Specs of 13″ MacBook Air refresh leak as rumors of Retina Air intensify

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Images of what appear to be the specifications of a 13-inch MacBook Air refresh have surfaced on the forums of Chinese website Feng.com.

The seemingly genuine screenshots suggest a minor hardware bump based on Intel’s latest Broadwell processors with more powerful Intel HD 6000 graphics, and a slightly bigger battery as well.

Although the source did not provide info related to the 11-inch MacBook Air model, Apple is likely to upgrade that machine with new Intel chips alongside the 13 incher.

In addition, a questionable report has suggested that a twelve-inch Air with a Retina screen is up for an announcement at Apple’s “Spring Forward” media event next Monday, thought to focus mostly (but not exclusively?) on the Apple Watch.

First up, the existing 13-inch MacBook Air.

Provided the screenshots are genuine, the computer will have a new low-power 1.6GHz Intel Broadwell Core chip (model i5-5250U) with integrated Intel HD Graphics 6000.

By comparison, the current model runs a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip with Intel HD Graphics 5000. The forum poster mentions customers will be able to upgrade the machine to either a 1.6GHz Core-i5 processor or a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-5650U chip.

The system is running a custom version of OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 with a build number of 14C2043 that hasn’t been released yet. The 4GB of RAM is the same as on current models. The serial number can’t be verified with Apple, which is expected given the computer hasn’t been released yet.

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The new Intel HD Graphics 6000 with 1.5 gigabytes of video memory shared from the main RAM powers this computer’s non-Retina display.

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Apple’s System Information app identifies the machine as ‘MacBookAir7,2’. My mid-2013 13-inch MacBook Air has a model identifier of ‘MacBookAir6,2’. For those wondering, both 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air models were last updated on April 29, 2014 with upgraded processors and reduced prices.

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Again, the refreshed notebook appears to have the same 13-inch 1,440-by-900 pixel resolution screen as the current model, reinforcing the notion that a Retina upgrade is reserved for the rumored twelve-inch model.

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Although the battery is very similar to the one inside the existing 13-incher, it’s a tad larger 7422mAh package.

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The machine has 256 gigabytes of high-speed flash storage. Current models come in 128 and 256GB flavors. Maybe Apple will add a new 512GB SKU? For what it’s worth, the forum poster said upgrades with a 512GB SSD and 8GB of RAM will be offered.

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Which brings me to Apple’s unannounced one-port MacBook Air with a Retina screen. There have been indications that Apple may formally announce the notebook at its “Spring Forward” media event next month.

This is questionable though not impossible.

While the press conference is believed to revolve around taking a much closer look at the Apple Watch ahead of its official April debut, neither the invite graphics nor conventional wisdom exclude other possible announcements.

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A shaky story by The Michael Report, citing “sources familiar with the matter within Apple,” says Apple plans to unveil the Retina Air at the March 9 event.

“The Michael Report has independently verified this information to be highly credible,” reads the story. And if previous rumors are an indication, the computer is being assembled by Quanta Computer, one of Apple’s contract fabricators.

The Retina Air allegedly entered mass production in January and KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks it’s slated to launch this month.

12″ MacBook Air concept above by 3D artist Martin Hajek.

Source: Feng.com forums (Google Translate), The Michael Report