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Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 04:47 am PT (07:47 am ET)

Apple said to be considering a 14-inch MacBook Air for Asian markets

A new rumor claims Apple is weighing the prospect of a new 14-inch MacBook Air model designed specifically to cater to the Asian PC market.

Mass production of the 14-inch thin-and-light notebook may begin soon, DigiTimes reported on Wednesday. Apple is said to be considering the 14-inch screen size for the notebook because it is a popular form factor unique to the region.

Currently, the MacBook Air is only available in screen sizes of 11.6 inches and 13.3 inches. There have been rumors that Apple is planning to launch a new 15-inch model of the MacBook Air at some point this year, expanding its ultraportable lineup to a larger screen size.

But while Western countries prefer the 15-inch screen size, in the Asia market, 14-inch notebooks account for as much as 40 percent of sales. It's because of the market's "fondness for 14-inch models" that Apple is said to be considering a screen size specifically for that region.

"The sources analyzed that Apple is currently turning its targets from North American and Europe to Asia, and is eyeing the China market as its major market since the company still has strong potential in the country," the report reads. "The consideration of a 14-inch MacBook Air would be an indication the company will become even more aggressive about the China market."

MacBook Lineup

An illustration of Apple's notebook lineup planned for the 2012 calendar year.


With Apple expected to dramatically redesign its high-end MacBook Pro lineup this year, there has been some question as to whether a new thin-and-light 15-inch notebook would be an "Air" or a "Pro" notebook. Earlier this month, AppleInsider quoted a person familiar with Apple's new MacBook Pro designs who indicated: "They're all going to look like MacBook Airs."

Apple's next generation of notebooks are expected to be powered by Intel's Ivy Bridge processors. This week, an official from the chipmaker stated that the CPUs have been delayed, and will go on sale eight to 10 weeks later than originally planned, likely in June.