According to yet another report, Apple plans to double its MacBook Air production starting next month. This major increase is believed to be related to a new MacBook Air, which is rumored to come out with an upgraded Sandy Bridge processor and the new Thunderbolt I/O port.

MacBook Air

Apple has ordered parts for about 8 million MacBook Airs in the third quarter, almost doubling previous estimates:

Shipments of parts and components for MacBook lineups totaled an equivalent of 2.2-2.4 million MacBooks in June, and orders for July are likely to top 2.7-2.8 million units, said the sources, noting that the increase is in line with Apple’s previous strategy to ramp up deliveries prior to the launch of new products.

According to this source, the new MacBook Airs will also sport a Thunderbolt I/O port and Mac OS X Lion, Apple’s next-generation Mac operating system, which is consistent with previous rumors:

The new MacBook Air is also expected to feature Apple’s new Mac OS X, Lion, and support the Thunderbolt interface, the sources indicated.

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’re probably aware of all the rumors related to this product that have been going around for the past few weeks. A relatively new rumor has hinted at a possible black version of the MacBook Air, although most other reports have been centered around the notion of the MacBook inheriting the 2nd generation Intel Core processors, otherwise known as Sandy Bridge, and also boast the all new ultra high speed Thunderbolt I/O port.

The MacBook Air is currently marketed as “the future of MacBooks”, or more specifically, stripped down ultra-thin MacBooks that still manage to pack relatively powerful hardware. Current models include fairly underpowered Core 2 Duos, which are way below industry standards, especially considering most of the Mac product line has been updated with Intel i5 and i7 processors. The next-generation MacBook Air will almost certainly include a Core i5, or i3 due to the smaller casing, and give up the Core 2 Duo processor lineup once and for all.

Thunderbolt is an interface developed by Intel in a partnership with Apple that allows fast video and data transfers, faster than USB 3.0 and eSATA combined. Although other makers have been reluctant to include this technology out of fears it might not catch on, Apple has bundled the interface into some of its newest products, such as a new MacBook Pro line which was released earlier this year and the new iMac models released soon after.

Whatever happens, the new models are expected to come in the same 11-inch and 13-inch options shortly after Lion is released some time in July.

Furthermore, if you’re an existing owner of a Mac and plan to upgrade to OS X Lion, then you would need to install the Mac OS X 10.6.8 update released by Apple yesterday in order to prepare the Mac App Store for OS X Lion.

(via Digitimes)

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