Slimmer, Faster MacBook Pro ‘Airs’ Are In Development For 2012 Release [Rumor]

Slimmer, Faster MacBook Pro ‘Airs’ Are In Development For 2012 Release [Rumor]

It’s been three years since the last major design refresh of the MacBook Pro, and we’ve been hearing whispers for almost a year that the next major update would see Apple’s professional line of laptops take on some of the characteristics of the MacBook Air line: slimmer profiles, ubiquitous SSDs, no optical drives.

If those updates sound swell to you, good news. Inside sources say Apple’s already working on the skinnier MacBook Pro, and the new LCD displays have already been developed.

Of course, Apple just spec bumped the MacBook Pro line last week, so if history is anything to go by, we’re looking at June 2012 as a possible release target for the Air-ified Pros at best.

How do you feel about the idea of the MacBook Pro line losing their optical drives and (possibly) getting smaller (but faster) storage options? Let us know in the comments.

  • larrymadill

    Since buying my 13″ MBP this year I have used the optical drive exactly zero times. I’ve actually contemplated swapping it for an SSD but don’t really have an appetite to void the warranty and AppleCare. 

    I’m totally fine with no optical drives in new MBPs.

  • TABUZX2

    If they get rid of the optical drive, I think Apple might have to include the Macbook Air External Superdrive with it to appease the customers who rely on the disk drive, other than this however I’m very excited about the Air-ified Macbook Pros! Hopefully they’ll pair an OS Flash Storage with regular HDD based media storage. That’d be perfect.

  • FriarNurgle

    Ditto… well I did use it to rip some CDs, but I could have easily “acquired” a digital copy. 

    Love the 13″ size. Now if they could just squeeze some discrete video chips in there.

  • poppa1138

    in nearly two years I think I have used the optical drive in my Macbook about three times..

  • CQCQCQ

    I like having an optical drive in my MacBook. I take a lot of photographs, and back them up to optical media (DVD these days). That’s the one thing keeping me from going with a MacBook Air.

  • redrubicon07

    I got a brand new MacBook Pro about 2 months ago. Yanked my Optical Drive and replaced it with a SSD about 10 minutes later. Miss it? no. If I want to backup something or rip down something I have a external USB Powered DVD-R I bought for about $30. It’s not like you can walk around while it is spinning/burning anyway so being “tethered” to the desk while I am using my optical drive isn’t a problem. Of course I am still waiting for that first time I need it…

  • Chodu

    Leave the optical drives there, for those that want slimmer macbooks the air is always an option! And swapping the hdd’s for ssd’s is a good idea!

  • Matteo Risoldi

    Me too. And those few times I always forgot to leave the disc in for several weeks -> longer wake up time. For me, an optical drive pretty much amount to a dust port.

  • Snoop

    if they make the macbook pro like skinny, offer ssd only and take out the optical drive, what’s the point of seperating it from the macbook air line?

  • Icecld5000

    Kepp them,I like it just in case I go back overseas so I can watch haji bootleg movies

  • minimalist1969

    Pro users do need more flexibility than home users.    But
    reliance on optical media has been on the decline for years already so its not like they are proposing removing the USB ports.  Even as a power user I haven’t missed the optical drive on my 11” Air in the
    few months I’ve had it (and I don’t think I used the one on the Macbook Pro 13”
    I had for the previous 2 years but once). 
      And Apple doesn’t seem to care
    about their pro users as much as they used to. 
    If it’s good enough for 95% of the people who buy the machines and it will allow them to make
    the devices smaller and lighter then Apple will do it. 
      

  • Allan Cook

    Exactly.

  • John Neumann

    Same here. In the 5 years I have owned mine, I think I burned less than a dozen music CD’s and watched one DVD on it. 

  • David A Stephens

    I have a 17″ MacBook Pro with a 512GB SSB and it set, for me, the standard for storage. I needed a new office computer and got the 27″ iMac with 256GB SS and wish I could have gotten more.

