Apple Could Ship Air-Like MacBook Pros Starting This Spring [Report]


Apple's next-generation of MacBook Pros are expected to be thinner and lighter just like the MacBook Air.
Apple's next-generation of MacBook Pros are expected to be thinner and lighter just like the MacBook Air.

Ever since the redesigned MacBook Air first debuted back in late 2010, the rumor mill has strongly indicated that Apple would redesign its MacBook Pro line of laptops to suit, ditching their bulkier chassises, optical drives and slow, spinning hard drives for Air-like slimness and ubiquitous SSDs. But when is it actually going to happen?

It looks like it might finally happen in 2012, with a report now claiming that Apple “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 [as the] MacBook Air.”

In an extremely vaguely sourced report rife with open speculation, AppleInsider says that new MacBook Pros in 2012 will feature “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.”

Like the current MacBook Pros, these newer, Air-like Pros will come in 15-inch and 17-inch varieties. AppleInsider says that they will be built around Intel’s forthcoming Ivy Bridge architecture, rely heavily on Thunderbolt and could start shipping as early as late April or early May.

Nothing in this report stands out to us as implausible. In fact, it all seems like a pretty safe bet. It’s been three years since the MacBook Pro lineup has seen a major overhaul, and at this point, it’s pretty clear that a lot of the technology of the Pro line-up is behind-the-times: mainly, the use of HDDs and optical drives instead of SSDs and Thunderbolt.

My guess is that in the new MacBook Pros, we’ll see the total abandoning of optical drives, but HDDs will still stick around. The new MacBook Pros will boot off of smaller SSD drives, but feature secondary backup spinning hard drives for storing media. Slim the overall design down, add Thunderbolt and (wishfully) a Retina Quality HiDPI display panel and you’ve got a laptop that handily beats any other pro-level notebook on the market.