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MacBook Air rumor roundup

With Apple's Back to the Mac event only two days away, we've rounded up the recent MacBook Air rumors. If they're to be believed, the new Air will come in two models, feature a new design, be less expensive than its predecessor, and store a boatload of batteries. Here's what we've heard so far.

Where's the hard drive?

This alleged photo of a prototype surfaced, which shows what appears to be a laptop that's long on batteries but short on storage. There are four batteries clearly visible, but there's no hard drive. Perhaps this is a prototype focusing on battery placement, or maybe the MacBook Air will rely on flash storage. Perhaps it will put even greater emphasis on so-called cloud-based storage.
In fact, AppleInsider suggests that the new Air will use neither a conventional hard disk or SSD; instead, it may employ an "SSD Card," which resembles a stick of RAM and will not be easily replaced by average users.

Re-design

Meanwhile, Cult of Mac references reliable sources when reporting that Apple will debut two models on Wednesday: a 13.3-inch model and an 11.6-inch model. Both are expected to have a re-designed enclosure, additional ports, and incredible boot speed. "It boots so fast, it's unbelievable," said CoM's source. "It's amazing how fast it boots up." Other changes CoM expects to see:
  • Improved battery life
  • A "boxier" design, akin to the iPhone 4's straight lines (above is CoM's mockup of a potential redesign)
  • Upgradable SSD and RAM (starting at 2GB)
  • Both a 2.1GHz (with 2GB of RAM) and 2.4GHz (with 4GB of RAM) configuration, though CoM notes that their sources could not confirm processor rumors
CNET also reports that Apple will use an 11.6-inch display in one mode. Lastly, The Apple Blog expects the larger model to continue to use the the Core 2 Duo and NVIDIA chipset.

It's about time

The MacBook Air has not received a significant update since June of 2009, when it was bumped up to 2.13GHz with a price point of US$1,499. Despite praise from customers, the MacBook Air never posted spectacular sales numbers in its current incarnation.

The discrepancy in some of the rumors (SSD vs. the "SSD Card") suggest that there will be two models, Of course, we're talking about rumor so who knows. Here's hoping that we can put an end to speculation on Wednesday.

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