    Shave a pound off and forego the optical drive; you can borrow one or it’s a $100 accessory and really, these days, at least half of the software comes from the web anyway. 

    Setting up a new MacBook with a SS drive is blinding fast. Using Migration Assistant, transferring 320GB from a normal HD MacBook Pro to the new one took less than 90 minutes, instead of the usual six to eight hours. 

    I’m all for it. Let’s go.

  • Chris

    I hope they don’t sacrifice GPU Power… ah well I’m going to get one of the MBP’s they have right now, the LAN-Port is most certainly going with the new airified MBPs, so I would look kinda dumb if I’m on a Windows LAN-Party …  and if I want the MBP as my only machine, I need the LAN Port…also Firewire, although that would be kinda obsolete for the average user with USB 3.0.

  • Jordan Clay

     1) an external hard drive can have a wireless backed up if you get a time machine or the like.   It would keep you backed up up to the nearest hour w/ time machine

    2) If your aren’t happy with that an external DVD drive can be had for $35.  I would make the switch.  You will notice MASSIVE performance gains going from a MacBook to Air

  • Jordan Clay

    I ripped a couple movies so I could watch them on my ATV.   But I can’t think of one single instance where I NEEDED the disk drive. 

  • Bob Allen

    Smaller hard drives, even if faster, would not be a good thing. For me, 320GB is minimum. I hope USB ports are not so close together multiple devices (USB wireless modem and thumb drive, for example) cannot be plugged in at the same time. I can forego the optical drive. Also ethernet port is still necessary in some places.

  • Mikael Fransson

    You might as well backup to an external hard drive. It’s faster, can hold much more and it is a s safe if not better. DVD’s are really crappy backup solutions.

  • hyndrew

    I sincerely would prefer an increase of the battery life over whatever slimmer profile or fastest storage…

  • Andreas Booher

    I’l like a 15″ without an optical drive and a 512GB SSD, all in a slimmer case.  Oh, and a 1080p or greater screen.

  • Andreas Booher

    screen size, graphic power, inputs

  • payam

    Please put the Ivy bridge processors in them. Get rid of the optical drive and make it easy for modification of the hardware such as adding extra RAM, replacing Hard drive, and ultra high resolution displays. 

  • Anonymousguest

    Ivy Bridge

  • Cultofmacguest22

    Ivy Bridge and a better graphics card

  • Robbie Goacher

    I can’t wait – I’d love to use the space that’s taken up by my MacBook Pro’s optical drive for more internal magic — better graphics is a must!

  • Mrpekostech

    I agree! optical drive is now a old thing, no one uses DVD’s its the USB flash drive era!

  • casfian

    Nobody using flash drives…that’s so 2000 so late (black eye pea)! Airdrop is in, iCloud is in.

  • GingerNinja

    I use it to rip my DVDs to iTunes format with Handbrake so I can watch them on my iPad and that’s it.  Even then, when I buy Blu-Ray movies, I generally get a Triple Play pack which includes the B-DVD, DVD and iTunes redeem code anyway.

    I want my next MacBook to be as light as possible so I’ll be replacing my Pro with either an Air or an Air Pro….

  • EpiRen

    Nobody uses airdrop and iCloud nowadays. That’s out. _______ is totally in!

  • Chris

    when building computers small, it’s harder to replace anything … it’s like the wish for an iPad with replacable ram

  • jasonbarone

    I would love longer battery life too, but I wouldn’t want to give up weight for battery life. Once you hold an Air, the Pro feels really heavy. I’m sure Apple will work it out though!

  • jasonbarone

    and better battery life! (yes I want it all)

  • RoundaboutNow

    Compared to what I used to have, my 13″ MBP is slim. Yes, the Air’s super slimness is nice, but I would much rather have a super 13″ (a real “Pro” version)… 

    With the 13″MBP form factor, Apple could put in a good size battery to support faster quad-core proc, a great graphics card, and a better screen. This would be a great notebook for heavy lifting in the field when necessary, but then when at the office/home, connect to a large monitor and thunderbolt peripherals, and it could be a great desktop.

