Apple will ship 15.4in widescreen MacBooks next quarter, Taiwanese notebook-manufacturer moles have claimed, stating the new models will fill the gap between the 13.3in MacBooks and the 15.4in MacBook Pros.
The claims should perhaps be treated with some scepticism. Such sources - cited by DigiTimes - have in the past been wrong more often than right, but often anticipate events that occur further down the line than forecast.
That said, there's certainly room for new models between the current MacBooks and MacBook Pros, though arguably what's needed are MacBooks with better graphics rather than a bigger screen - drop the current models' integrated graphics in favour of a more gamer-friendly discrete GPU. Price-wise the MacBook line tops out at $1,499/£999, while the pricey MacBook Pro series starts at $1,999/£1,349, so there is a gap.
Interestingly, the claim that Apple was preparing a 15.4in MacBook for May 2007 was also made four month ago, in October 2006. Foxconn was said to be the manufacturer. Current MacBooks are believed to be made by Asustek.
But is the new 15.4in model a MacBook at all? Intel will be launching new Centrino technology - codenamed 'Santa Rosa' - in May, and while it won't do much to improve CPU performance, the update will feature enhanced chipset technology, and Apple may want to take advantage of this for the MacBook Pro line, particularly given the premium it charges for the machines.