Apple 12-inch MacBook Air With Retina Starts Initial Production Run, Volume In November

Apple set the bar for thin and light notebooks when it introduced the MacBook Air several years ago, and since then, a number of Windows-based competitors have emerged. There's even a dedicated Ultrabook category for particularly thin and light Windows PCs with Intel hardware inside. While no longer in a league of its own, Apple's rumored 12-inch MacBook Air might again set the standard.

Citing those always chatty sources within Taiwan's supply chain, Digitimes says that a limited production run of 12-inch MacBook Air models began this month and will gradually increase in volume beginning in November. However, they may not be available to purchase in time for the holidays due to technical difficulties.

MacBook Air

The 12-inch version is said to be thinner than Apple's existing 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch MacBook Air models, and the slimmer design is proving to be a challenge for component makers -- they're simply having a bear of a time making parts thin enough to fit inside the shrunken chassis.

In addition to being thinner and presumably lighter than today's MacBook Air models, the 12-inch version is likely to come with a Retina-class display featuring touch support. Introducing touch functionality would take away one of the advantages of Microsoft's Surface Pro, which Microsoft has been capitalizing on in commercials.