New MacBook Air Imminent Tips Component-Tracking Analyst

At least one analyst is predicting a new, smaller MacBook Air taking center stage at Apple's "Back to the Mac" event next Wednesday, together with a potential preview of multitouch desktop computing.  Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu told investors he had been tracking a smaller MacBook Air for the past nine months through component supply chain leaks, reports AppleInsider, which fits in with previous rumors of an 11.6-inch machine.

"Our checks with supply chain sources over the last 6-9 months have indicated evidence of a new subnotebook form factor.  We had thought it would be released earlier this year but believe it may finally see the light of day as the new MacBook Air" Shaw Wu, analyst, Kaufman Bros.

Those rumors also suggested that the updated MacBook Air would be considerably cheaper than the 13.3-inch model it replaces.  Wu makes no mention of specifications, however, and all we've previously had to go on are mutterings of an ultra-low voltage Intel Core i-series chip.

Meanwhile, the multitouch rumors are more vague, with Wu saying the analysts "are not sure if this technology is ready for primetime but perhaps we could get a sneak peek" at the October 20th event.  The analyst also suggests a new iLife version could also be unveiled, together with previews of OS X 10.7 "Lion".

SlashGear will be at the Apple event next week, liveblogging the whole thing at