Apple might be getting ready to refresh one of its most popular (non-iPhone) products as a new report claims that the long-rumored 12-inch MacBook Air could be set to debut as early as April of this year. What's less clear, though, is just what's going on with another rumored Apple product, the larger iPad model that some observers have been predicting for months.
The newest report comes by way of The Wall Street Journal, which has a relatively solid record when it comes to Apple scoops. According to the WSJ report, Apple suppliers began mass production of the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air earlier this year, and the device should see release in the second quarter of this year.
Since the second quarter begins in April, and since Apple already has a media event scheduled for next week, it's entirely possible that Apple CEO Tim Cook could show off the refreshed MacBook Air as Apple's "One more thing" after giving more details on the forthcoming Apple Watch launch.
With the refreshed MacBook Air, Apple fans can reportedly expect a significant redesign of the bestselling ultraportable. By using the newest generation of Intel processors, the new MacBook Air is said to have achieved a form factor about half as thick as Apple's current models. That new, thinner profile is due in part to Apple reportedly doing away with the fan cooling mechanism, since Intel's new Broadwell chips are designed to operate without the need for air cooling.
Apple is also said to finally be bringing high-density Retina Displays to the MacBook Air line; at last bringing its ultraportables up to par with the MacBook Pro, iMac, iPad, and iPhone.
Another rumor claims that the refreshed MacBook Air will abandon the microSD, DisplayPort, and dual USB ports seen on current MacBook Air models. Instead, Apple is said to be going with a single USB 3.0 port, though the likelihood of Apple making such a drastic change to the MacBook Air's port capabilities is still unknown.
On the iPad side of things, Apple is reportedly looking to boost its tablet sales with a new, larger iPad Pro. This 12.9-inch iPad could pack in any number of features, and the latest rumors have Apple considering the addition of new ports to the iPad Pro, making it more capable as a tool for the enterprise segment. As with most unannounced Apple products, information on the iPad Pro is hard to come by, but the device has been rumored for some time, and some purported components have leaked to the internet.
In addition to new port technologies, Apple may be considering the rollout of a new smart stylus alongside the iPad Pro, making the tablet a better tool for productivity. The WSJ report also says that Apple is looking at speeding up the charging time for the device, but such technologies may not make their way into the final design for the iPad Pro.
Apple fans that were worried they might have to choose between a refreshed MacBook Air and an iPad Pro might not have to worry too much. Apple has reportedly run into production yield problems on the new iPad's 12.9-inch display, and the company has reportedly pushed back the launch of the iPad Pro to some time later this year.
[Lead image via MacRumors.]