Goodbye, MacBook Pro: 15-inch MacBook Air due in April, says source

“We heard word from one anonymous vendor that Apple’s likely to launch a 15-inch MacBook Air in April, effectively killing the Pro for the average consumer,” Adam Bunker reports for ELectricPig.

“Let’s be straight: this isn’t the first such rumour – word that a larger, 15-inch MacBook Air will drop in April has been fairly well covered,” Bunker reports. “But to hear it said in such a certain manner from a premium Mac accessory maker was pretty convincing. This particular company is a key player in MacBook docking solutions, so they’ve got to keep abreast of the finer details of what’s coming. And what is coming? If you take our source’s word for it, a 15-inch MacBook Air with ports on both sides, no optical drive and no ethernet cable.”

Bunker reports, “While our source wasn’t certain that this would completely destroy the Pro (he also stated that Apple might hold on to the 17-inch model, which would make sense for the sizeable audience of professional editors out there), he was fairly sure that the shakeup will happen in April.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Having mvoed from 17-inch MacBook Pro units (for both mobile and desktop use) to 27-inch iMacs on the desks and 11-inch MacBook Airs and iPads in the backpacks, we can say that MacBook Air is the future. Perhaps Apple will simply call it “MacBook Pro” even though it will look more like an Air?

74 Comments

  1. Maybe the air will become the standard so that they will just be MacBook’s? Maybe they will still do a pro version with just generally increased specs. Or some combination. Until it happens it doesn’t really matter.

    1. If they remove the ODD from the current pros, switch to a blade style SSD, there will be SO MUCH ROOM for juicy components AND a bigger battery. That would be a significantly higher specced pro, and they could introduce a tapered 15″ air, and still have plenty of differences between them to not have self cannibalization occur.

  2. The 11 inch Air is amazing…love mine so far. It looks small in the Apple Store next to the other MacBooks but in the wild it’s enough laptop for the average person

    1. I hope you’re right. I personally can do without an internal optical drive, but as several people have pointed out, there are still some things unique to the MBP (HDD, Ethernet) that users depend on.

      1. You are right… but as I said, without optical drive, I think they are going to be a little bit thinner and will look like the Air models. Everything else will remain. They could include Bluetooth 4.0.

        But what I really wish is that Apple offer them with matt display by default and with USB 3.0.

        1. Yeah, I would be happy with USB 3.0 (given the external hard drive that I just bought runs on USB 3.0). I personally don’t care about the physical size of the thing just as long as it does what I need it to do, and I can carry it around in my backpack. That’s all I’m concerned about.

  3. Oh my gosh, why does Apple think that slicing storage space is a good thing? There’s a reason I got 750GB on my latest MBP – storage space is king! How many times do I have to shout it from the rooftops? I won’t miss the optical drive (and I can get an external one if I need it) but there are some things that you just can’t use an external hard drive for, and you need the internal storage, and being throttled by being forced to move to SSD is not a good thing.

    STORAGE SPACE IS KING!

    STORAGE SPACE IS KING!

    STORAGE SPACE IS KING!!!

    (Although I’m hoping that the MBP will still exist, even if it’s a smaller share of the Mac laptop user base, which it sounds like could be the case based on the content of the article)

      1. Storage space is necessary on a laptop computer, too. There are those of us who use our laptops as our main computer, and it’s not just the inconvenience of hooking up an external drive – I tried using iMovie once with the file I was working on saved to an external, and it froze the program. It was only when I moved the file back to the internal drive that the program worked again. Any hardware move that means fewer GB instead of more is a bad thing.

        1. sure storage space is necessary, but built in storage is generally enough for the majority of folks. If you need more you have options. External or an iMac/desktop.

          BTW: iMovie actually performs better when the media files are storednon a separate drive from the application.. It’s the same with Final Cut/Logic and all of Apple’s other pro apps. Google it to learn why.

          1. The majority, but not all. I still want the option to have the greater storage space. (And with all that’s going on in the world, why is it that every time the rumor comes up that they’re going to eliminate the HDD option on the MBP, there’s so much hatred towards those who want their internal storage space?)

            1. It’s called progress. Moving forward. Letting go of old ways, grasping the new. It’s technology. It changes at the blink of an eye. Learn to accept the new or quickly become antiquated. Adapt or die. 🙂

            2. Why is wanting storage space antiquated? The more you use technology, the more files you accumulate, and so your storage needs would increase, not decrease. Sure, there may be files that you don’t use on a regular basis that you just want to save for posterity, but the demand for the sheer number of gigabytes is only going to go up. So until SSDs can offer the same amount of gigabytes as HDDs do today, dropping the HDD is a bad idea. It’s not like when Apple dropped the floppy and CD-ROMs could hold 600MB compared to 1.4MB, this is a huge _downgrade_ in storage capacity. Bad move indeed!

            3. Dropping HDD would be a bad idea on a desktop machine, but not on a portable machine which is designed for mobility. iCloud, Back to my Mac, External drives, etc.. There are plenty of options for mass storage with a mobile machine.

