Sources: Apple scrapped troubled 15-inch MacBook Air for 2010, rebuilding for 2012

The 13-inch MacBook Air of today

Had Apple’s “next-generation of notebooks” announcement in October 2010 played out as planned, the MacBook family of today would look very different. In October 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs took the stage at the Apple Cupertino campus to unveil a preview of OS X Lion, FaceTime for Mac, iLife ’11 and the latest MacBook Air design as the closing “one more thing” announcement. That MacBook Air brought with it an all-new and thinner form-factor, a higher-resolution display, an incredibly light body, a large Multi-Touch single-button trackpad, flash SSD storage, and battery life improvements. 

Those aforementioned features, according to Apple, are what constitute the future of notebooks. This notebook announcement not only brought the successor to the previously available 13-inch MacBook Air, but brought along with it an 11-inch MacBook Air for the first time.

But these new notebooks weren’t the only planned pieces of the late 2010 MacBook Air story, though. Reliable sources have told us that not only were 13 and 11-inch models planned, but a groudbreaking new 15 inch MacBook Air was scheduled for a late 2010 release. Read on to learn about what could have been: 

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Report: Apple to ship new dream machine 15-inch MacBook Air in March

Digitimes says we’ll only have to wait until March to get the long sought after 15 (and possibly 17) inch MacBook Airs.

Upstream suppliers of Apple have recently started shipping a small volume of components for a 15-inch ultra-thin notebook model from Apple in November and the device could be either MacBook Air or just a thinner MacBook Pro….Estimated by the product planning, mass shipments of the notebook device will start in March…While a 15-inch ultrabook model would be considered a full function machine, which consumers normally expect to have an optical drive, limitations over the thickness restriction of 0.8-inch for the ultrabook means the launch of a 15-inch machine with an optical drive and a thickness of less than 0.8-inch may not be in the plans until a later time.

It is uncertain whether these machines will be called MacBook Pros or Airs or just “MacBooks” at that point.  The industry has been moving away from hard disc platter computers with optical drives and the recent flooding in Thailand, where many hard drives are manufactured, has only served to hasten that migration.

Intel is also expected to produce quad core Ivy Bridge i7 CPUs based on a 22nm platter that will shave 10W off the current chip power consumption, thereby allowing quad-core ultra portable laptops.

Apple in particular is limited to 35W in its 13-inch MacBook Pro chassis, we may see a quad-core option in the 2012 13-inch Ivy Bridge MacBook Pro as a result.

Beyond energy consumption benefits, Ivy Bridge processors have a 20% increase in CPU performance and up to 60% increase in integrated graphics performance over current Sandy Bridge models. They should also support 4K video.

The new MacBook is expected to appear as early as the second quarter of 2012, according to the report. Read more

Purported iPhone 5 screen protectors indicate wider home button, body

Unwire.hk (via MacRumors) shows what they indicate may be screen protectors for the new iPhone 5. Interestingly, the screen protectors here show a wide home button (above) and when compared to the current iPhone 4, show a wider screen area (below).

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If the current aspect ratio is preserved, the new size would indicate that the screen extended further toward the top and bottom of the device.

Another closeup image, below:

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This is how a 4.7-inch iPhone 5 would measure up against 3.5-inch iPhone 4

In case you haven’t noticed, a rumored Fall release of iPhone 5 is being preceded by the usual media brouhaha. Is Apple going to release its next handset in September? How about October? Maybe they’ll gradually bring the device to market over the course of both months? Has the company already field-tested the gizmo in June? And if the phone is already in production, how come carriers are only now getting prototypes in sealed boxes? Do case leaks mean a ringer switch has been repositioned to the opposite side? And what’s with those iPhone 4 price cuts at Target and Radioshack and AT&T vacation blackouts?

Disregarding all of the above for a second, what exactly about Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone is going to blow our socks off the most? If you ask Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, it’s the large display combined with an even thinner profile than iPhone 4:

It turns out that we are picking up that this interim iPhone refresh in the Fall timeframe could be a bigger upgrade than we expected. We believe this makes sense to improve the iPhone experience without making it too bulky as we have seen with models from competitors.

But what exactly is ‘bulky’ these days? Are we talking a few millimeters larger display or ‘Android superphone bulky’? Italian-language MelaBlog.it did a cool side-by-side comparison of the current-generation iPhone 4’s 3.5-inch display and the rumored iPhone 5 at various display dimensions. An iPhone 5 with a 4.3-inch display would require a frame wider and taller ten millimeters than that of the iPhone 4, while keeping the same 9.3 millimeter profile. Reducing the display edges “to a minimum” – that’s an edge-to-edge display for you – could allow Apple to engineer a monstrous 4.7-inch device, as depicted in the above drawing. There’s just one problem, though (plus, a cool reader mockup below the fold)…

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