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New MacBook Airs To Feature Black Case Option?

With increasing speculation and reports claiming that Apple is putting the final touches to the new MacBook Air line set for a late June or July refresh, MacRumors now suggests the new models may come with a black option for the aluminum case in the high-end configuration. According to various anonymous tips they received, the new black finish would come with an anodized aluminum case that would be a departure from Apple’s recent design standard for notebooks.

Over the past week, we’ve received several anonymous tips claiming that at least some models of the next-generation MacBook Air will be be available with a black finish, different from the aluminum case used on the current MacBook Air and most of Apple’s other Macs. The most specific of the claims suggests that a black anodized aluminum case would be available on a top-end MacBook Air model, in much the same way as Apple once offered a high-end black MacBook on top of the standard white offerings.

As widely reported over the past months, the new MacBook Airs are rumored to receive a substantial hardware update with Sandy Bridge processors replacing the outdated Core2 Duo CPUs, as well as Thunderbolt connectivity following the implementation in the MacBook Pros and iMacs earlier this year. As for the black color, Apple used to offer a black version of the MacBook a few years ago (the plastic model), and a MacBook Air prototype with a bottom black case was sold on eBay two years ago. The MacBook Pros released in February were also rumored to be getting an all-new black design based off Apple’s Liquid Metal acquisition, though that obviously didn’t happen and Apple decided to go with the classic unibody aluminum design, first launched in late 2008. A few days later, a report claimed a new design for the MacBook line is expected in 2012, starting with new MacBook Pro models. Meanwhile, 9to5mac says their sources haven’t heard anything about the alleged black MacBook Airs.

Update: MacRumors is now reporting an alleged email from an Apple employee who claims black MacBooks were indeed produced, but didn’t get Steve Jobs’ approval in the end.

The rumors that the next iteration of the MBA’s will have an optional black finish is grounded in truth.

We tried to powder coat the Air’s (and Pro’s for that matter) in black as a test run. There are more than a few floating around campus.

The coating looks good and holds up well, but it also soaks up body oils, making the palm rest look pretty gross. Ultimately that is the reason that the top brass (Jobs) killed the idea… it was just too easy to make the computer look like crap. At some point we may offer a black coating, but it won’t be powder coat, and it won’t be anytime soon.


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