What Apple Hasn’t Shown Us Yet: Mac Rumors Point To Fanless 12-Inch MacBook

Apple put on quite a show yesterday at its Worldwide Developer Conference, but even with all the features it showed off for the iPhone, iPad, and the Mac, rumors abound surrounding even more Apple products. The newest rumors have Apple preparing to release yet another MacBook model, and this one could be revolutionary.

Yesterday’s WWDC was chock-full of new features and surprises for iPhone and Mac software lovers, but the developer-centric conference was, as usual, light on hardware news. That’s because Apple prefers to show off its new hardware – be it the next iPhone, iMac, iPad, or MacBook – in dedicated media events. Otherwise, the company is notoriously reticent regarding new gear, but the rumors still fly.

The latest whispers have Apple on the verge of releasing a fanless MacBook model some time this year. Over at The Verge, they’re basing the assumption off an Intel reference PC design that was revealed on Tuesday. Why are Mac rumors spinning out from an Intel PC design? Because Apple currently uses Intel’s processors in its MacBooks, iMacs, and other Macs, so Intel’s advances become Apple products.

Reportedly, Intel’s reference PC has a 12.5-inch display and is just 7.2 millimeters thick. That would put the rumored Mac equivalent around the same size as Microsoft’s recently announced Surface Pro 3, but rumors have Apple going a step further with the Mac notebook. According to reports, Apple won’t be putting a fan inside the rumored Mac.

That would make for a silent-running notebook. If the rumors bore out and Apple pushed out just such a Mac, Apple would likely secure an even tighter hold on the ultraportable notebook market. As it stands, the company’s MacBook Air line is the best-selling notebook line in its class. This rumored fanless Mac – no doubt with a super-optimized version of OS X powering it – would be a hard act for other PC manufacturers to follow.

Meanwhile, 9to5Mac, which typically has a good sense of what’s what in the Mac rumors world, says that Mac lovers might not want to hold their breath for a fanless computer just yet. Apple is supremely focused on performance, 9to5 points out, and the company doesn’t take big steps without knowing they’ve got all the kinks worked out. The rumored fanless Mac is possible, they note, but Apple might hold off on putting one out this year so they can better address issues like performance and battery life for next year’s model.

That doesn’t mean we won’t see a Mac model that’s been at the source of many rumors later this year, though. Well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has been predicting a 12-inch MacBook model for launch in 2014. That model would supposedly have a Retina display and be thinner than any other Macs currently on offer.

Apple is almost certain to refresh its iMac line some time later this year, as well as its Mac mini line. The iMac and Mac mini haven’t been at the source of too many new rumors, but Intel’s new chip designs will allow for even thinner devices, and Apple loves to go thinner.

The next few days will likely see even more Mac rumors popping up, what with the developer’s preview of OS X Yosemite already available. References within the code to any other potential Mac builds will almost certainly spark all new rumors, but we’ll probably just have to wait until the fall to see what Apple has in store.

Lead image via TUAW.