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Rumor: Intel to push back Mac-bound Ivy Bridge chip shipments until June

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Intel is rumored to have warned its partners that mass shipments of its next-generation Ivy Bridge processors, which are expected to make their way into Apple's Mac lineup later this year, will not begin until after June, though a "small volume" of chips will reportedly go out in early April.

Sources from notebook players have told Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes that both Intel and its first-tier notebook vendors have built up troubling inventories of the current-generation Sandy Bridge Processors. As a result, the Santa Clara, Calif., chipmaker "plans to delay mass shipments of the new processors to minimize the impact," according to the report.

Intel is still expected to announce the new line of processors and ship a "small volume" of them in early April, tipsters said. They also added that mass shipments would then arrive sometime "after June."

The report went on to claim that notebook vendors have begun adjusting their projects for Ivy Bridge-powered models in light of Intel's delay. Sources also reportedly told the publication that PC makers don't expect a "PC replacement trend" until Microsoft launches Windows 8 in late 2012.

"The first three quarters of 2012 will still be a dark period for the notebook industry," the report noted insiders as having said.

According to an alleged leaked roadmap that surfaced late last year, Intel's Ivy Bridge chip candidates for the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air had been tentatively scheduled for a May 2012 debut.

AppleInsider reported last week that Apple will conduct a top-to-bottom revamp of its notebooks lineup throughout 2012 that will bring its MacBook Pro portables more in line with the MacBook Air designs.

One person familiar with the new designs told AppleInsider that the new machines are "all going to look like MacBook Airs." Apple is expected to revamp the 15-inch MacBook Pro first, followed by the 17-inch model a few months later. The next-generation machines are expected to built around Intel's Ivy Bridge micro architecture and rely heavily on Thunderbolt. However, the company's naming system for the new laptops as yet remains unclear.

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

Rumors out of Asia have also pointed to a new thin-and-light 15-inch MacBook model arriving in the first half of 2012. Last December, DigiTimes claimed Apple is readying a Retina Display-equipped 15-inch MacBook Pro for release in the second quarter of 2012.