The new MacBook Air may have a long wait

Apple is poised to unveil a new MacBook Air Monday at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), but even if it does, you might not be able to buy one right away. According to a report by Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, COVID-19 shutdowns in Chinese factories that make MacBooks could mean a limited supply of new devices or a release date that is further away.

China’s zero-COVID policy has led to the temporary closure of factories making Apple products, including Pegatron and Quanta. Although China has begun easing some of the movement restrictions it initially reinstated in March, some neighborhoods in Shanghai still remain closed.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expected Apple will ship about six to seven million new MacBook Airs before the third quarter of this year if Quanta’s production capacity returns to pre-lockdown levels. He also believes there may be more shipments of the new MacBook Air compared to existing shipments of the 14- to 16-inch MacBook Pros — the new MacBook Air is expected to ship from both Quanta and Foxconn, while the MacBook Pro is shipped only by Quanta. Apple is currently delaying new MacBook Pro orders until the end of July due to shutdowns and parts shortages.

Both Gurman and Ming-Chi Kuo agree that the upcoming MacBook Air won’t come in a wide range of colors. It’s more likely to include some standard options, such as the existing space gray and silver, with the addition of two new colors, including a dark blue and a “champagne-esque gold.” Gurman also thinks the MacBook Air will come with a 13-inch screen, two USB-C ports, MagSafe charging options and Touch ID. It is not expected to come with a Touch Bar and may even have a notch like the MacBook Pro.

In terms of a new MacBook Pro, Gurman says Apple originally planned to release a “faster” 13-inch version of the device around the time of the Air’s launch. However, this date has reportedly been postponed due to COVID-related lockdowns in China.

The introduction of a new MacBook Air, which will likely ship with an M1 processor, is expected to be a big part of Apple’s fast-approaching WWDC event on Monday — but so will Apple’s mixed reality headset project, even if Apple that does not explicitly state. As Apple looks to move beyond its existing devices and accompanying software, WWDC is expected to have an undercurrent dominated by augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

As noted by both Gurman and a report from The New York TimesApple plans to show off new tools for developers that will allow them to incorporate mixed reality features into their apps ahead of the headset’s expected release in 2023. Gurman notes that Apple is working on adding AR and VR features to create its own apps, potentially VR versions of FaceTime, Maps, Notes, and Calendar, and a way to view a Mac’s screen through the headset.

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