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Rumor: Apple's new 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display to launch this quarter

Apple's anticipated MacBook Air with 12-inch Retina display could launch as soon as this quarter following the start of production by Quanta Computer, according to the latest supply chain rumor out of the Far East.




"Volume production" of the new 12-inch MacBook Air recently began, paving the way for a first-quarter launch, according to DigiTimes, which cited sources within the Taiwan-based supply chain. Quanta is said to have recently hired more workers, and could add as many as 30,000 more this quarter, as it ramps up not only for the new MacBook Air, but also the Apple Watch.

Tuesday's report also claimed that the Retina MacBook Air is expected to replace Apple's current entry-level 11-inch MacBook Air. The report claimed that the 13-inch model, which lacks a Retina display, will continue to be available.

The report, of course, should be taken with considerable skepticism, as DigiTimes has an exceptionally poor track record when it comes to predicting Apple's future product plans.

Still, last week at CES, Intel officially unveiled its "Broadwell" lineup of next-generation processors. The 14-nanometer chip technology is expected to be the centerpiece of Apple's new MacBook Air, which is rumored to feature an ultra-thin design lacking even a fan for cooling.

Purported details about the anticipated 12-inch MacBook Air have also begun to surface ahead of the rumored launch, including claims that Apple will rely on the new, smaller, reversible USB 3.1 Type-C connector, eschewing established full-size USB plugs. The new MacBook Air is also rumored to feature a "click-less" trackpad, and fewer physical inputs and outputs.

Faced with delays for Intel's Broadwell processors, Apple last April opted for a minor speed boost on its existing MacBook Air lineup. The CPUs were increased by just 100 megahertz, but Apple also increased value, cutting $100 off the models to reach a new starting price of $899 for the 11.6-inch model.