12in MacBook Air Revealed
A render of what the MacBook Air will look like based on details from Apple insiders who have been using the new laptop. 9to5Mac

As PC manufacturers at the Consumer Electronics Show this week vie to produce a laptop which can challenge the portability and power of the MacBook Air, Apple is preparing to launch what is set to be the biggest refresh of its mobile computing platform since the Retina MacBook Pro in 2012.

The 12in MacBook Air has been about for a long time but now well-known Apple reporter Mark Gurman from 9to5Mac has published an in-depth look at what Apple is preparing to launch later this year based on details given to him from sources within Apple who have been testing prototypes of the new laptop within the company's offices.

Based on the details received, 9to5Mac artist Michael Steeber has produced detailed rendering of what the laptop will look like with the most radical change the elimination of almost all ports on the laptop.

12in MacBook Air Revealed
The 12in MacBook Air will be considerably thinner than current models, thanks to the elimination of most ports 9to5Mac

Apple is set to use a single USB 3.0 port to replace the full-sized USB 2.0 ports on current models as well as replacing the MagSafe charging port as the USB association recently announced the port could be used to charge a laptop.

The laptop will be significantly thinner than the current 13in and 11in MacBook Air models thanks in part to the removal of all ports except the USB 3.0 slot and a headphone jack.

Apple has also revamped its keyboard, making it an edge-to-edge design while the trackpad has also been revamped, removing the physical clicking feedback you get on current models. This again is seen as a model to get the laptop to be as thin as possible.

Comparing the new laptop to the current models, the 12in MacBook Air will considerably smaller than the 13in model and will even be narrower than the 11in model - though ever-so-slightly taller.

12in MacBook Air vs 13in MacBook Air vs 11in MacBook Air
The 12in MacBook Air will be almost he same size as the current 11in model 9to5Mac

Gurman points out that Apple typically tests multiple configurations before releasing a new product, so it could reassess the decision to remove all but two ports before it goes on sale.

In terms of launch date, Apple is said to be focusing on a mid-2015 launch with the laptop said by some to be nearing production already. It could be that Tim Cook launches the 12in MacBook Air at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference which will take place in June.