post has in the past posted accurate images of Apple products in the early manufacturing stage, although in this case, no images are included.

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The gist of the rumor is a 12-inch MacBook Air that will be very thin, using a new click-less touchpad and a fan-less design; there’s no mention of display type or processor. Due to translation issues, it’s not really clear whether the new product will be a MacBook Air, a 12-inch iPad, a new combo tablet, or just a prototyping exercise.

A touchpad that doesn’t include a mechanical click mechanism would have a smaller profile, allowing for a thinner overall design, although in the current iteration of the MacBook Air, the touchpad isn’t the only component that impedes the use of a smaller case.

A fan-less design would require a very low-power processor, and although Apple has used fan-less designs in the iPad Air and iPhones, it can do so because of the lower processing prowess needed by these devices. A super-thin and fan-less MacBook Air would probably need a custom Intel Haswell processor or an Intel Atom processor. Apple could of course use its own custom processor, as it does in iPads, but although performance is OK with an iPad, it probably wouldn’t meet the needs of a full-blown multi-tasking OS like OS X. There’s also no evidence of Apple porting OS X to run on one of its A series of processors.

A rumored 12-inch MacBook Air also means a rethink of the MacBook Air lineup; surely Apple wouldn’t offer three MacBook Air sizes. So, would a new 12-inch model replace the 11-inch or the 13-inch model of the Air, or would they both go away, leaving a single 12-inch model?

Hard to say; that’s the fun with rumors. What do you think of a new ultra-thin 12-inch MacBook Air? Leave a comment and let us know.

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