DigiTimes’ claim is based on Apple’s conversations with Taiwan-based supply chain makers, who’ve been told to prepare quotations for their products and services needed for manufacturing MacBooks.
From DigiTimes’ report:
Apple has issued requests for quotations (RFQ) to Taiwan-based supply chain makers for the revision of several notebook models including MacBook Pro and MacBook Air series in June 2013, causing ultrabook vendors to be concerned, according to supply chain makers.
The sources pointed out that the MacBook Air for 2013 will feature a new processor platform, but its industrial design will not see any major changes.
The “new processor platform” likely refers to Intel’s successor to the Ivy Bridge platform, codenamed Haswell. Haswell chips, expected to be released around March to June next year, are being developed keeping in mind power efficiency and integrated GPU performance. Both these factors are of high importance to Apple’s MacBook lineup, especially the MacBook Air.
Digitimes says that the refresh would be a great issue of concern for Ultrabook vendors, who expect Apple to drop the pricing of current generation MacBook Airs once the new models come out. Although Apple follows this practice when pricing iOS devices, it hasn’t yet done so for the already complicated Mac line of products.
While there are no explicit indications, the upcoming refresh could also mean the death of non-Retina MacBook Pros, which currently exist only to fill the pricing gap created by Retina MacBook Pros. Apple could certainly use Haswell’s integrated GPU performance boost to power the high-res Retina displays.