The Sandy Bridge MacBook Air has been a long time coming, and according to recent rumors it won’t be here on Wednesday, but it will be here pretty soon. Apple Insider reports that that Apple expects to ship 1.5 Million MacBook Air ultraportable notebooks per quarter when the notebook is refreshed with a much more powerful Intel Sandy Bridge processor. This is in addition to the report telling us that Apple has ordered 380,000 Sandy Bridge MacBook Air models from last week.
We had heard that the planned Apple retail store overnight preparation for Wednesday would be to launch a new MacBook Air with the latest Intel Core i family of processors, but recent evidence says that this will not happen. Still, we do expect to see Apple launch an updated MacBook Air before school starts this year, and before the current MacBook Air models turn a year old.
These new MacBook Air models would also make use of the integrated Intel graphics to handle the graphical processing power, a feat made possible due to improvements in Intel’s integrated GPUs over the first generation. These faster processors would provide an even better user experience and more power without hitting battery life too hard. The current generation MacBook Air isn’t a slouch, but Apple will be tempting a lot of current MacBook Air owners with a new faster model. The next MacBook Air will also likely include the Thunderbolt port for faster data connectivity, but without any real accessories, most users will only use it as a DisplayPort, if at all.
Given that Wednesday is out, we might expect to see a new Sandy Bridge MacBook Air update when OS X Lion launches in July, allowing Apple to ship the new MacBook Air models with Lion right off the bat. OS X Lion was announced to arrive in July at WWDC and will be available exclusively in the Apple Mac App Store. OS X Lion will include a collection of iCloud features which will all be live by this Fall and offer a collection of nice features to the iOS devices and Mac OS X Lion notebooks.
According to the report, it is expected that at least half of the existing Mac install base will upgrade to Mac OS X Lion within two to three quarters. The upgrade pricing is great, but users who have skipped out on the upgrade to OS X Snow Leopard won’t be able to access the Mac App store in order to purchase an upgrade, which will force some users to stay on an older version of OS X or make a hardware upgrade more attractive than purchasing and performing two OS X upgrades.