Apple’s all-new 15-inch MacBook Pro to feature ‘jaw-dropping’ Retina display, ultra-thin design, USB 3, no optical drive, sources say

“Apple is putting the finishing touches on an entirely new 15-inch MacBook Pro that is the outcome of years of research and development in ultra-thin mobile computing and super-high-resolution displays,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac.

“According to trusted sources in Apple’s supply chain, who have handled prototype components and casings for the new Apple notebook, the computer is currently undergoing test production rounds,” Gurman reports. “The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is coming this summer, and it features an ultra-thin design, a ‘jaw-dropping’ Retina Display, and super-fast USB 3.”

Gurman reports, “As the MacBook Air pioneered, and the latest Mac mini models have followed, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro loses the optical drive in order to reach Apple’s new standard for notebook thinness.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jax44” for the heads up.]

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  1. Okay, I don’t know what’s going on here, but as I’ve said before, does the MacBook Pro user actually care about thinness? If they want to lose the optical drive, I can live with that, but I would rather they keep the physical real estate in the computer and bulk it up with more internal storage, RAM, or other hardware features than just doing thin for thin’s sake. If I want a thin computer, I’ll get a MacBook Air, but I’m not getting that – I want an MBP.

    1. @Eric

      Th components you cite are getting smaller and smaller all the time (just look at how bulky laptops were 15 years ago) but the optical drive limits the physical dimensions. Eliminate that and you can pack a whole lot more AND make it thinner to boot. A win all round in my book.


      1. RAM, maybe, but there were rumors flying about that they were going to ditch the hard drive option for SSDs only, just like in the MB Air. Now, maybe I’ll be proved wrong, but from what I can tell, that means a decrease in internal storage space, and it also means an increase in cost from the current model, both of which are losses. And I’ve been flamed for pointing that out, saying that the performance gains make up for that, but my experience is that storage space is king, so to lose storage space isn’t worth it, especially if you could have retained that storage space and kept the physical size the same.

          1. Well then that sounds perfectly fine. I would be happy if my next MBP had a 1TB hard drive (I currently have 750GB, so it’s a reasonable upgrade), and if it’s possible to go up to 24TB, then that’s a huge bonus! 😀

      1. I can appreciate that, and believe me, with my MacBook Pro, I think sometimes my wife wonders if I’m not screwing up my back by carrying something so big. But on the other hand, again, if you want ultralight, there’s the MacBook Air. I accept that you’re not going to get MacBook Pro performance and specs into a MacBook Air. But let me make that choice for myself whether I want the specs or if I want the size. If you can give me both, that’s fine, but I think the whole point of having two different lines was to have the choice between the two, whereas I’m concerned now that choice is going to be made for me.

    2. I agree with you too Eric. I think there is a mindset about laptop’s having to be portable and certainly portable is desirable but not with sacrificing performance and/or scalability for those of us doing serious computing (sorry Facebook fanatics). My 15″ is what, 5 lb’s, but I wouldn’t mind if it weighed 8 or 9 lb’s if had quad processors and two HD bays and definitely a few more usb ports and the list goes on. The problem here is the market is hell bent on light-weight, thinness and the rest of us who don’t really care about form over function wont have much influence in the end.

  2. Some of us still need the optical drive. I wish I didn’t, but I do, at least for now.

    I know I can carry along an external unit, but I don’t need the extra hassle.

    Luckily my current MBP is less than a year old; perhaps by the time I do upgrade I will no longer need an optical drive.

  3. Eliminating the optical drive is definitely the way to go. There will be some people who still use DVDs but for the most part 95% of users haven’t used their optical drive in years. I know I have not.
    Removing the drive allows for thinner designs and more space for battery. My current MBP’s biggest weakness is battery life. I run parallels all the time and generally can only get 2h max without external power.
    Optical drives are also prone to failure. All my macs at home have failed optical drives. Both the laptops have have them replaced under warranty. After the warranty ended the drives failed again. I ended up getting a USB external drive from Apple for my Mac Mini and it works well.
    For those who still use DVDs they will either start moving to other media or get the external drive. My bet is that very quickly the majority will find they no longer need a DVD drive.

