Apple 11.6-inch MacBook Air "coming soon, real soon", say sources

Apple could be about to revamp its MacBook Air in time for Christmas, bringing with it a smaller screen and lighter design, according to sources in the Far East.

Although Apple has yet to confirm anything official, rumours of orders placed in Taiwan suggest that a refresh is imminent.

Since launching the MacBook Air almost 3 years ago, Apple's lightweight laptop has had just two updates; the last being in June 2009 when it received a speed boost.

Experts believe that the streamlined laptop will be further slimmed down by reducing the screen size from 13.3 to 11.6 inches and reducing the weight. The new model will therefore appeal even more to those who want power, but maximum portability on the road.

Apple's original MacBook Air, priced at the top end of the scale, received plenty of criticism for stripping out too many features, losing the DVD drive and, more importantly for some, the Ethernet connector.

2 years on, the success of the iPad has proven that the need for a DVD drive is starting to wane, while wireless networks in hotels and offices are more widespread.

Additionally, a report on Friday from DigiTimes (whose track record is a touch sketchy on such matters, admittedly) claims that Apple's primary notebook manufacturer, Quanta, has landed orders to produce the first 400,000-500,000 11.6-inch "MacBooks" for delivery to Apple before the end of the 2010. This suggests that we could see more announcements from Steve Jobs before the year's out. 

What do you think, and if Apple did launch a refreshed, revamped, MacBook Air would you buy one? Let us know in the comments below...

Pic: Matthew Yohe