Next Generation 15-inch LCDs: 15.6 inches and 16 x 9

LCD panel makers are pushing for a slight adjustment to the 15-inch class LCD used in notebook computers. Instead of 15.4 inches and 16 x 10, the new panels scheduled for late Q2 or early Q3 will be 15.6 inches and 16 x 9, according to DigiTimes on Wednesday.

The primary advantage is the geometry and costs of the LCD displays which are cut from larger fabricated panels. The 16 x 9 aspect ratio is also the same aspect ratio as HDTV. The disadvantage for customers will be slightly fewer pixels.

To date, all of Appleis notebook computer and stand alone displays have used the 16 x 10 aspect ratio which affords some extra space above or below an HDTV image. However, manufacturing efficiencies sometimes dictate a change in geometry, and those decisions get passed on to the customers.

DigiTimes reported that the cost of the new displays will drop from about US$100 for the old 15.4-inch to about $85.

The timing might be favorable for Apple. Intel has announced that a glitch in their production process for the new Centrino will cause a slip until August. Apple could be planning to use both the new displays and CPUs in a new MacBook design, which analyst Gene Munster has predicted for a possible WWDC or Summer announcement.

The new Centrino, code named "Montevina," supports the WiMax technology.