Fast Company

Apple May Fill Its iPhone 5 Vacuum With New Macs And An Interim iPhone

Apple hardware

Apple may be changing its usual iPhone update schedule to the fall, instead of a pre-summer launch in June/July--the news has popped up multiple times, and a source familiar with Apple's plans has also confirmed it with Fast Company. But Apple is a company that thrives on PR excitement...and the big hole in the update schedule before the iPhone 5 arrives could damage sales. Hence Apple seems to be ready to release a barrage of new hardware, including the white version of the iPhone 4, to keep everyone's pro-Apple sentiment topped up.

At the same time, there are many rumors about future Apple products, including the next-gen iPhone. Is all this deliberate spin? If so, it's pretty clever. It may even allow Apple to delay the really juicy new hardware until Steve Jobs is back from medical leave, and ready to hit the hot seat again.

iMacs

Apple's supply of iMacs in stores is dwindling and not being refreshed. This tallies with rumors the iMac line is getting a refresh next week, probably bringing Intel's latest and greatest Sandy Bridge chips with it, as well as Apple's new speedy interconnect protocol Thunderbolt. Will the devices also get a design overhaul? They're a little long in the tooth now. Maybe Apple will further reduce the iMac's signature "chin" and skinny-up the chassis a little.

White iPhone 4

Now that Apple's cracked its technical issues with the paint and light leakage into the white iPhone 4, it's finally about to go on sale. Stores in Belgium have already received their shipments. From the boxes, the design doesn't seem to incorporate the new four-section antenna that the redesigned Verizon iPhone 4 sports.

In pretty much every significant way, the white iPhone 4 is just a white iPhone 4--its only unique asset is the unusual, apparently much-sought-after color. Commentators are speculating that the "mystique" of the phone may even propel Apple's sales through the summer, filling the gap left by what we now think is a deliberately delayed iPhone 5 launch.

MacBook Airs in June With Thunderbolt

The MacBook Air only just got a refresh, it seems, with a slinky new design that includes SSD-only drive options. It's been selling like hotcakes. Now there's a strong hint they're due a minor update in June, mere weeks after the iMac refresh, which will see a spec bump with better Intel graphics, Sandy Bridge CPUs, and the Thunderbolt speedy I-O system.

MacBook Pros

The next revision of the MacBook Pro is now rumored to include a "milestone" redesign. This tallies with our suspicions right at the start of the year. We think Apple will again take design cues from the MacBook Air, giving the new Pro's a skinnier, tapered frame and possibly ditching the optical drive and hard drives (though they may remain as an option, for big-storage users). Could this revision come as a "mid 2011" update, after the "early 2011" update was a pretty mediocre spec bump that merely introduced us to Thunderbolt?

 

T-Mobile's iPhone "4S" Prototype

A prototype iPhone has apparently leaked out from Apple's super-tight lockdown again. This version seems to have been adapted to run on T-Mobile's 3G network, and it's also sporting a new Apple A5 processor which leads some to label it the "iPhone 4S." Apple's also alleged to be lending these phones to certain games developers, to give them a head-start in producing even more powerful games for a future iPhone version.

Would a summer launch of a T-Mobile iPhone 4 make sense, given that the new iPhone would be mere weeks away and thousands of buyers could be disgruntled? Not really. This is most likely a hint that the iPhone 5 redesign will be essentially similar to the iPhone 4's, and when it arrives it'll have a better CPU and run on pretty much every phone network you can imagine.

iPhone 5 images

Ex-Engageters at ThisIsMyNext received what they believed to be credible data on the next iPhone revision--it will have an edge-to-edge screen as rumored, with a display slightly larger than the iPhone 4's, along with a tapered back (possibly in unibody aluminum style), and a touch-sensitive home button with a larger "gesture area" around it. The image you see here is a mock-up they created based on the data.

Meanwhile, MICgadget received what it believed was credible imagery of an iPhone 5. This one looks a lot more like the iPhone 4, just a little narrower front-to-back and with a similar edge-to-edge display.

Are these actually both real, both future versions--one the iPhone 5, the other the oft-rumored iPhone "Lite"?

iPhone 6 Screen

It may be a long way in the future, but there's already a rumor about the iPhone 6 (doesn't that confirm exactly how excited people are about Apple's products?). Sharp has apparently been tipped to deliver a screen for the phone in Spring 2012 based on its low-temperature poly-silicon system, which delivers crisper, brighter displays that consume less power and which can be bonded directly to the device's glass front--making for a skinnier overall profile. If true, it's a sign Apple's avoiding using OLED tech.

[Image: Flickr user lowjumpingfrog]

Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

Read More: Most Innovative Companies: Apple

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