Cupertino, California-based Apple may launch its new models of MacBook Air in June or July, Digitimes reported citing sources from supply chain.

Apple is said to begin shipments of new 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch MacBook Air models that features Intel's Sandy Bridge platform and Thunderbolt interface in late May for launch in June or July.

Sandy Bridge is the codename for a processor microarchitecture developed by Intel.

Thunderbolt, originally codenamed Light Peak, is an interface for connecting peripheral devices to a computer via an expansion bus. Thunderbolt was developed by Intel and brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple Inc. It was introduced commercially on Apple's updated MacBook Pro lineup on Feb. 24, 2011, using the same port and connector as Mini DisplayPort.

While Apple's PR representatives in Taiwan have neither confirmed nor responded to the new MacBook Air report, it has long been understood that Apple always keeps silent about its new products not yet launched, the sources emphasized.

Based on history of Apple's taking deliveries, the order volume of new MacBook Air in the month of initial launch, June or July, will be considerably large and prices are relative high compared with orders from other vendors.

As MacBook Air is symbolic of ultra-slim notebook PCs, other vendors including Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer and Asustek Computer are also offering slim models of notebook PCs but these models are inferior to MacBook Air in thickness due to consideration of production costs and sales price.

Apple shipped over 2.7 million notebook PCs in the first quarter of 2011, historically the second highest quarterly level and only 5% lower than the shipment volume in the preceding quarter. The 5 percent sequential drop was lower than the corresponding industry average decrease of more than 10 percent, and this was mainly due to booming sales of new MacBook Pro models.

Along with shipments of the new MacBook Air, Apple's notebook PC shipment volume in the second quarter is expected to rise by 5-10 percent on quarter and may attain 3.0 million units, Digitimes added.

The MacBook Air family is one of Apple's ultraportable Macintosh notebook computers. The first MacBook Air was a 13.3 inch model, promoted as the 'World's Thinnest Notebook', which was introduced at the Macworld Conference & Expo on Jan. 15, 2008.

In Oct. 2010, Apple released a redesigned 13.3 inch model, with a new lighter enclosure, higher resolution screen, higher capacity battery, and flash storage instead of a hard drive. In addition, an 11.6 inch model was released for the first time, offering reduced cost, weight, battery life, and performance relative to the 13.3 inch model, but better performance than typical netbooks.