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

Will Apple discontinue the Magic Mouse in favor of the Magic Trackpad? (update: no)

Cult of Mac claims that a previously reliable source told them that Magic Mouse inventory is not being replenished at Apple Stores. From this, they say that the Magic Mouse will soon be discontinued.

The move would make sense given that OS X Lion is heavily gesture based, but it also does not make sense for a couple of reasons.

OS X Lion still supports the touch-capable Magic Mouse and it is the perfect option from Apple for those who are not a fan of many gestures…or for those desktop users that are learning gestures.

From what we have seen, stock of the Magic Mouse appears to be pretty normal at online retailers such as Amazon. We also haven’t heard anything out of our stock channels, so we are a bit skeptical. It still would not be completely surprising for the company who killed the optical drive to the kill the mouse.

Update: We’ve heard from one untested Central European source that Magic Mice supplies are constrained, but can’t draw any conclusions based on that.

Update 2: Cult of Mac says the Magic Mouse has been resurrected.

Update 3: The part number for the Magic Mouse is not discontinued. A refresh is certainly possible but it likely is not imminent.

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OWC: Choose your new iMac hard drive wisely, you only get one shot

via some Dutch Dude who didn’t have any issues installing an SSD in the Hard drive Bay

According to a blog post at OWC, the new iMacs have a temperature sensor in their hard drives which will restrict replacing with non-Apple hard drives.

For the main 3.5″ SATA hard drive bay in the new 2011 machines, Apple has altered the SATA power connector itself from a standard 4-pin power configuration to a 7-pin configuration. Hard drive temperature control is regulated by a combination of this cable and Apple proprietary firmware on the hard drive itself. From our testing, we’ve found that removing this drive from the system, or even from that bay itself, causes the machine’s hard drive fans to spin at maximum speed and replacing the drive with any non-Apple original drive will result in the iMac failing the Apple Hardware Test (AHT).

Here’s the thing though:  What if you order an iMac without a hard drive?  One iMac option is just the SSD which is mounted on the optical drive?  Perhaps there is a way to disable fans altogether and thats what ships with SSD-only iMacs?

Clearly some more investigative work is necessary.

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