            4. I still disagree. For those of us who use one computer and don’t want to switch back and forth, we still need the storage space, and it has to be internal. Especially when we work with large files (such as pro audio or video) and don’t necessarily have access to wi-fi. I’m sure iCloud can take over for things like iWork, but I wouldn’t want to depend on it for my Digital Performer files.

            5. Well, it’s looking like it’s not going to go down as you wish, so perhaps you should start thinking about the alternatives. Keep your old machine, buy an external drive (they are portable also,) or buy a new 17″ which are rumored to keep the HDD. Or perhaps your current machine will hold out until SSD capacity is sufficient for your needs. Good luck.

            6. @mikek
              Ok, go ahead and get a 10 gb MBA.
              After all, osx can fit in the 10gb space, zero need for additional space then right?

              Just can’t wait to walk into a meeting and flip open my MBA and have to plug in my ext HD. Then switch to the other ext HD cause I grabbed the wrong one from the bag, then ask if I can use their wifi so I can access the files I actually need…

              Granted you don’t need 8 tb of space on a laptop, but going smaller is not an option for many.

              When I’m at work and bring my MBP, I CAN’T connect to wifi (we don’t have wifi) and I can’t use Ethernet, Security at government facilities are not something you want to toy with…
              So using anything online is out of the question, tethering would work but it’s rare I bring the MBP to work. I do have a 750gb ext drive in the bag that I use, and the pro has a 250gb internal drive.
              And yes I wish it had a 500 drive… I take all my movies on the external drive instead on copy to the MBP to save space. A pain in the ass to watch a movie with a USB drive hooked up.
              Where I go fishing for a week, ZERO Internet… Wifi or cell service for that matter. And I never just go on vacation and leave any work at home. I do many side projects for people and work on them at night on the MBP. Having the actual drive space on the MBP is needed. Cloud based stuff is great, but when you are working on large files…. It’s NOT ideal.

              So go ahead and order your 10gb MBA, cause that’s ALL you need right?

            7. I’m with you on this. I don’t think Apple is going to get rid of the HDD until the large SSDs are affordable. I use my storage. Even with iCloud, I’d rather have my music on my HDD for when I travel. At > 200 GB for that alone, plus my 50 GB iPhoto library, I need at least 500 GB, preferably 750 GB.

              Yes, I have externals. Yes, I use them. No, I am not taking them on the road with me.

            8. FTB – Don’t be an idiot.. Lets some common sense. I never said anything about a 10GB MBP, I’m speaking of current 256 to 512 SSD drives.

              Yes, that is plenty of storage for the majority of folks with a portable machine.. If you need more, use an external drive, a desktop, iCloud, dropbox, or keep your current machine. nuff said..

      2. C’mon Man! Ultraportables are for people who want a light, tidy little package. MBP’s are for PRO level users who need to pack a punch.

        Suggesting that eliminating the ODD, AND reducing storage capacity so you now have to carry a bag full of accessories solves what problem and for who?

        It makes no sense. “Most folks” are not pro level and in reality could make due with an iPad. I’m a pro, I store large portfolios of video, and photo. Have an extensive reference library, and of course my music on my MBP. LARGE storage is a MUST for my needs.

        Stop thinking of the lowest common denominator, it isn’t what APple does, it isn’t the market for MBP’s.

        1. Eric, it’s really not that big of a deal. Storage is cheap, If you need lots of space, buy yourself a 2TB external to plug in when you’re home, and when yore on the road, you;ll have an extremely light and portable computer on the go. Best of both worlds.

          1. I still use all that storage when I’m on the road. I keep my iTunes library on an external drive. So it’s not as simple as just “plugging it in when I’m home.”

            1. But that does me no good if the hardware isn’t portable along with my MBP. And it especially does me no good if I still don’t have the _internal_ storage that I need when I’m out and about.

          2. You make no sense. It is not progress to go from 500+ GB drives to <200GB drives. It is not progress to go from one device to carry, to carrying two.

            I agree there is a market and a need for "ultraportables", however there is also a clearly defined need for a pro level laptop. And saying "buy a desktop" when a laptop used to fill the need isn't progress either. I do not want a dedicated space in my house for a desktop, that is so 90's. I work where I am comfortable, where I am. Not where the damn computer HAS to sit.

            You need to work on critical thinking skills pal.

            1. HDDs may be old tech, but until the new tech can deliver the same amount of storage capacity as the old, then the new tech still needs to mature before it’s ready to completely replace the old tech. CD-ROMs had matured before Apple was ready to do away with floppy drives entirely. SSDs have not matured yet.

            2. Look at the number of comments in favor of keeping the HDD vs. the comments against. I’d say it’s a significant percentage. Again, once SSD technology matures to where we can get the same amount of storage that we currently get with HDD (and possibly even without significantly increasing the price), then and only then will I support a full-scale move away from HDD. We have clearly not reached that point. The maximum amount of storage I can get on a MBP with SSD is 512GB, less than my current 750GB HDD, and I would have to pay over $1,000 more. Less storage is not progress, no matter what the tradeoffs are.

            3. It’s human nature to resist change, so people complaining means nothing. Apple knows this and aren’t afraid to make bold moves.

