Apple to disrupt notebook market with radically redesigned MacBook Pros

“While most of its rivals are struggling to match innovations Apple pioneered with its first MacBook Airs over three years ago, the Mac maker this year is hoping to further distance itself from the competition with a pair of radically redesigned professional offerings that will set the tone for the next wave of notebook computing,” Kasper Jade reports for AppleInsider.

“In particular, people familiar with Apple’s roadmap say the Cupertino-based company currently plans to exit 2012 having completed a top-to-bottom revamp of its notebooks lineup that will see new MacBook Pros adopt the same design traits that have made its MacBook Airs an increasingly popular choice among mobile consumers,” Jade reports. “This will include new, ultra-thin unibody enclosures that jettison yesteryear technologies like optical disk drives and traditional hard drives in favor of models with lightweight chassis that employ flash-memory based solid-state drives, instant-on capabilities, extended battery life, and rely on digital distribution for software and media.”

Jade reports, “AppleInsider believes that based on its information, leaks out the Far East regarding an ultra-thin 15-inch Apple notebook slated to hit the market this spring indeed pertain to Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro makeover, regardless of what marketing name the company ultimately chooses to stamp on its bezel. It’s to rely heavily on Thunderbolt and be built around Intel’s forthcoming Ivy Bridge microarchitecture and mobile components currently slated to start shipping in April.”

Read more in the full article here.

62 Comments

  1. I’m confident this is true.

    I bought a Performa, and the 3G came out.

    I bought a Yikes! G4, and the Sawtooth G4 came out.

    I bought a Sawtooth G4, and the G5 came out.

    I bought a PowerBook, and the MacBook Pro came out.

    I’ve waited a while to buy the MacBook Pro, but I got one last month…

    You know what that means, something big is coming! LOL!!!

    1. Been there before..

      Even though I don’t use the DVD drive that much.. I’d still like to have one, and not carry an external drive. Optical media isn’t dead yet.. it’s getting there though.

      1. Carrying a 13″ MBA plus the optional optical drive is less weight and volume than a 13″ MBP. The lack of the optical drive is what allows the tapered design.

        13″ MBP = 108.54 cubic inches 4.5lbs
        13″ MBA + Optical Drive = 97.85 cubic inches 3.7lbs
        (this is without factoring in the taper for the MBA, which results in much less volume than calculated)

        Imagine the size and weight savings that a tapered 15″ and 17″ MBP will bring.

        I’m really looking forward to the next update. The MBP line just had a nominal increase a couple months ago. Usually this is a good sign that the next update will be substantial.

      2. How often does it happen that you unexpectedly need the optical drive? For me, that’s never. I always know before I leave home when I’m going to need it. So, I replaced the optical drive in my 2007 MBP with an SSD and put it in an external enclosure. With an external, at least you have the option to not carry it when you don’t need it.

        1. problem is, when I need the drive.. It’s never planned.

          I needed to copy a DVD for someone, was a spur of the moment thing. That happens all the time.

          I’m not against using an external drive, i can do without the drive 99% of the time. I’ll use a USB hd or thumb drive to store/transfer stuff, but there are many that think a DVD is the only solution.

          My sister thinks a DVD drive is the only way to play a movie on the a computer. I never use the drive to play a movie.. I rip all my DVD/blu ray to an iTunes friendly format.
          Too many people (business also) cant think past the optical drive.

          Give it a few years I guess.

          1. I have my doubts about removing the DVD drive from the MacBook Pro, but not because I might need to burn a DVD “on the spur of the moment”. In all the years I’ve been using Macs (I got my first one in 1984), I have never had to unexpectedly burn a disc while away from home. It’s certainly not something that is likely to happen often enough to make me want to carry several extra pounds all the time “just in case”.

            For me, the biggest downside of a DVD-less MacBook Pro is that you need either an external DVD drive or another Mac to install software on disc. For many people, their MBP is their only computer; and if most buyers end up having to buy the optional DVD burner separately, this begins to look like a big step backwards despite the savings in weight. It will be a few years yet before disc-based software gives way entirely to downloadable installers, and almost everyone I know who travels with a laptop routinely brings movies on DVD for entertainment. If everyone who watches video discs on their laptops could start streaming 100% of that content today, there would be a collective meltdown of the entire system for two reasons: Inadequate network bandwidth and sky-high overage charges from service providers. Everyone can see where things are going eventually, but greed and laziness on the part of the service providers represent a huge obstacle at this point.

