June WWDC Launch Looking More Likely for 12-Inch Retina MacBook Air

Despite rumors earlier this week suggesting the 12-inch Retina MacBook Air could see a launch during Apple’s upcoming March 9 media event, The Wall Street Journal tonight released a report indicating the notebook won’t be shipping until Q2 2015. The site shared the tidbit in a detailed report on upcoming features that might be added to the larger-screened 12.9-inch “iPad Pro.”

While suppliers are gearing up to ship the new 12-inch MacBook Air in large quantities in the second quarter, Apple’s launch schedule remains unclear, the people said.

A Q2 2015 shipment date for the 12-inch MacBook Air suggests Apple could be planning to launch the notebook around June, possibly at its Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple has launched products during WWDC before, introducing the Mac Pro in 2013 and the Retina MacBook Pro in 2012.

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Rendering of the 12-inch MacBook Air next to an existing MacBook Air by Martin Hajek

Aside from a potential launch date for the notebook, there’s one other significant point of interest in The Wall Street Journal‘s report — a clear distinction between the 12-inch MacBook Air and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Some users have speculated that due to the similarity in screen size and the iPad-like features rumored for the 12-inch Retina MacBook Air, the two products are actually one, but this new report makes it very clear that Apple is developing two separate product lines.
Separately, Apple also plans to broaden its product offering with a new 12-inch MacBook Air, people familiar with the matter said.

Earlier this year, Apple’s suppliers started mass production of a 12-inch MacBook Air, featuring a higher resolution display, they said.

There is some convergence between the two products, despite the fact that one is an iPad and one is a MacBook. The 12-inch MacBook Air is rumored to have iPad-like colors, fewer ports, and no Magsafe charger, while tonight’s WSJ report points towards an iPad with USB ports, but it’s likely the two products will continue to be separated by operating system.

Though Apple may not plan to launch the 12-inch Retina MacBook Air during its March 9 event, there’s still a good chance the company may refresh its existing 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air lineup, which are overdue for an update. Screenshots said to be from a 13-inch MacBook Air with a Broadwell processor and integrated Intel HD 6000 graphics were shared this afternoon, suggesting a refresh is imminent.


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