Apple's MacBook Air Retina is expected for a Spring 2015 release, according to Apple news, rumors, and insider speculation.
The redesigned 12-inch MacBook Air has been on the minds of many Apple fans as news was expected before the holiday shopping season. But when Apple Insider reported in October that the popular laptop with boosted pixel density would not be revealed at October's Apple event in Cupertino, California, many thought for sure it would come out in November in time for Christmas.
But the article also points to information about a shortage of chips being to blame for the delay. "It's been said that part of the hold-up for the new notebook is short supply of Intel's next-generation 14-nanometer Broadwell chips," the Apple Insider article states. "Intel's new chips are said to allow the notebook to have a fan-less design along with power saving advantages."
Further rumors suggest that the Macbook Air is striving for an even thinner product by adopting a "click-less" trackpad and providing fewer inputs and outputs.
The Retina Display technology has already been seen on Apple's iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPod Touch, iPad, MacBook Pro, iPad Mini, iPad Air, and the iMac. It adds a higher pixel density for each product, depending on the recommended viewing distance for that device's screen. For instance, the iPhone 6 Plus' Retina Display pixel count is 401 with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 because it's meant to be viewed at a distance of 10 inches from the user's eyes. The 27" iMac, on the other hand, has a pixel density of 218 with a resolution of 5120 x 2880 because it's meant to be viewed from 20 inches away.
So why have all of these other Apple products enjoyed the Retina Display technology before the MacBook Air? Engadget notes that it's all about battery life in the ultraportable laptop. "You can summarize the biggest problem with two words: battery life. Stuffing more pixels into an LCD typically requires not just stronger backlights (since there's less light reaching each pixel), but also graphics processing powerful enough to draw all that extra content." This type of hardware contradicts the MacBook Air's mission to be as light and portable as it can be, so it's believed that Apple is finding a happy medium that will hopefully appease consumers.
Despite the chip shortage rumors, Tiawanese tech site Industrial and Commercial Times is reporting that the Broadwell Core M chips were shipped to Apple in time, so we can still look for the MacBook Air Retina by the end of the year.
But a report at The Motley Fool contradicts this, saying that Intel has announced the Broadwell-U processors, including the Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7, will be launched next spring. This coming from Intel's PC Client Group General Manager, Kirk Skaugen himself. The Motley Fool goes on to speculate that these Broadwell-U chips will be the replacement to the 2014 MacBook Air's Haswell processors.
Because of this more credible source and the fact that we're almost at December with still no word from Apple, the likeliness of Apple even announcing the MacBook Air Retina before the end of the year is slim-to-none. Spring is a traditionally successful time for new product announcements, so we're expecting Apple to spill the beans on the new Retina version of the MacBook Air in Spring of 2015.