“Although Apple made no official announcement during the WWDC keynote yesterday, the absence of the 17-inch MacBook Pro from the online store can be taken as proof positive that the notebook has been dumped from the lineup,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes reports for ZDNet. “So, it’s certainly gone, but why?”

“Weak sales would be a good reason for a company like Apple to ditch a product, especially given how rapidly the company turns over its inventory every five days or so,” Kingsley-Hughes reports. “However, one thing that blows a hole in this weak sales theory is Apple’s continued commitment to the Mac Pro. While we’re not offered any figures by Apple, I’m certain that the company sold more 17-inch MacBook Pros over the last year than it has Mac Pro systems. I certainly come across more 17-inch MacBook Pro systems than I do Mac Pros. While I’m sure that while sales played a part in Apple’s decision to drop the larger of the MacBook Pro systems, I’m also certain that it wasn’t the only reason for their demise.”

Kingsley-Hughes reports, “So what other reason might Apple have had to dump the 17-inch MacBook Pro? To answer this, I think we need to look at the screen… When LCD panel makers get better at making ‘retina’ display screen, and 17-inch panels start rolling off the production lines at the right price point, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Apple starts to offer ‘retina’ display enabled 17-inch MacBook Pro systems once again.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is nothing new. In fact, it’s SOP: In 2006, Apple introduced its first ever MacBook Pro at the Macworld Expo in January and about three months after the 15-inch MacBook Pro made its debut, Apple introduced the first 17-inch MacBook Pro. In 2008, Apple announced next-generation 13-inch MacBooks and 15-inch MacBook Pros but was unable to immediately ramp production of the 17-inch model.

The 17-inch model is the flagship of Apple’s notebooks. In Apple’s likely way of thinking, it simply can’t have an inferior screen to the 15-inch model.

When the 17-inch Retina displays are ready, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the debut of the new 17-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Rave3000″ for the heads up.]

Related article:
Apple’s next-gen 17-inch MacBook Pro due early next year – October 15, 2008