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Apple Finishing Up Work on an Ultra-Thin 15" Mac Notebook [Updated]

Apple is working on a 15" ultra-thin Mac notebook, MacRumors has learned. We aren't certain if it will be called a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, but we do know that it is already in late testing stages at Apple.

Apple's notebook lineup has received a significant revamp over the past two years, and the introduction of the MacBook Air seems to have finally edged out the low-end MacBook design. While originally priced as a premium product, the Air seems to have found a more mainstream market as its starting price dropped to only $999.


MacBook Air

Many now expect that Apple's design choices in the Air will eventually make their way to the MacBook Pro product, with the use of integrated SSD and lack of optical drive being the most notable changes allowing for such a thin design. While we don't know for a fact, we expect that any future "ultra thin" laptop from Apple will also dispense with a built-in optical drive. As evidenced by its recent release of the optical drive-less Mac mini, Apple has no problem leaving physical media behind.

The ultra-thin market is also about to get much more competitive this fall as Intel's partners begin launching their Ultrabook notebooks.

The timing of an ultra-thin 15" Apple notebook remains a mystery to us as Apple just revamped the MacBook Air with new 11" and 13" models. Meanwhile the MacBook Pro line was refreshed in February, likely pushing the next release out to at least very late in the year.

Update: TUAW corroborates our claim and also adds that they believe that this new notebook will fall under the "MacBook Pro" branding alongside a thin 17" model. Also, they believe it might be available in time for Christmas.

Related roundup: MacBook Air

Top Rated Comments

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41 months ago
a macbook pro isn't a computer that ought to miss an optical drive. Apple is on an artificial crusade to get rid of optical drives because it will push more people to buy programs and software via itunes and the app store.

this isn't gentle nudging and giving consumers decisions, it is literally telling consumers what to do.

makes me think about windows 8 and what the more consumer friendly windows market and hardware looks like.
Rating: 46 Votes
41 months ago
I woud never buy a laptop without an optical drive, i don't feel we are at the point where they should be totally phased out. I wouldent want to buy an external optical drive either. I realize I can use another computers drive but much of a hassle especially if I'm out it traveling. That is why I like the fact that they now give you the option with the MacBook air and just the standard MacBook and MacBook pros. And from what I know many students buy the lower end MacBooks and MacBook pros, and I'm telling you it would be a major deciding factor.
Rating: 30 Votes
41 months ago
meh thinness is just another excuse to remove specs and make more money (new ipod nano *cough cough*)
Rating: 26 Votes
41 months ago
The key thing is processing power. If they cut the power to be lower heat then it won't be as compelling as the current MBP 15. But if they are merely getting rid of the optical drive and keeping the processor fully powered... that would be awesome.
Rating: 24 Votes
41 months ago

I hope they offer a good enough dedicated graphic card


Getting rid of the optical drive will certainly allows this, IMHO
Rating: 23 Votes
41 months ago

nobody uses optical drives anymore.


source?
Rating: 20 Votes
41 months ago

a macbook pro isn't a computer that ought to miss an optical drive. Apple is on an artificial crusade to get rid of optical drives because it will push more people to buy programs and software via itunes and the app store.

this isn't gentle nudging and giving consumers decisions, it is literally telling consumers what to do.

makes me think about windows 8 and what the more consumer friendly windows market and hardware looks like.


You are so right...

If only there were external accessories you could plugin that would give you full and complete access to a CD drive for the few times you needed it...And it would have made Apple far less dictatorial if they offered one of these as an add-on while you were buying a product.

And you know what would be really sweet? If Apple spent money and time developing a technology that allowed your laptop to piggyback off the Drive in another computer in your vicinity...

If only all these things were true, then Apple wouldn't be the dictatorship they are.
Rating: 20 Votes
41 months ago
I hope they offer a good enough dedicated graphic card
Rating: 20 Votes
41 months ago

I woud never buy a laptop without an optical drive, i don't feel we are at the point where they should be totally phased out. I wouldent want to buy an external optical drive either. I realize I can use another computers drive but much of a hassle especially if I'm out it traveling. That is why I like the fact that they now give you the option with the MacBook air and just the standard MacBook and MacBook pros. And from what I know many students buy the lower end MacBooks and MacBook pros, and I'm telling you it would be a major deciding factor.


What does anyone need an optical drive in 2011 for? USB sticks FTW!
Rating: 18 Votes
41 months ago
In the end all MBP will have the MBA form factor. Meaning no optical drive and tear-drop shape. They will all have integrated SSD.
Rating: 18 Votes

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