Has Apple’s New 12-Inch MacBook Model Hit a Production Snag?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Two new reports from Taiwan’s hit-or-miss Economic Daily News suggest that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may soon be refreshing its existing MacBook Air product line, while the launch of a rumored new 12-inch MacBook model may be delayed due to a component supply constraint.

According to Economic Daily News’ supply chain sources, components for both of Apple’s current 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models are currently being sent to Taiwan-based manufacturer Quanta Computer for assembly. New components for the refreshed MacBook Air models include “processor chip, chassis, bearing shaft, screen” and other parts. The new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models are expected to be ready to be shipped out by the end of August.

Apple updated its 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models earlier this year with a minor hardware boost in the form of a slightly faster Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Haswell processor and a price drop that made the 11-inch entry-level model a more affordable $899. However, the notebook computers have not received a major hardware overhaul since last year.

The last major MacBook line upgrade was introduced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in 2013, when Apple unveiled new MacBook Air models with fourth generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors that boosted the battery life of the 13-inch MacBook Air from just 7 hours to 12 hours. The 11-inch MacBook Air’s battery life was similarly increased to 9 hours. Both models were also upgraded with faster solid-state drives and the next-generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol capability. While it’s not known what upgrades Apple will introduce this year, assuming that Economic Daily News’ sources are correct, the revamped 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models should become available for purchase by the end of the third quarter or the beginning of the fourth quarter.

In a separate report, Taiwan’s Economic Daily News claimed that the launch of a long-rumored 12-inch version of the MacBook was being delayed due to a shortage of Intel’s 14-nanometer Broadwell processors. Per the supply chain sources, the chipset shortage will push the release date for the new 12-inch MacBook to the end of the third quarter of this year, or even into 2015.