More Claims of MacBook Pro Adopting MacBook Air Form Factor in 2012 Redesign
In two reports back in April and July of last year, we reported that Apple was working on an ultra-thin 15-inch Mac notebook, with the suggestion being that the existing MacBook Pro line would evolve to take design cues and many of the features from the popular MacBook Air. But whether the larger notebooks would be branded as MacBook Pros or MacBook Airs has been unclear.
Many had hoped that the redesigned 15-inch notebook would debut by the end of 2011, but Apple apparently elected to squeeze in one final minor spec bump as it waited for Intel's Ivy Bridge platform to launch in 2012. Reports late last year continued to suggest that Apple was finishing up work on the redesigned 15-inch MacBook Pro ahead of a 2012 debut.
AppleInsider now weighs in with its own claims essentially mirroring much of what was previously reported, but emphasizing that the shift will likely see a unification of Apple's notebook lines under the MacBook Air design aesthetic, covering the full range of 11-inch to 17-inch sizes by the end of this year.
This will include 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.
"They're all going to look like MacBook Airs," one person familiar with the new MacBook Pro designs told AppleInsider. Meanwhile, existing MacBook Pro designs are expected to be phased out over the course of the year.
The report suggests that Apple may not shift the entire MacBook Pro line at once, instead beginning with the 15-inch model and then following with the 17-inch model "shortly thereafter". Apple followed a similar pattern with its transition to the present unibody design back in late 2008 and early 2009.
Mockup of MacBook Air design spanning full range of Apple notebook sizes
The fate of the 13-inch MacBook Pro remains murky, and may depend on just how closely the new MacBook Pro designs mirror the smaller MacBook Air and whether Apple brings the whole notebook line under a single name. With the MacBook Pro redesign and a boost to the 13-inch MacBook Air, there may simply not be enough differentiating the two 13-inch machines and Apple may opt to consolidate its notebooks down to essentially a single line in four different sizes.