Apple Rumors: The MacBook Pro Shrinks, iPad And iPhone Grow

I suspect we’ll have to start picking and choosing our Apple rumor posts carefully in the coming months as the speculations begin flying fast and free, but until then a bit of gossip portending the next year’s changes won’t hurt anybody.

iLounge is hawking some intel from their “most reliable source,” who claims to have the inside scoop on Apple’s upcoming revisions. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but it might be enough to make you unconsciously start saving money.

The MacBook Pro redesign we’ve heard about before. Other sources have it rolling out in March, but supply line data is unreliable unless bulk orders are indicated. The flatter, more Air-like redesign is practically a certainty at this point. The question is a few of the system details: storage (I’m guessing hybrid), processor (Ivy Bridge and a discrete GPU), ports (two Thunderbolts, one USB, one Ethernet, one SD), and optical drive (none).

Most interesting to me personally is the report that the iPad will be a little thicker, in order to allow for the extra lighting necessitated by the high-resolution screen I’ve been crowing about at every opportunity for almost a year now. Any indications of this mythical high-definition screen are welcome, as I think it will make the device a far, far better one for all kinds of tasks, consumption and creation. The increase in thickness is said to be only 0.7mm, so still thinner than the original iPad by several millimeters. Whether this change is too much for iPad 2 accessories is probably a case-by-case thing.

More suspicious is the report that the iPhone will be getting a size bump to a 4″ screen, making the device as a whole 8mm longer. Not only that, but it’s supposed to hit in the Summer. Now, Apple has worked very hard for years to make the iPhone an iconic device, and part of that is its size, now petite compared to many Android phones. But in a case like the iPhone, Apple doesn’t feel pressure from outside. Or at least it would never admit it. Jobs (probably channeling Ive) was always very vehement about the design choices they’d made with the iPhone and iPad: lots of testing went into it, and 3.5″ and 9.7″ were the perfect sizes. But four years on, it could be that they must acknowledge changes in the market (towards streaming media consumption, for instance, and photos) and the benefits of a larger screen. Still, 4″ is rather a big jump, and the resolution question is also a factor.

One thing I am optimistic about is the metal case, reportedly aluminum. The original iPhone was a wonderful piece of human-centered design and the backs developed a beautiful patina. We need to bring that back. And Apple has probably had enough shattered iPhones to last them for a while.

No doubt these rumors will be corroborated or contradicted in the coming months, and we’ll sound our own sources as well. None of these items are set to break cover for a couple months, at any rate, so there’s plenty of time for evidence to appear.