MacBook Air Sellout Hints at Imminent Refresh
Scheduled to take place from June 10 through June 14 in San Francisco, the World Wide Developers Conference is Apple's annual event that promises to deliver an "in-depth look at the latest in iOS and OS X." Apple's unconfirmed streaming music service, known to many as iRadio, could make an appearance and steal the show. But Apple may still take the opportunity to introduce an updated MacBook.
According to AppleInsider, MacBook Airs are out of stock at a number of retailers -- including Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) -- a clear sign that the company will refresh the Air very soon.
Historically, Apple replenishes sold-out items with additional shipments as soon as possible. However, Amazon does not appear to have ordered more of the 11.6-inch, 64GB model, which is currently unavailable. Other models are in stock or promise to ship within one to two months.
BestBuy.com still seems to have some models in stock, but the aforementioned 11.6-inch model has sold out of most stores in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago.
This is not proof that Apple is upgrading the MacBook Air, but it is a solid indicator.
Apple traditionally stops sending its items to retailers just before an upgrade is released. The exception would be new iDevices (iPhones, iPads, etc.), which are typically sold alongside their aging predecessors. The next MacBook Air, however, will replace the model that is currently in stores.
It is also worth noting that Best Buy is currently discounting all MacBook Airs by $60 to $80, depending on the model. While it is not uncommon for Best Buy to offer a small discount on Mac products, the retailer did offer a comparable sale before the last two Air refreshes.
The next MacBook Air is largely expected to come with the new Haswell chip from Intel (NASDAQ: INTC). Those chips are scheduled to launch during the first week of June -- just before WWDC is scheduled to begin.
Aside from the chip replacement, it is not yet known how Apple might tweak the MacBook Air. The company could reduce the price of the 64GB 11.6-inch model from $999 to $899, or double the default memory to 128GB. Either move could ignite additional sales.
While Apple does not typically discount its products at or around launch, the company surprised the world last year when it reduced the starting price of the 13-inch MacBook Air from $1,299 to $1,199. Apple also doubled the default RAM from 2GB to 4GB and doubled the optional upgrade, allowing Air users to have up to 8GB.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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