A Mid-Summer Trip To The Apple Rumor Mill

It’s almost that time of year again, friends. New movies are terrible, kids are sucking down popsicles, and my office is like a moist toaster oven. It’s nearly back to school time!

That means in our trivial world that it’s time for new gadgets and the Internet rumor mill is lining up quite a big show from Apple. It’s always this way. The rumors state Apple will do no less than reverse the rotation of the Earth and then Steve Jobs simply introduces a new high-speed interface. But let’s dance anyway.

A few rumors broke weeks back concerning new Mac Pros and Mac Minis. They stated that Apple was going to release new desktops powered by Intel’s latest CPUs of the Sandy Bridge variety. 9to5mac sort of confirmed that at least new Mac Pros are on their way and posted what they claim to be the SKUs. Unsurprisingly after the Xserver’s retirement, the new SKUs talk of a Mac Pro Server, which will likely feature a rack mountable case.

9to5mac also posted SKUs for what are supposed to be new 11- and 13-inch MacBook Airs. These models, if they really do exist, are likely also powered by Sandy Bridge architecture, which mean second generation Core CPUs and probably even Thunderbolt connectivity. Then just today, a new rumor hit that places a backlit keyboard in the MacBook Air. [image via zanoii]

Of course the new Mac Pros and MacBook Airs will rock the latest OS X release. Lion is set to debut this month although Apple has yet to announce the exact date. We’re expecting July 14, but what do we know?

There’s no word on a refreshed Mac Mini but the time frame is right for a new model. The current model debuted last June with a Core 2 Duo CPU; Apple still sells the year-old model. (Fun fact: Search for Core 2 Duo on BestBuy.com and seven out of the nine computers still using the Core 2 Duo are from Apple) Apple will likely bring its whole desktop line to the latest architecture relatively soon and that includes the low-cost Mac Mini.

The Back To School releases might also include a 3G-enabled iPod touch. A rumor broke last week that stated the fifth generation touch will feature a swapable SIM card for data services — like an iPad. The thought is that users will be able to use the iPod with VoIP and streaming services. The same rumor stated that the new model was going to drop this September, but it might come sooner. [Mock-up via iPhoneDownloadBlog]

This time of year is big for computer makers and even more so for slow but steady companies like Apple. The computers released in the second and third quarter are the systems that will carry them through the lucrative fourth quarter. Expect big things.