In theory, Apple could leverage its patent on the Air to try and block manufacturers of other light, thin laptops from marketing their products in the U.S.
The patent, No. D654,072, refers to an “ornamental design for an electronic device,” and lists Steve Jobs as one of its inventors. While the term “MacBook Air” isn’t cited, the drawings of a laptop with tapered design is unmistakable.
Just before the patent was awarded on Valentine’s Day, a report on 9to5 Mac alleged that Apple had approached one of its Taiwanese suppliers, Pegatron, about ceasing production of another laptop with an eerily similar design, the Asustek Zenbook.
Pegatron, which recently began manufacturing iPhones for Apple, will reportedly cease Zenbook production in March, forcing Asus to look elsewhere.
Although the action, if true, occurred prior to the date when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Apple its patent on the MacBook Air, it shows that Apple won’t hesitate to move against any competitor it sees as copying its ideas. The patent could embolden Apple to go after other makers of Ultrabooks, the Windows PC world’s answer to the MacBook Air, a project that Intel spearheaded.
There are several Ultrabooks on the market now, with dozens more on the way. If Apple decides to go after Air clones the way it’s waged its legal war against Android manufacturers, the consumer PC industry could be in trouble. Many companies — with Intel in the lead — have a lot riding on Ultrabooks, and the prospect of fighting Apple in court would make any CEO nervous.
However, Dell and Samsung — Apple’s favorite legal target — might want to start preparing counterarguments.
iPad 3: Which Features Do You Want?
Many expect the next iteration of the iPad to be unveiled at an Apple event in early March, though Apple has yet to announce such an event. Behind the latest wave of rumors come reports that resales of current iPad products are shooting up. If you’re an owner of an iPad looking to upgrade, now might be the time to resell — though at a risk, of course, as we don’t actually know when the new device will arrive.
Of course, you could spend all your time trying to keep up with the latest Apple rumors and still not actually know anything. Nevertheless we enjoy the endless speculation. I asked Mashable‘s expert staff what features they want to see and what they hear users say they’re craving the most in a new iPad. Our poll below reflects the most common and most realistic expectations.
There were some more outlandish responses, too, for ideas that are unlikely to appear in the next iPad. For example, Pete Pachal suggested he’d like to see a bendable body, solar charging capability, and handwriting recognition. Not to be outdone, Matt Silverman suggested…cupholders.
We want to hear what you’re hoping to see. Take our poll below and let us know in the comments what features we’ve left out.