Apple is set to release the 12-inch MacBook Air Retina in March of this year, confirming several leaked images and rumors that have been spreading around about the thinner and lighter laptop over the last few months.
According to a report at Apple Insider, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a recent research document that we can expect to see the ultraportable MacBook Air Retina "sometime this quarter." The document is accompanied by financial statistics that show Apple enjoying a very good year with expected revenue increases in 2015.
In addition to the 12-inch MacBook Air Retina releasing some time before April, Kuo also says that the highly anticipated Apple Watch will be launching in April, according to CEO Tim Cook, which should bring Apple into record-breaking sales for the following quarter if all goes well.
Apple is expected to sell 2.8 million Apple Watches in the first quarter, which would be quite a bit considering the fact that the device is expected to go on sale toward the end of the quarter. Tech companies tend to release new anticipated products toward the end of the quarter to spread that revenue across two or more quarters and further boost the company's sales figures.
An earlier leak was said to show off the MacBook Air Retina as a metal shell 12-inch model with a resolution of 2304 x 1440, which would back up Kuo's comments about the product already being in production. This would lead some to believe that the Air Retina could not only be announced in March but also launch right after the announcement.
As for specs, the MacBook Air Retina is expected to be an upgraded version of the previous MacBook Air, with the important introduction of two key components: the fanless Intel Core M processor and the Retina Display resolution technology. The Retina Display technology was left off the original MacBook Air to allow the product to be the thinnest and lightest design possible, but new advancements in technology (including the cooler-running, fanless Core M processor) allowed Apple to bring Retina to the MacBook Air without sacrificing the portability that the device is best known for.
Another important rumor surrounding the new MacBook Air is the addition of the USB Type-C port. While this new port is thinner and supports 100w of power (enough for a 4k display, for example), it's not backwards compatible. This is a huge sticking point for those who still want the flexibility of using their older USB devices, but the advancements in the technology should make many Apple fans happy.
As the iPad's sales continue to slump, we could be seeing Apple turning toward a larger focus on pushing the more powerful MacBook Air as long as it can serve the same niche as the iPad has for so many years. The release of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 were both flops, according to Kuo's data that shows a 17.8 percent drop in iPad sales year-to-year during the precious holiday season. But so far in this first quarter of 2015, iPad sales are down 38 percent over last year at this time. It might just be time for Apple to refocus their lens and release a new innovation.
So now we watch the direction of the MacBook Air to possibly take over the tablet market, and the Apple Watch to introduce a new era of wearables with built-in online payment options. We'll be interested to see where Apple stands this time next year.