              And BTW: SSD is mature. We’ve been using for years in iPods, iPhones, iPads and MBA’s.

              512GB is enough storage for a MBP.

              The

            4. We’ve been using SSDs in our iPhones and iPods and iPads because those things only require small storage. I don’t use my iPhone to create content, I use my MBP for that. 512GB of storage in SSD costs over a thousand dollars more than 750GB in HDD. It may be useful and wonderful in consumer entertainment devices, but not in professional content creation devices, which is what the MBP is.

            5. And by the way it doesn’t matter if you support it or not, the benefits of SSD far outweigh the difference between 512GB and 750GB.

              Apple will likely keep the big bulky 17″ with a HDD around, but I’ve no doubt the flagship 15″ MBP will be moving to SSD. Just like the flagship iPod moved to SSD in the iPod Touch (even though it was much less storage capacity the the HDD full sized iPod.)

            6. Cutting the optical, and the standard HDD coupled with Apple’s large quantity purchases of SSD, they could make it happen.

              Over and out.. I’m done here. Cheers 🙂

      1. Thunderbolt drives are hardly economical or portable at this point – again, no matter how it gets spun for the advancement of technology, losing the option for an HDD inevitably means a loss of gigabytes of storage, and that is a _downgrade_. Not good.

      1. Still, enough of us do care about it that Apple should take notice. FTB, for example, his situation is completely different than mine, and yet he has a perfectly good justification for internal storage as well. And we’re just the vocal ones.

    1. I agree. The iMac is what the original Macintosh was: an integrated screen, drives and electronics unit with separate keyboard and mouse. Time to rechristine it “Macintosh”.

  4. I hope they continue marketing a laptop with an optical drive for at least five more years. I’m a high school teacher and I often show clips from films that aren’t available digitally and likely won’t be for several years. I move along with tech as quickly as I’m able, but I need a deeper video library than most. The MacBook Air and, more specifically, digital services like iTunes, Amazon Prime, etc. just don’t meet my needs. Yet.

  5. “effectively killing the Pro for the average consumer”,

    I would not say the MacBookPro is for the average consumer.
    MacBook was for the average consumer, now its’ the MacBookAir.

  6. Having been a perineal buyer of the 17 inch MB Pro for years I can’t imagine a 15 inch. There are just some things you need a 17 inch nb for. Using omnigraffle or photoshop on 17 inches can be tough but as much as I travel it’s my only choice. Don’t push me to windows!!!

  7. WHAT!? No ETHERNET port, have they gone mental in Cupertino ?

    As an IT profesional, this would be a very bad thing indeed, and would send me back to the dark ages of HP laptops and Windoze. No kiddin’

    Please don’t do this to me Apple! Is this the thanks you give for all my years of tireless evangelizing the Mac in the workplace ?
    I can’t do without the storage capactity (no SSD please) as other have mentioned already.
    And I CERTAINLY can’t do without fixed ETHERNET! Do you think all the companies I come have WiFi they let me access as an outside consultant ?! Besides WiFi simply does not have enough throughput. BAD IDEA!!!!!!

    1. There should be a $30 USB-ethernet dongle as an option, though of course USB2 at only 480 Mbps can’t support gigabit ethernet. Hopefully they’ll make a Thunderbolt-ethernet dongle soon.

  8. What if the MacBook Pro’s went down to two models, but instead of the 15″ and 17″ models… Apple then went to the 17″ and 21″ screens.

    The person who said that most professional users want the 17″ model, and I agree. I’m one of those holding out for a 17″ model but if I had the option for a 21″ model…then hell yes, I’d buy that one instead.

    Chris Powers

    1. We went through a period where every new laptop was a 17″. The traveling staff loved it for about 2 weeks, til they had to lug the monsters around for tradeshows.

      Since 95% of the time they’re sitting at their desks with external monitors and keyboards anyway, the next round of replacements we went other way, and got lightweight 12″ ones instead.

  9. This is a rumor. Why are people reacting like it is the gospel? Is it because it comes from “a docking solution” company, a key player. Still waiting for that Haptic feel of the new iPad screen? Rather than castigate Apple decision makers, why don’t we see what they come up with. My guess is that as there is a 13 inch MacBook Pro, and a 13 inch Air, so will there be a 15 inch of both and perhaps the end of the 13 inch MacBook Pro. If not, why don’t you bet on the world’s biggest and best company to come up with the right stuff, rather than a key player in docking solutions. Actually am I wrong or doesn’t the 24 inch Apple Monitor and Thunderbolt take care of this, without the docking solutions company?

    1. Thanks, Michael, for your level-headed response to calm us all down. It’s sorely needed, as you can see. 🙂

      Like I said, I don’t care if they come out with a new MacBook Air, and that makes the MBP a smaller share of the MacBook market. I just want the MBP to exist, and still have an internal storage option of at least 750GB. 🙂

  10. We will still a high-end Mac laptop. One that has a pro graphics card and the fastest processor possible. There are a lot of us who use our MBPs for CAD graphics and other intense apps.

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