Apple has asked its suppliers and manufacturers to start production of its ultra-thin notebook this month for launch in June or July, according to a report Wednesday by DigiTimes, a Taiwanese tech journal. The new versions of the MacBook Air are expected to include Intel's (INTC) Sandy Bridge processors and Apple's speedy Thunderbolt data connector, the report said.
|Apple MacBook Air|
This means that the MacBook Airs are also the only new product -- with the possible exception of the iTunes cloud music service -- that Apple will have to show off during the World Wide Developers Conference on June 6. This show, it should be noted, has traditionally been the launchpad for Apple's latest and greatest iPhones.
If true, and the MacBook Air is the main event, the news will likely come as another disappointment this year for Apple on the new product front.As first reported at TheStreet, the long-awaited 4G LTE iPhone has been delayed until next year. The next iPhone, dubbed 4S, will have only minor upgrades. While there's nothing wrong with upgraded MacBook Airs, Apple has a special status in the tech sector. And Apple plays to a demanding audience of leading-edge consumers and growth-hungry investors who want a steady supply of bold new killer products. The delays of the iPhone come at a time when Google's (GOOG - Get Report) Androids are loading up on bigger processors and higher 4G LTE speeds than what's featured on Apple's aging 3G phones. Minor tweaks to the iPhone 4S and reheated MacBooks aren't likely to mollify investors. Apple shares, which surged 60% last year, have gone almost nowhere this year. Wall Street continues to see a yellow light with Apple. While hopeful for a major new product, investors are also braced for bad news about Steve Jobs' health and his future with the company. Apple shares were mostly unchanged at $336.00 early Wednesday, and have been down 3% in the past three days. --Written by Scott Moritz in New York.
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