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Macbook Air 2014 Rumors & Release Date: New Laptop Could Have Retina Display, Better Battery Life, 12" Screen

First Posted: Dec 13, 2013 11:03 AM EST

The MacBook Air is Apple's lightest laptop and comes in 11" and 13". It has been in Apple's laptop lineup since January 2008. While it was just refreshed this past summer the minor changes left many die-hard Apple fans in the cold.

The current 2013 model features a battery that lasts up to 15 hours in some tests thanks to the new Haswell i7 CPU. Also, the 11" and 13" Airs include ultra fast PCI-E based solid-state storage. It is the fastest storage available anywhere and leaves PCs in the dust.

But one area where the competition has caught up, notably the Sony VAIO lineup, is design. The MacBook Air's thinner-than-a-pencil, tapered body structure has become antiquated since its revolutionary arrival nearly 6 years ago. Also, while having all-day battery life is great, who would even use a sub-1080p display for that amount of time without vision and productivity issues.

Here's what to look out for in the new MacBook Air expected to launch in mid 2014:

Retina Display

The MacBook Pro line and every iDevice that has a screen besides the iPod Classic and Nano include the Retina display (either for free or as a feature upgrade). The woefully behind the times 1366 by 768 panel on the 11" model and the 1440 by 900 on the 13" were high tech a half decade ago. Now, with resolutions nearly 4K and exceeding 1080p full HD, what chance does the Air have of getting a facelift? A retina display it seems is at the top of Apple's next Air upgrade wish list. Expect a 2304 by 1440 display.

Less Power Consumption

Expect even more battery life on top of the already class-leading battery performance the 11" and 13" models sport. Why? Better software management, newer, less intensive graphics and hardware optimization.

One model

If previously published reports are to be believed, Apple may shock the Apple community and drop the current Airs altogether in favor of a 12" model.

With the advent of the Retina Display and the fact that more pixels would be in the panel itself, a 13" model looks like to be too heavy. Additionally, an 11" laptop or, as some in the PC world call them, net books have never really been that desirable for anything other than their size.  An already cramped keyboard and glass track pad will be given more room to breath in a 12" enclosure.

Lighter, Thinner, Faster

The 17" MacBook Pro was axed in 2012 because sales were poor. Most consumers want a laptop large enough to be productive, but small enough to make it slip into a pocket book, backpack or messenger bag.

OS X/iOS Convergence

The Mac's operating system OS X has been adding iOS apps and features since Lion was released in 2011. Could we see a laptop with iPhone like functionality? It's only a matter of time but without a touchscreen, which the redesigned Air is unlikely to include, it would be a moot point.

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