Apple Roundup: Skinny MacBooks, iPhone 5 Cases Leak, iPad 3 In The Fall, iPhone Lite Leaks?

You may not be shocked to learn that a lot of rumored Apple news is bubbling up around on the Web–here’s our roundup of the most interesting bits.



Air-Inspired 15-Inch MacBook Pros

Apple is rumored to be taking the lessons it’s learned in its hot-selling new MacBook Air design into its bigger, more powerful laptops. According to MacRumors the thin 15-inch computer, destined to replace or supplement the MacBook Pro, is already in late testing stage at Apple, and the suspicion is that innovations like an SSD-only option, and no optical disk drive will be key features.

A thinner device with a larger screen may well appeal to mobile professionals who crave a little more power than Airs can muster, and it needn’t necessarily mean the machine will skimp on features: By ditching a DVD drive, there’s more space for a battery (even in a thinner, tapered case something like an upscaled MacBook Air), and if the tapered body is cleverly done, there’s still room for a largeish conventional disk drive.

There are also rumors that a similar 17-inch model is en route, and that both will arrive in time for the holiday season. 

iPhone 5 Cases Leak

A schematic for designing cases for the next iPhone has leaked, and one or two genuine plastic parts–seemingly based on the diagram–have also surfaced over recent days. Something similar happened before the iPad 2 arrived, and correctly gave us its shape and profile.


So what can we infer from these new leaks? The iPhone 5 would seem to be thinner, and something like a mini iPad 2, with a flattish back portion that may be slightly tapered and curved edges. Does this also hint that it’ll have an all-metal chassis as previous rumors had suggested? The screen does seem to be larger, and stretch right to the edge of the device, and there’s another curio: An enlarged space for the home button, which tallies with earlier rumors about it having a small gesture area. 

iPhone 5 Mid-September, iPad 3 Due Later In Fall

According to the China Times, the iPhone 5 is now definitely due the second week of September. This tallies with a number of other news sources that have noted AT&T’s maneuvers to deal with the launch, and roughly agrees with information from an Apple insider that we at Fast Company had heard. 

More intriguingly, the China Times is also saying the iPad 3 is due to arrive later in the Fall. It was due to arrive at the same time as iPhone 5 but has been hit by component supply issues. We don’t know if this is the genuine iPad 3 they’re mentioning, or the rumored “iPad 2 HD” with a better screen, and it’s out of sync with Apple’s usual update schedule. But there are more and more hints that this may really be happening.

iPhone Lite Leaks?

A simple photo of what’s allegedly the iPhone “lite,” Apple’s cheaper ($350 off-contract) iPhone expected alongside the iPhone 5, has set the tech media afire with excitement. It’s basically like the iPhone 4–which explains why we’ve not seen any leaked case designs for it–but has a stiff plastic screen front and similar rear case. 


Suspicious experts have already scorned the idea this really is the new device, despite the leak source being pretty reliable in the past. And yet the general feeling is that if this isn’t the real deal, it’s at least very close to it.

iPad 3 Manufacturer Boosts, Cheaper Price

According to Digitimes, which is a news source that has previously pretty reliable thanks to links inside Apple’s Eastern supply chain, Apple has been adding a handful of Taiwan-based companies to its manufacturer pool so that it can assure its supply, and get more iPad 3s on sale quicker than the iPad 2 was available.

It’s all about competing with the increasing number of competitors in the tablet market, but there’s also an intriguing suggestion that Apple’s “adjusting the cost structure.” Does this mean it may actually drop the price of an iPad? That would be a clever move, as recent data about Amazon’s future tablet highlights price as the main motivator. 

Apple Testing Solar Power

Apple, and archrival Samsung, are reported to be testing solar power units for future products and may be integrating Taiwan-based solar cell makers into their supply chains. 


Take this how you will, but sources inside these companies are hinting any actual product is a while away. And Apple has actually pursued patents in this area. A solar-powered in-screen cell for the iPhone 6, to top up its battery when it’s out of your pocket? Sounds neat.

[Image: Flickr user marc-flores]

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


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I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)