Rumors suggest entire MacBook line will go ultra-thin, switch to USB Type-C

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Unnamed sources in the upstream supply chain are chatting away about the upcoming MacBooks from Apple, saying that Taiwan component makers are seeing increased competition from rivals located overseas that are supplying parts for the new devices. For instance, Amphenol, a hinge maker located in the United States, has joined Apple’s supply chain to serve up this specific part, taking business away from Jarllytec and Shin Zu Shing.

The news arrives by way of DigiTimes, which reports that Apple’s new MacBooks won’t appear until the second half of 2016. Amphenol is reportedly creating hinges through a special metal injection molding process to help the MacBooks achieve an ultra-thin form factor. This is the same company that provides hinges for Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of products.

Sources have also told DigiTimes that battery pack suppliers Simplo Technology and Dynapack International Technology, both of which are located in Taiwan, are facing competition from China-based Desay and Sunwoda Electronics. The two Chinese companies provide batteries for Apple’s iPhone devices, and have submitted MacBook battery packs for testing. So far Apple has not placed MacBook battery orders with the two Chinese companies.

DigiTimes originally reported back in March that Apple would start shipping 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks at the end of the second quarter of 2016. These two models will supposedly be thinner than the existing MacBook Air while sharing a design similar to current 12-inch Retina MacBooks. Unnamed sources added that notebook makers Asus, Dell, and Lenovo are also launching ultra-thin solutions in the same time frame to compete with Apple’s new lineup.

9to5Mac adds to the MacBook rumor mill, reporting that the new devices will likely only feature USB Type-C ports on both sides to keep the super-slim form factor. They also may arrive in gold and rose gold color options, making them super attractive in addition to being highly thin. Branding is uncertain for now, as they could replace the current MacBook Pros or be released as larger versions of the Retina MacBook.

A previous report supplied by Economic Daily News back in November 2015 claimed that the new MacBook Air would be a major upgrade from the current model, featuring Internet component changes and a thinner, lighter design. Apple is also supposedly pondering 13-inch and 15-inch versions of the MacBook Air, and could very well ditch the 11-inch model.

The report went on to claim that the next-generation MacBook Air would sport new cooling modules, a new chassis, new batteries, and so on. Apple will reportedly stay with the same supply chain manufacturers, including Quanta, although the new DigiTimes report says otherwise.

DigiTimes previously said that Apple shipped 20.38 million Mac-based products during 2015, representing solid growth over 2014’s sales numbers. The site quoted sources saying that despite a “weakening” demand for notebooks, Apple should see increased growth in that sector during 2016 thanks to the updated MacBook and MacBook Air solutions.

The new MacBook and MacBook Air devices are expected to be revealed during WWDC 2016 this June, and will likely start shipping units in the second half of 2016 as DigiTimes’ sources indicated. That could very well mean July, so you may not need to wait too long to upgrade your current MacBook or MacBook Air. Of course, given that everything mentioned here is pure rumor, we’ll just have to wait and see what WWDC 2016 has in store for Apple customers.

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