• Macbook Air with Retina display

  • Macbook Air with Retina display

  • Macbook Air with Retina display

  • The alleged 12in MacBook Air display unit next to an iPad

  • An iPad on top of the alleged 12in MacBook Air

  • The 12in MacBook Air Retina atop a 13in MacBook Air

  • Macbook Air with Retina display

  • Macbook Air with Retina display

  • Macbook Air with Retina display

Despite having a minor refresh with a slightly faster processor, the MacBook Air is due a proper upgrade.

For too long now, it's sulked around with its non-Retina display, and we expect this to be the year where Apple blesses it with bucketloads of pixels.

Here's everything we think we know about the MacBook Air with Retina display so far:

New size, Retina at last

Macbook Air with Retina display

Numerous rumours point to the new MacBook Air arriving with a 12in screen, and it's expected to have Retina display powers at long last.

The current MacBook Air is lagging behind in the resolution wars, watching jealously from the side lines as its MacBook Pro and iPad cousins all strut around showing off their pixel packed Retina displays, and it's definitely long overdue for some pixel loving.

Past rumours come courtesy of Canalys analyst Daniel Matte, who believes the new Retina MacBook Air will land with a 12in (well, 11.8in, to be exact) Retina display, with a 2732 x 1536 resolution. 

This makes perfect sense, as it matches the exact 264ppi count of the current iPad Air. This means that Apple should be able to manufacture a larger panel without too much hassle.

The proposed resolution is also exactly four times the existing MacBook Air's 1366 x 1536 resolution, so scaling up apps shouldn't pose any problems.

It's unclear at this stage whether or not a 12in Retina MacBook Air will replace both the existing 11in and 13in models, but given the fact that they've both been recently refreshed with newer Intel processors, we expect at least one of them to stick around, at a lower price point.

The alleged 12in MacBook Air display unit next to an iPad

An iPad on top of the alleged 12in MacBook Air

The 12in MacBook Air Retina atop a 13in MacBook Air

Update 23/01/15: We may have our first legitimate look at the Retina MacBook Air. Chinese Apple fan blog IFanR has posted what it claims are spy shots of the laptop's display unit. If these are the real deal, they prove that it'll be extremely thin and somewhere in between the 13in and 11in MacBook Air models in terms of size – not much surprising there. More surprising is that the Apple logo on the display's rear doesn't appear to be translucent, but solid black like an iPad's.

READ MORE: 12in Retina display rumoured for 2014 MacBook Air


Macbook Air with Retina display

Another tasty rumour that's been circulating the iRumour mill is that the new Retina MacBook Air will land without a fan.

Removing the fan will not only result in near-silent operation, but the Air's already wafer-thin profile could be slimmed down even more, eliminating the wedge shape once and for all.

We could also see a slight increase in battery life as a result of the fan removal, and overheating will be a concern that Apple has undoubtedly addressed.

The main overheating issue lies with the processor. If it generates too much heat, the whole device will automatically shutdown to prevent any permanent damage, so the more energy efficient the processor, the better, as less heat will be generated. Speaking of which:


New silicon

Macbook Air with Retina display

Although Apple has recently updated the MacBook Air line to Intel's marginally faster 1.4GHz i5 processors from the older 1.3GHz ones, we expect the Retina Macbook Air to have a much large change under the hood.

Intel's upcoming 14nm Broadwell processors promise to be even more power efficient than than the existing Haswell range, which will help keep temperatures down despite the lack of a cooling fan. The increased efficiency should also contribute to a longer battery life.

Clickless touchpad

Macbook Air with Retina display

According to Chinese site Weiphone, the new MacBook Air will also ditch the mechanical trackpad for a non-clickable variant. 

We're not sure exactly how the new trackpad will work at this stage, but Apple has filed for a buttonless trackpad patent in the past. The patent describes how multiple sensors and an actuator can mimic clicking a button, so we could see this technology make its debut in the Air.

READ MORE: New fanless 12in MacBook Air incoming

Price and release date

Despite the new minor MacBook Air refresh, we could see Tim Cook announce the new Retina MacBook Air on stage at WWDC 2014 on 2 June.

Due to manufacturing niggles, Intel's Broadwell chips won't be launching till the second half of the year, but that could still give Apple enough time for an August launch, which has been speculated by Evercore Partners analyst Patrick Wang.

While there's no solid word on a price for the new Retina MacBook Air, we could see Apple keep the recently lowered starting price of £750, with even the top-end model starting at less than £1000.

That's all the info we have for the time being, but we'll update this preview with more information as and when we get it, so stay tuned.

READ MORE: iPhone 6: price, release date, specs - all we think we know