Apple may release a Macbook Air with a Retina display by the end of the year, according to rumors coming out of Apple’s supply chain. One of Apple’s Taiwan-based component manufacturers claims that Cupertino will ship the new models during the second half of 2014. The report comes months after rumors that Apple will launch a 12-inch Retina Macbook Air surfaced.

According to Digitimes, the whispers emerged in response to reports from suppliers that Apple has dramatically reduced the number of Macbooks in production this Spring. “MacBook shipments in January-February 2014 were as expected, but Apple has significantly decreased shipments in March,” said the site’s unnamed source.

The same report suggests that Apple will make the 2014 Air models even lighter by removing their internal fan. For what it’s worth, the 2013 11-inch Macbook Air weighs 2.38 pounds, while the 13-inch model weighs 2.96 pounds. Though removing the fan along might slim down the MacBook Air, the decrease in bulk could be at least somewhat offset by the extra hardware needed to make the Retina display run.

There’s also the prospect of the new MacBook Air including a larger battery, which would also add bulk over the existing battery. A larger battery is arguably necessary considering that a Retina display would likely chew through battery life much faster than the 1366×768 and 1440×900 displays found in the current-generation of MacBook Air laptops do.

Assuming the rumors regarding the new 12-inch MacBook Air are correct, it remains unclear whether or not there will be 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air with Retina display models offered, or if there will be a standard 12-inch model.

As always, it would be wise to take these rumors with a grain of salt.

What do you think of the prospect of a MacBook Air with Retina? Sound off in the comments below.