Back at Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) 2013 World Wide Developers Conference, the company launched new variants of its iconic MacBook Air product line, featuring Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Haswell processors. Since then, the MacBook Air lineup has received a small speed bump in the form of refreshed Haswell processors, but the industrial design and other specifications have not been changed.
The rumor mill has discussed Apple potentially launching a next-generation 12-inch Retina MacBook Air with a number of specification upgrades and an updated industrial design. However, we have very little in the way of actual confirmed information about the device(s) that Apple plans to launch.
With that in mind, here are three features that I'm hoping Apple includes in the next MacBook Air.
Intel Broadwell, please
Computers have generally gotten faster and more power-efficient over the years, and a key enabler of the advances in Apple's MacBook Air product lines has been new Intel processors. The next MacBook Air is very likely to use Intel's next generation 14-nanometer Broadwell processors. The 14-nanometer manufacturing technology, coupled with updated graphics and CPU architectures, should allow for more performance and/or better battery life than the prior generation MacBook Air models.
A better, higher-resolution display
The current MacBook Air models, as I have written previously, has a pretty dated display relative to what some of the newer Windows machines, as well as the higher-end MacBook Pro laptops, pack. Now, the good news is that the lower-resolution display has likely helped to keep battery life high, but the bad news is that it's getting to the point where the MacBook Air needs a serious display upgrade.
That's not to say that Apple should mimic, say, Lenovo (NASDAQOTH:LNVGY) by putting a 3200-by-1800 display on the next generation MacBook Air, particularly as the very high resolution may have diminishing returns in image quality and could negatively affect battery life. However, a 1920-by-1080 panel on the device (rumored to feature a 12-inch display) -- up from 1440-by-900 in the current 13-inch MacBook Air -- with best-in-class brightness and color accuracy would do wonders.
A fan to cool the CPU
The idea of a fanless MacBook Air has been talked about at length, and when Intel first announced its low power (and, according to Intel, capable of supporting fanless systems) Core M processor, I was fairly convinced that a fanless MacBook Air would be in the works.
However, the initial performance results of the Core M in the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro (which was actually revealed to have a fan to cool the processor) at various review sites were underwhelming relative to last generation "full" Core i5/i7 processors in real-world usage scenarios.
Given that Apple seems to care a lot about both CPU and graphics performance, and given that going with the 4.5-watt Core M over a 15-watt Broadwell-U would mean a meaningful performance sacrifice, I hope that Apple sticks with the active cooling and goes with the faster processor.
Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.