While the MacBook Air is a snappy computer, it uses an older Intel Core 2 Duo processor that is as old as the first MacBook Air. This is something that looks likely to change in June, when sources tell CNet that Apple will move the popular MacBook Air models to the latest Intel Sandy Bridge, or 2nd Generation Core i, processors.
If this happens it would be a pretty fast refresh for Apple, which tends to time upgrades a little closer to the 1 year mark, but not entirely unheard of. The hastened upgrade of the MacBook Air isn’t alone as it is already rumored that Apple is planning the iPad 3 for the fall, even though the iPad 2 has yet to be announced.
The MacBook Air ultraportable computers are quite popular due to a very thin form factor and long, 5-7 hour, battery life which mobile users appreciate. The Air notebooks are already quite capable running the 3-year old technology so it’s exciting to think what they would be capable of with a new Sandy Bridge Core i processor!
The new 2nd Generation Core i processors from Intel have a graphics solution built right into the same piece of silicon as the processor which has allowed for much better graphics performance from the integrated graphics processors than on previous generations. This improvement may be what Apple has been waiting for to fit the newer processor in smaller devices like the MacBook Air and even the 13″ MacBook Pro models which also still use the Core 2 Duo processors. The MacBook Pro notebooks have also been rumored to get an update to the latest Intel processors as early as next week and as late as march.
If Apple makes the transition it is highly likely that we will see the smaller MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models using the integrated Intel graphics instead of the older Nvidia GPUs that are currently found. The larger MacBook Pro 15 and MacBook Pro 17 models will likely have both integrated graphics as part of the Sandy Bridge processor and a discrete GPU that offers more power.