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Vanishing into thin [MacBook] Air: Shortages signal WWDC refresh

Lowest-priced 11.6-in. ultra-light out of stock at Amazon; new models powered by Intel's Haswell processors expected in two weeks

Apple's lowest-priced MacBook Air was out of stock on Amazon.com as of Friday, hinting that rumors of a refresh in two weeks are on target. Live stream: WWDC keynote.

Apple's 11.6-in. MacBook Air is running in short supply. (Image: Apple)

The 11.6-in. MacBook Air with 64GB of storage space -- Apple's least expensive laptop -- was listed as unavailable on the giant e-tailer today. "Note: This item is only available from third-party sellers," Amazon.com's listing stated.

That $999 model has been in short supply on Amazon for several weeks.

The pricier 128GB 11.6-in. MacBook Air, which lists for $1,099, remained available on Amazon and other online retailers, however, as did the 128GB 13.3-in. Air. The latter runs $1,199, but Amazon's entry showed a discount to $1,130.

AppleInsider, a blog that regularly tracks Mac hardware prices, reported on the sell-outs Thursday, and had called out the MacBook Air shortages earlier.

Not that the notebook is impossible to find. Spot checks by Computerworld found the $999 MacBook Air available at all stores in the Pacific Northwest; the Massachusetts and Connecticut areas; at outlets in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin; and throughout Texas.

Apple has not refreshed the MacBook Air line since June 2012, when Apple cut prices by $100 on three of the four Air configurations, boosted the standard amount of RAM to 4GB across the board, and placed Intel's dual-core processors from its third-generation Ivy Bridge architecture inside the notebooks.

Most Apple watchers expect that the company will again use its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) to introduce new Air models. The consensus of those rumors is that Apple will roll out Air laptops powered by Intel's latest family of Core processors, code-named Haswell, at WWDC, which runs June 10-14.

Intel will likely unveil the Haswell chips at Computex, a Taipei trade show slated to run June 4-8. Personal computer and tablet makers are also expected to show their Haswell-powered wares there.

According to Intel, Haswell processors will deliver twice the graphics performance of their Ivy Bridge predecessors and 50% longer battery life.

If the new MacBook Air talk is accurate, the ultra-light laptops will probably be introduced by Apple during the WWDC keynote, where various executives, including CEO Tim Cook, will take the stage to also trumpet iOS 7 and OS X 10.9, the as-yet-unnamed upgrade to the Mac's operating system.

The WWDC keynote will take place on the morning of June 10, if Apple follows its usual practice.

This article, Vanishing into thin MacBook Air: Shortages signal WWDC refresh, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is [email protected].

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.


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