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Taiwan-based suppliers of components for Apple will begin shipments of new 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch MacBook Air models featuring Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors in late May for launch in June or July, according to a Digitimes report.The Taiwan newswire says Quanta Computer will be responsible for assembly, Catcher Technology is supplying casings, Auras Technology thermal modules, Shin Zu Shing hinges, and Simplo Technology and Dynapack are supplying batteries.

The order volume of new MacBook Airs in the month of initial launch, June or July, will be “considerably large”, Digitimes says, suggesting Apple intends to defend its position as the leading maker of ultra-thin, ultralight notebooks, as Dell, Lenovo, Acer and others mount an attack with their own slender models.

Apple has been criticised for being slow to move to the new, more powerful Sandy Bridge Intel chips for the MacBook Air. It has already begun using them in its iMac all-in-one desktop PCs.

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