  • jordangilland

    I got a refurbished 27″ iMac in August and I’m hoping for a laptop beginning next semester but I may wait. I want one of these new sexy machines!

  • Dickinso Adam

    its going to be a whole new product like cook said.  its going to be the macduo with 2 multitouch screens.  So it will be like 2 ipads put together, hinged for 360 opening so you can use it like a normal ipad as swell. the iPod touch will get refreshed and the camera will double as an optical sensor, so call it iMouse.  It’ll be powerful shit. 

  • JonathanRWegner

    The MBP line-up now seems out-of-step with the rest of the Apple product line and
    I’m surprised the optical drive survived as long as it did in the MBP line.
    As a frequent traveller, it was a frustrating choice but I opted for a 13″ MBA over an MBP, ditching power for ease of portability. I’ve been happy with the choice, but wished there was a professional end MB with the form of the MBA.
    Ditto on all the optical drive comments, once in the last 14 months.

  • Adem

    “acquired” :)

  • Bizarrefoodie

    I think you’ve been smoking some powerful shit!

  • Bizarrefoodie

    For half the price of today’s entry-level model!

  • CharliK

    Many Pro users have still been using the optical drive. 

    That said, with the dropping off of iDisk in this years iLife suite on the App store I think it is a no duh that the old style Pro and the optical drive are on the way out. I suspect that 2012 will be the last year for the old style Pro, alongside a new 15 inch Air. And then in 2013 the 15 inch Pro will go bye bye and the Air will be it. the 17 inch workhorse may stick around for another year or two after that and be the only Mac Book Pro in the line up. But by 2015 it will likely be out the door as well. 

    Along side this I think we’ll see a change in the way that iTunes presents movies with actual 1080p HD (though at perhaps half the bit rate), tv shows coming up right away etc so the lack of a drive won’t be as huge of a deal. 

  • Michael Gizzi

    Since my mbp 13″ model is the only machine I use, I would not be thrilled with a smaller hard drive.  I can live without the optical drive.   Lighter is always a good thing, bu the mbp is a work horse, and I’d hate to see it dumbed down in the quest to make it lighter.

  • Sean Peters

    Except, you know, anyone who works with the Defense Department… where USB flash drives are banned.

    Totally getting rid of optical drives would be a serious mistake.

  • Sean Peters

    I totally agree. We already have the Macbook Air… why turn the MBP into another version of the MBA?

  • MBoc

    It would be nice to see a thinner line of MacBook Pro’s, but getting rid of the optical drive would be a big mistake.  If I’m spending $1500+ on a MacBook Pro I better be able to put a CD into it.  Without an optical drive there would hardly be any difference between the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.  The MacBook Pro is a powerhouse it should be able to do the same things as a desktop. Solid-state drives are definitely the way to go, but I wouldn’t want to see them smaller than 256GB

    What I’d really like to see is 4G LTE in the new MacBook Pro line so we can have broadband access everywhere we go!

  • Fuckoff

    I Cloud a fad that wont last a couple of years, leave the optical drive also.

  • Fuckoff

    Why not steep out in to the real world, I see CDs, DVDs, and USBs being used everyday.

  • Nicchristie

    Uhm.. I’m pretty sure I’ll need an optical drive to burn DVDs for clients. But I guess if I can carry around an external hard drive I might be able to carry around a portable blu-ray burner.

  • bumdart

    anybody really thinks an optical drive is still necessary isn’t looking ahead / can’t see currently how it truly has become dated. I would bet everything I own mac that in 5 years all mac products will be sporting streamline “air” features with 0 bulk and a strong push for SSD as a standard. It wouldn’t surprise me if the “pro” line up was thrown out all together to make way for the the “air pros!”