            1. Regarding installing software from disc

              Have you looked at the packaging on the retail box of MicroSoft Office lately. There is a big sticker on the front of the box that reads “No DVD drive – download office from …”
              You buy the retail box with DVD, download and then enter the key inside the box.

              I can’t think of any software that you CAN’T download.

              If you need to give someone a disc, you can mail it to them 😉

            2. Currently, most ISPs (I am not talking about shtty ones) have unlimited bandwidth plans. Not surprising, these plans are a lot more popular – compared to plans with limited bandwidth.

            3. Most ISP’s currently have unlimited bandwidth plans? Really? I think you’re dreaming. Comcast and AT&T certainly do not offer any such thing. In fact, Comcast will throttle the download speed of customers who exceed a certain undisclosed limit per month. I just took another look at the plans offered by Comcast, the only cable provider in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can pay $100 a month or more for “blazing fast” internet, but there is not one word about unlimited uploads and downloads. Wouldn’t they advertise it if they offered it?

    2. I just bought a PowerBook and kept using it to this date.
      I just bought the first Mac Mini and kept using it to this date.
      And I bought an iBook for my wife and its still in use (as is the wife…lol).

      In short, there’s no need to upgrade so often….heheee

        1. I finally retired my 12 inch G4 Powerbook last month after 7 years of service. Strangely enough, my 2002 iMac 15 inch 800mhz is still in service as my aunt’s computer. Unbelievable!

          1. My iMac 15″ (02 800mhz) is still in use too and doing well. By the way my circa 90’s Centris 650 and Performa 6400 are also running. Your post has also inspired me to hook up my Apple II+, IIe, Mac 128k, and Mac+ to see if they are still working. Macs last forever!

            1. I just had a customer give me one for free. He is an 83 year old man. He used it for less than 1 hour. There were 3 folders on the desktop all named untitled folder 🙂 and no other data on the unit.

            2. Lucky you! It’s a little heavy for its size by modern standards, but otherwise it’s a great little machine that runs amazingly well on a meager 1.25GB of RAM (the maximum allowed). Mine has traveled all over the world without missing a beat.

      1. LUC come on now…

        if you JUST bought it and are still using it to DATE…
        why do you still have your wife then? – JOKE.

        But anyways – if you JUST bought something OF COURSE you are still using it its NEW to you even if it is a older model.

      2. I still use my 1993 Quadra 650, souped up with a PPC 601 daughterboard, as an imagine workstation.

        I still use my 1997 PowerMac 9600, souped up with a G3 900 MHz, as a 24/7 FTP server on the Internet.

        I still use my 1998 Wallstreet PDQ PowerBook, souped up with a G4 500 MHz, to play older software, especially Carmageddon. 😈

        This is why Apple hardware is #1 in ROI (Return On Investment), thus making it easily the LEAST expensive computer hardware investments. But that fact bounces off the thick-as-a-brick brains of Windows PC suckers who insist that shelf price is everything. Doubtless the same is true with iDevices versus OtherDevices. 😳

    3. I realize that was meant to be amusing, but the Yikes! and Sawtooth came out at the same time, and the Sawtooth G4 was WAY before any G5 Mac… 🙂

      FYI – The MacBook Pro you got last month is probably the last MacBook with a built-in optical drive. So, depending on your opinion about the need for optical drives, perhaps you made a good decision (or a bad one).

      1. Yikes! was on the base model, which is what I had. The mid and premium levels were AGP (Sawtooth).

        It was about two months after they were released that they discontinued PCI, and moved to 100% Sawtooth.

      2. P.S. You’re right… The Sawtooth G4 was way before the G5.

        I never said I got it right when it came out. :p

        And actually, I prefer to have an optical drive, so I won’t feel burned if they introduce a new model that dumps it.

    4. Every 6 months at least..
      something new – that is to be expected.

      Something big – well – I hope it is big.
      Big to me would be Apple doing a Tablet right.

