12in MacBook Air with Retina Display
Apple is said to be ready to launch a thinner and lighter 12in version of its hugely popular MacBook Air laptop with a Retina display.Apple

A report from the supply chain suggests Apple is already producing components for a thinner laptop, which could be its much talked-about 12in Retina MacBook Air.

The rather scant report comes from Taiwanese industry website DigiTimes and claims that sources within Apple's supply chain have said the company's manufacturing partners are already building parts for a thinner MacBook laptop in small volumes.

The only other piece of new information in the report suggests that Apple will put the new laptop on sale "at the end of 2014 or in 2015".

The report does not go on to say if the thinner laptop will belong to the company's premium MacBook Pro range or its ultra-portable MacBook Air line-up.

Currently, both the 11in and 13in models of Apple's MacBook Air go from a thickness of 17mm tapering down to just 3mm at their narrowest. The company's 13in and 15in MacBook Pro laptops are currently both 18mm thick.

12in laptop

However the latest report may not necessarily refer to an update of a current laptop model, but to an entirely new laptop which has been rumoured for a long time.

A MacBook Air with a 12in Retina display has been talked about since this time last year. The reports suggest the 12in model will be as portable as the company's 11in laptop but as productive as the 13in model.

The reports also suggest it would be thinner and lighter than the current Air laptops, with a new clamshell design - all of which would seem to tie-in with the DigiTimes report.

Broadwell

Apple is also expected to use Intel's ultra-power efficient Broadwell chips in the new laptop to help improve battery life without affecting performance.

The reason for the lack of clarity over the launch date of the 12in MacBook Air is likely down to the delay in Intel shipping the Broadwell chips to market.

While Intel has said some devices running the chips will be on sale before the end of 2014, the chips will be in short supply which could delay Apple's 12in MacBook Air until early 2015.

Busy six months

As well as working on an entirely new form factor, Apple is also said to be redesigning the current 11in and 13in MacBook Air for the first time in four years.

Apple is set for a busy six months. In two weeks it will launch it is widely expected to launch 4.7in and 5.5in version of its iPhone 6 before launching redesigned iPad Air and iPad mini models later in the year.

The updated iPads will likely be overshadowed however by the launch of the iWatch which is also expected to go on sale in time for Christmas.

Finally, a report this week suggests Apple is working on a larger 12.9in iPad Pro which will go on sale in early 2015.