    Typically I buy the previous generation MBPs. This time I’m going to go for the new version. The improvements in size, weight, battery life, display, and connections warrant the additional $300 expenditure over the older version.

    Bring it on.

  4. The other day, my iMac started making very alarming noises. I was worried that it would need replacement before new ones came out, so I listened carefully to each part of the unit to see where the noise was coming from. Then I realized it was the normal sound of the optical drive working. I hadn’t used it in over a year, and I didn’t really need to this time, either! If my next Mac lacks an optical drive, I might notice it in a year or two.

    1. Ha! Same here… I went to burn a CD the other day and it reminded me of the 90s. It even kept spitting them out saying it couldn’t burn it.

      Dug up a thumb drive… Worked like a charm.

    1. When I got my clamshell iBook in 2000, I got an external floppy drive for it, and I used it, but I didn’t notice any problems from the fact that it was external and not internal. (Then again, I really only used it to install some legacy software which, by the time I got my PowerBook G4 and was on OS X, was outdated anyway)

  5. As long as you can use an external optical drive, and Apple use small form factor, hybrid HDD’s with clever management to put frequently accessed data on the flash side, then a smaller form factor would be good.

    As a side note, every time I see ultrabook adverts with “inspired by Intel”, I get very tempted to amend it to “Inspired by Apple MacBook Air!”

  6. I don’t mind losing the optical drive but there must be room for two hard drives. I pulled the optical drive out of my MacBook Pro and replaced it with a hard drive. I have an SSD with the operating system, applications and documents.

    Pro users need speed and copious amounts of storage. The SSD/HD combination is the best of both worlds and doesn’t break the bank.

    1. There was talk on here the other day about new MbPro’s using a SSD for the OS, in place of the optical, and a regular HDD for other storage, so it all makes perfect sense. I bought a MacMini last year, when the new model was introduced, only mine was one of the last of the old model that the dealer had in stock, and I had them take out the optical and put in a 750Gb HDD, so it now has 1.1Tb, and an external drive for ripping CD’s.

      1. Well, that’s just a pretty dumb move entirely. After all, Mac OS offers a much more quality operating system for creative pro users than Windows, for which that onboard storage that you’re so quick to dismiss is a necessity, and then to leave pro users without that workable solution of marrying both a workable OS with workable hardware is just to mothball the creative market entirely. Certainly Apple wouldn’t be that stupid as to cut out that market segment when they’re really the only ones servicing them at all anymore.

  7. I’ve not used the optical drive in my MBP for a long time. Far more concerned with the reports that the Ethernet port might be dropped. Don’t do it Apple. Not on a “pro” model.

  8. I have a friend who got a new Mbp with SSd.
    He says the thing just flies compared to one with a regular hard drive.
    These advances are changing computing and apple seem to be leading the charge.

    1. Yeah, but how big is his SSD? That seems to be the thing that SSD zealots are missing is that, as Tank said, pro users need a copious amount of storage space. So to just say that SSD is leading the change is to ignore the notion of storage requirements going up, not down.

      1. His is 250GB which is good for average use. I agree that it won’t be sufficient for those who produce large files.
        He could have got a large drive but the price was too much. However as we know the price will drop quickly soon. 1 TB may cost the same as the 250GB in one years time.
        The one question I have is how easy will it be to upgrade an SSD? It would be uber cool to have 2 slots, one for the stock drive that Apple provides that contains the OS etc and an empty slot for a second drive. Knowing Apple that could be unlikely since they would prefer you upgrade the whole machine.
        Another possibility is that Apple will simply control the component supply like it does with Flash memory for the iPhone and iPad. They could end up increasing SSD size to price everyone out of the market.
        This is still in the early phase but SSD are the future and I’m looking for Apple to do something exciting with the MBP.

        1. Yeah, that’s the kicker, is SSDs are too small (and too expensive even at their largest sizes) to meet the pro user’s needs, which is why we’re not ready to drop the HDD yet. But I like the idea of having an SSD for the most used programs (like, say, the OS) and an HDD for other programs that you use.

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