      Maybe finalizing the transformation on Lion and mutli-touch to the desktop and laptop items. By this I mean, in form factors where Microsoft has been hoping to take Windows8 and beating them to it. Suggesting that the MacBookAir to become a metal covered tablet running full Lion – something like a iPadPro.

      If the plan is to merely design all laptops to look like the Air well thats cool – but I think APple can do one step better then that.

  2. Darn. I really want to replace my aging MBP and was going to wait for the new ones to come out.
    But if Apple are doing something radical it could take another six months to be released.
    So the major question is when?

    Tim – are you listening…when?

  3. The bad thing about removing the optical bay is I’ll have nowhere to put my traditional hard drive after replacing it with an SSD. I LOVE having two hard drives in my MBP and it would suck to be limited on space with a single SSD. I guess I’d have to resort to an external. Cumbersome!

    1. I have purchased Macs since 1983 and always stayed about one model behind, save for a few years as an Apple trainer during which time being state of the art in hardware, software and OS was required. When Apple dropped a technology, I followed. I’ve never regretted doing so. With iCloud, I now have an iPhone 4, iPad 2 and Mac Boook Air as a single virtual computer. Its brilliant. There’s always a bit of an intellectual hurdle at the change, but i have great respect for the way that Apple manages their product evolution.

    1. It’s just a name. With the complete discontinuation of the white MacBook, Apple should rename the MacBook Air and just call it “MacBook.”

      And who says the MacBook Pro name will continue…

      “Pro” means higher specifications. So in this case, perhaps the distinction would be quad-core processor versus dual-core. Higher RAM limit, versus just 4GB. Superior graphic hardware with dedicated VRAM, versus graphics using “shared” memory. More room for additional flash-based storage modules; perhaps it will still have space for a 2.5-inch hard drive (at least in the 17-inch model. And obviously, larger higher-resolution displays.

    1. Agreed – however – for Apple to move all their laptops to a tablet form might disappoint a good body of users.

      Perhaps a gradual shift – stylizing like the Air is fine enough… but let the MacBook or Air become Tablet Form and the PRO LEVEL laptops achieve the AIR appearance as stated here.

      I am doubtful of a 7″ iPad – and more for a 13″ iPadPro <— or MacBookAir Tablet.

  4. I’d personally love the following…

    OS X Lion with the ability to run iOS apps in full screen.
    Retina display, 15 or 17″ screen w/ matte finish option
    750 mb hard drive, or two 512mb solid state hd’s.
    Video card with 2 gb ram
    Thunderbolt of course
    Screen swivel to allow function as touchscreen when closed.

    That’s what I’d be looking for in an ultimate hybrid laptop/ipad killer… 🙂

    1. You must be joking… swivel touch screen? 🙂

      Also, the screen pixel density for Macs is not going to increase beyond about 130 pixels per inch (the current highest) until AFTER Lion, because there are too many GUI elements that are dependent on pixel size, most notably the Menu Bar. The Menu Bar can’t get any smaller on-screen, than it is now (on some Mac models).

      The next major release of the Mac’s OS will probably have a higher degree of resolution independence, so the user can better control the on-screen size of GUI elements (like with the current Dock). That will allow pixels to get tinier.

    2. I like your wish list Chris.
      My favourite is running iOS apps on LION.

      The only company who will succeed to produce an iPAD killer will be APPLE themselves; bullseye on that.

  5. The writing is on the wall. Hard media is dead. Apple is going to kill off the last vestiges by killing the CD/DVD and the Hard Disc Drive. It won’t be long before all our data is stored in the cloud.

    1. Agreed.

      iPods iPads and iPhones prove as this EXAMPLE that the hard drive is a dinosaur by using, (lower quality low performance NAND flash which typically has 1 or 2 channels; durable and cheap however slow) – FLASH drives.

      Which makes me believe Apple will maintain the categorical choice for PRO level devices using of course (the high performance NAND with multiple channels and memory controller) we know as the SSD; as seen in the MacBook Air.

      Creating a SSD drive thinner then the current installed in MBair will be required to transform the MacBook Air to a Tablet form. Yet this will not be a iOS device, it will run LION will be a PRO level iPAD at sizes perhaps starting at 13″.

      This will be the iPAD killer that other companies hoped to accomplish.

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