  • Newmac

    I’ll change my current computer when it eliminates all mechanical devices such as hard disk and DVD player. I no longer use at all the DVD player. I do not want to carry it to all sides.
    :)

  • Joe Mama

    You seriously use your optical drive a lot on the road? Seriously?

  • Joe Mama

    Haha you think Apple is investing billions in a fad? Prepare to be shocked. It’s only getting started.

  • Joe Mama

    Haha you think Apple is investing billions in a fad? Prepare to be shocked. It’s only getting started.

  • Joe Mama

    Sounds like somebody needs an airport express! :-)

  • :(

    Why is everyone so anti-optical drives? They are really useful, what if you have nearly one thousand cds, and want to put them onto itunes? You use an optical drive. Removing the optical drive would make the macbook pro a little less ‘pro.’

  • Naturallyjazzy

    not to mention, people who have small business (i.e. photography businesses) and need to give clients CDs. i mean, i cant be buying a USB for each client, nor can i expect them to provide their own USB because i “cant burn a cd for them” . its ridiculous. they need to keep the optical drive.

  • BeatAroundTheBush

    They should take out the optical drive but leave it the same size so it could be beastly powerful!

  • MBoc

    You never know when you’ll need to burn a cd or if you want to watch a movie or something.  I’m just saying for the price of a MBP it better be there when I need it.

  • PetrJ

    They should have done that a year ago! It’s embarrassing that the Air is more powerful than the Pro machine, with the SSD, and a higher screen resolution. Optical drive is of course not needed. One thing I’d welcome is dual drive – a built-in SSD plus a 2.5″ bay for a large spinning disk (which can also serve as an internal Time Machine backup disk for the SSD).

  • Paul Crishtal

    Sorry but that’s a retrospective thinking. Do you carry one thousand CDs with you!? The matter is it’s pretty easy to have an external burner at home and the key is to carry far less weight in a much more mobile form. I have MBP 17 early 2009 model. Although I’m a huge music fan I have used the MBP drive about 5 times maybe… in 3 years time! 
    And yes, I’m also a photographer and musician who uses MBP to its full potential. Yet NO DRIVE in the next gen MBP please!

  • Be_Tricky

    I’m waiting for the new Macbook Pro to update my notebook.
    I’ve played with the Air, it’s a nice thing. Too bad the screensize is limited and the memory is a bit small. Now I can only hope that the Pro’s are being updated, and all old hardware is removed. Fill them with a SSD, get the DVD out of them and let’s build in at least one USB 3.0 port. So the user can buy a external disc with sufficent speed and an external DVD for those who still need it (at a fair price).
    Less moving parts gives some extra life to the battery and less weight. Isn’t that a perfect match???

  • lucasmartin079

    And that will never happen, why would apple jeprodize their air sales? It is just a stupid theory

  • Oliver Chapman

    Same here – although a lot of my clients are still using DVD’s. It’s all very well in the technical world that things are coming along in leaps and bounds – infact, that’s a good thing – but at the end of the day, you have to appreciate that it takes the rest of the world longer to catch up. 

    But I can still see a lot of clients still preferring DVD’s well into the next decade until SD Cards take over – we’re starting to see a lot of card readers in modern DVD players and in modern TV’s now – other than that clients prefer the internet, and I prefer MPEG4 to MPEG2 – H.264 looks better on the latter. 

  • rahul agarwal

    Using MBP from the last 4 years and not even once I used optical drive on it. Waiting for Apple to refresh this line with no optical drive, then to make an upgrade to latest powerhouse.

  • Nana Yaw Tsp Osei-Lah

    I don’t mind losing the optical drives, as I barely use them. However I would buy an external optical drive and keep it at home, so I can connect it whenever (if ever) I need it. Besides, since all the brands are gradually not putting optical drives in their computers, they will eventually die out anyway, just like floppy drives.

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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