MacBook Air to get Sandy Bridge, Thunderbolt in June or July

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Apple will update its two MacBook Air models in June or July with new processors from Intel and Thunderbolt connectivity, with production starting in May, according to DigiTimes. Citing industry sources, the Taiwanese publication reports that many of the supply chain makers for the new models remain the same, including Quanta Computer doing assembly work, Catcher Technology supplying casings, and Simplo Technology and Dynapack supplying the batteries.

The report falls right in line with estimations from previous rumors and shouldn't come as a big surprise given Apple's past history of updates for its ultra-thin notebook -- the last of which came in October 2010 and dropped mechanical hard drives altogether in favor of flash storage. It also marked the launch of an even more portable 11.6-inch model.

The inclusion of Sandy Bridge processors and the new Thunderbolt interconnect will bring the Air's hardware up to date with the MacBook Pro and iMac lines, which received the updates in late February and early May, respectively.

Rival computer makers including Dell and Samsung are striving to make slimmer laptops to compete with the MacBook Air, using eye-catchingly thin casings and speedy flash storage options. The former has been teasing its Adamo successor in recent weeks, while Samsung's Series 9 ultraportable just started shipping in the U.S a couple of days ago.

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