Apple could be back in black, at least when it comes to the MacBook Air.
"Over the past week, we've received several anonymous tips claiming that at least some models of the next-generation MacBook Air will be available with a black finish," read a June 20 posting on the Apple-centric blog MacRumors. "The most specific of the claims suggests that a black anodized aluminum case would be available on a top-end MacBook Air model."
Lest we forget, this wouldn't be the first time that Cupertino has offered a laptop in the same shade as one of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' famous turtlenecks: Once upon a time, for a slightly higher price than its white-cased cousin, you could purchase a MacBook with a black matte finish. But Apple discontinued that part of its line in 2008.
Rumor holds that Apple will introduce the new line of MacBook Airs following the release of Mac OS X "Lion," the latest version of its operating system. New features of Lion include a baked-in Mac App Store, with access to a variety of full-screen applications-a spiritual descendent of the App Store long available for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. In addition to those applications, Lion will also offer some rejiggered operating-system fundamentals, including trackpads with an increased range of gesture control and scroll bars that remain visible only when in use; software additions include AirDrop, which wirelessly sends files to other users, and FileVault, which keeps information secure with XTS-AES 128 data encryption.
Lion will retail for $29. Apple will make the operating system available for download via the Mac App Store.
In addition, rumors also suggest the next MacBook Airs will feature some tweaked hardware, including Intel's "Sandy Bridge" Core processors and ThunderBolt I/O technology, which brings together PCI Express high-speed data transfer and DisplayPort high-definition display support on a single cable. According to Intel, ThunderBolt is capable of transferring a full-length high-definition movie in less than 30 seconds.
"We've taken the vision of simple, fast transfer of content between PCs and devices, and made it a reality," Mooly Eden, general manager of Intel's PC Client Group, said in a February statement accompanying ThunderBolt's introduction.
Apple's previous MacBook Air refresh took place in October 2010. Those units measured 0.68 inches thick with the lid closed, tipped the scales at 2.3 pounds and featured SSD (solid-state disk) storage in place of hard drives.
"We've taken everything we've learned about miniaturization from the iPhone and iPad and applied it to the MacBook," Jobs told an audience assembled for the unveiling.
Whatever form the new MacBook Airs take, there's a chance you'll have your option of exterior finishes.