Rumour round up: Apple's next-gen laptops

Want a new Mac laptop? Best to wait till late September
Want a new Mac laptop? Best to wait till late September

Moving swiftly on from the unhealthily obsessive rumour mill surrounding Steve Job's current health problems (for the record – it's not cancer, but it's worse than a cold) true Apple fans are more interested right now in the rumours surrounding the next generation of laptops being developed in Cupertino.

Apple's PR machine, as we all know, thrives on rumour and speculation, so TechRadar decided it was high time to try to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Goodbye Intel?

Firstly, suggests that there could well be planned move away from Intel, noting that, "people familiar with these plans say an upcoming generation of Macs, lead by a trio of redesigned notebooks, won't adopt the Montevina chipset announced as part of Intel's Centrino 2 mobile platform earlier this month."

That report continues: "What's more, those same people suggest the chipset employed by the new wave of Macs may have little or nothing to do with Intel at all. (This should not be confused with the primary CPU, which will continue to come from Intel.)

"Exactly what alternative Apple has chosen remains unclear. However it's believed that Intel, which declined to comment for this story, would need to have established a licensing agreement with the firm responsible for manufacturing an Intel-compatible chipset, be it Apple or one of the company's third party suppliers."

Which begs the question – will Apple return to the days of manufacturing its own proprietary chipsets to support the primary processors in its systems?

Or, as suggests, might Apple "forge a relationship with one of the other established third party chipset manufacturers, such as NVidia, AMD or Via, in a move that would allow the company to build its next-generation systems using technology cherry-picked from the best of both worlds"?

Pics not authentic

Graham Barlow, editor of MacFormat magazine, commenting on these rumours, told TechRadar:

"With the MacBook Air setting the bar as the world's thinnest laptop on its release Apple now need to produce something even thinner next time, and I think it's quite likely that they'd employ the services of a specialist company to make smaller form factor motherboards.

"I don't buy the "authentic" pictures of the next-gen MacBook Pro case on that [] story though – the Apple logo has three curious holes in it on that case. I can't imagine Apple ever defacing its logo in this way.

"It's also unwise to read too much into Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer's reference to "product transition" since its not clear if this refers to Mac, iPod, iPhone or another new product category. Apple aren't afraid to innovate in completely new areas."

Thinner, happier, more productive

The usually pretty damn reliable Seth Weintraub over on Computer World's blogs also claims to have been "hearing some interesting things about Apple's upcoming line of portable computers" of late.

Weintraub offers a quick round up of what he's heard, noting that "the new models are thinner than current MacBook and MacBook Pros and slightly more rounded, taking design cues from the MacBook Air; the trackpad is glass, multi-touch and uses gestures. The screen isn't multi-touch; the body is manufactured out of one piece of aluminum. Eco-friendly, yet sturdy. Manufacturing process is completely different

He adds that the release date for Apple's new laptops is penned in for last week of September.

Additionally, regarding the future versions of MacBook/Pros, Weintraub infers that they WILL have Intel Centrino 2 platform chips; 16:9 screens which come in slightly bigger sizes: 14 inch and 15. 6 inch with different resolutions; the Macbook Air line should get a 45nm processor to help with battery life.

And, of course, he adds, "it will be the best thing since sliced bread..."

Basically, if you want to buy a Mac laptop, TechRadar would suggest you hang fire till September time, when we should be hearing more concrete, official details from Cupertino on Apple's plans for the future of its laptop range.

Adam Hartley