A MacBook Air Retina is the dream notebook for many users who want a super-high resolution display on the slimmer and lighter MacBook Air frame.
Apple currently offers a Retina Display on all current mobile products except the MacBook Air, but rumors suggest that we could see a MacBook Air Retina release in 2014 and a new analysis highlights the specific display specs that Apple may choose to make this notebook a reality.
Two major sources of insider information for unreleased products weighed in on the MacBook Air Retina late last year. First to put specs on the table and a potential MacBook Air Retina release was David Hsieh of NPD DisplaySearch who speculated the MacBook Air Retina would arrive in 2014 with a 12-inch display and a 2304 x 1440 resolution.
Next up Ming-Chi Kuo, a well-known analyst with ties to Apple supply chain sources shared details about a MacBook Air Retina in a note top investors published on 9to5Mac. Kuo’s note pointed to a new design that offers the portability of a 11-inch Macbook Air with the productivity of a 13-inch MacBook Air. The note did not discuss a specific resolution, but agreed on a 12-inch screen size. Kuo claimed a MacBook Air Retina release of Q2 or Q3 2014.
A new note from Daniel Matte offers up a stunningly specific set of display specs for a 12-inch MacBook Air Retina which would leverage the current production of the iPad Air display to make the economics and production quantities needed work out for this new product. Matte shares these details on his blog Forward Progress as discovered by MacRumors.
Matte discusses the previously mentioned rumors before diving into the specific MacBook Air Retina screen size and resolution he believes Apple might offer. Like the iPad and iPad mini, he believes Apple will offer a very specific screen size. The iPad Air uses a 9.7-inch display and the iPad mini a 7.9-inch display — both specific sizes that are near the 10-inch and 7-8-inch tablet classes.
After examining the options for a MacBook Air Retina display, Matte comes to the following conclusions about the size and resolution that Apple might offer.
“It turns out that an ~11.88” Retina MacBook Air with a 2732 x 1536 resolution happens to have the exact same pixel density as the 9.7” 2048 x 1536 Retina iPads: ~264 PPI. It would make sense for Apple to take advantage of the same display technology it has utilized for the 9.7” iPads by cutting their panels to this larger size. I suspect a new 11.88” Air would be a redesign of the 11.6” model with smaller screen bezels.”
If Apple is planning a 12-inch MacBook Air Retina, it would likely arrive as a premium model alongside the existing MacBook Air models with a price premium. With the iPad screen strategy in place Matte suggests Apple could bring the pricing in line to entry-level and enabling Apple to offer three notebooks in the near future, an 11.9-inch, 13.3-inch and 15.4-inch — all with Retina displays.
If Apple is working on this new notebook, Matte believes we could see a MacBook Air Retina release in 2014 with an Intel Broadwell processor.