Digitimes says we’ll only have to wait until March to get the long sought after 15 (and possibly 17) inch MacBook Airs.

Upstream suppliers of Apple have recently started shipping a small volume of components for a 15-inch ultra-thin notebook model from Apple in November and the device could be either MacBook Air or just a thinner MacBook Pro….Estimated by the product planning, mass shipments of the notebook device will start in March…While a 15-inch ultrabook model would be considered a full function machine, which consumers normally expect to have an optical drive, limitations over the thickness restriction of 0.8-inch for the ultrabook means the launch of a 15-inch machine with an optical drive and a thickness of less than 0.8-inch may not be in the plans until a later time.

It is uncertain whether these machines will be called MacBook Pros or Airs or just “MacBooks” at that point.  The industry has been moving away from hard disc platter computers with optical drives and the recent flooding in Thailand, where many hard drives are manufactured, has only served to hasten that migration.

Intel is also expected to produce quad core Ivy Bridge i7 CPUs based on a 22nm platter that will shave 10W off the current chip power consumption, thereby allowing quad-core ultra portable laptops.

Apple in particular is limited to 35W in its 13-inch MacBook Pro chassis, we may see a quad-core option in the 2012 13-inch Ivy Bridge MacBook Pro as a result.

Beyond energy consumption benefits, Ivy Bridge processors have a 20% increase in CPU performance and up to 60% increase in integrated graphics performance over current Sandy Bridge models. They should also support 4K video.

The new MacBook is expected to appear as early as the second quarter of 2012, according to the report.

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