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.

macbook air four sizes mockup
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.

Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

ChoMomma Avatar
127 months ago
The 17" MBP 'Air' will be considered a lethal weapon and could be used to chop down trees in a pinch.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macuserx86 Avatar
127 months ago
At that point, Apple should get rid of the "Pro" moniker since such a thin machine will most likely require sacrifices in power and expandability that will make it useless to anyone who has a compute-intensive workflow.

Even if Apple could fit a proper mobile GPU and sufficiently powerful CPU, the constraints of such a thin design will mean either clocking them down to a useless extent or having a laptop underside that routinely hits over 70ºC.

In addition, it would follow that Apple would adopt a MBA style of SSD. If that happens, the great ability to fill the MBP with 2.5" drives (or even just the ability to easily upgrade/replace one 2.5" drive) will be gone and the product will be virtually useless.

Now, before everyone goes "flame on" on my post, remember that I'm just speculating and assuming the worst. Thunderbolt has the potential to make a MBAir-style laptop useful, but the lack of available/affordable thunderbolt accessories is worrying and constantly having to carry external TB accessories just to recoup lost functionality is horribly backwards.

However, if Apple thinned down slightly, removed the optical bay and migrated to a (normal 2.5 "SATA) SSD+HDD setup then I'd call that progress. I mean, who uses optical drives anymore?
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cube Avatar
127 months ago
That is not an MBP.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nielsenius Avatar
127 months ago
Unless there's a major technological breakthrough with these new Ivy Bridge chips, I don't know how anyone expects an Air-like MacBook Pro to run at the same "Pro" level. There would seem to be a number of battery life and heat issues that need to be addressed.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
damir00 Avatar
127 months ago
Very curious to see how much GPU and CPU performance they'll be able to keep in a 15". Quite the design challenge...!
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WestonHarvey1 Avatar
127 months ago
I hope the new MacBook Pros still have DVD drives. I know people will say "but waahhhh I never use mine!" Well, what about the plenty of people who's laptops are their portable DVD players?

I'm sure the MacBook Pros won't merge with the MacBook Airs as the Pros aren't designed to be thin, so the same sacrifices won't be made with the Pros as is made with the Airs. For example, MacBook Pro hard drives will still be min 500GB.

Laptop as a portable DVD player? Ugh!

How do you carry all your DVDs around? Do you have one of those folders that zips open with all the little plastic folders inside?
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
airtag in hand

Apple Enhancing AirTags Anti-Stalking Measures With Android App and Shorter Sound Intervals

Thursday June 3, 2021 11:10 am PDT by
Apple is enhancing AirTags security to prevent stalking using the Bluetooth devices, Apple told CNET today. Apple is already sending out over-the-air updates to AirTags that will shorten the amount of time before an unknown AirTag alerts you if it is in your possession. At the current time, AirTags play a sound after three days of being away from their owner. After the update, AirTags will...
maxresdefault

Here's How Apple's New iPhone to iPhone Data Migration Feature Works in iOS 12.4

Tuesday July 23, 2019 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple this week released iOS 12.4, the newest version of iOS 12 available for iPhones and iPads. One of the new features in iOS 12.4 is an updated data migration option that uses device to device transfers rather than relying on iCloud. Apple didn't provide much information on the new data migration feature, so we thought we'd check it out in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the ...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
macos catalina legacy system extension alert

Apple Begins Warning Users That 'Legacy System Extensions' Won't Work With a Future Version of macOS

Wednesday March 25, 2020 9:53 am PDT by
Apple has shared a new support document that indicates kernel extensions — which it calls "legacy system extensions" — will not be compatible with a future version of macOS because they "aren't as secure or reliable as modern alternatives."System extensions are a category of software that works in the background to extend the functionality of your Mac. Some apps install kernel extensions, which...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
airtag precision finding

AirTag Includes U1 Chip for 'Precision Finding' Feature

Tuesday April 20, 2021 12:11 pm PDT by
Apple's long-awaited AirTag was finally unveiled today, and as expected, the small circle-shaped accessories can be attached to items like wallets, keys, and more to allow them to be tracked in the Find My app. As was rumored ahead of release, each AirTag is equipped with a U1 chip, and on devices that also have U1 chips, there's a Precision Finding feature. U1 Ultra Wideband chips are...
iOS 15 General Feature Yellow

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 6: SharePlay Disabled, Safari Redesigned and More

Tuesday August 17, 2021 2:12 pm PDT by
Apple released the sixth beta of iOS 15 just a week after the fifth beta, but the new update brings some of the most significant tweaks that we've seen to iOS 15 during the beta testing period. Safari Redesign Apple in iOS 15 beta 6 has added a toggle to move the Safari address bar to the top of the interface, which returns Safari to an iOS 14-like design and mitigates all of the Safari...
m1 macbook air

Kuo: Mini-LED MacBook Air Coming in Mid-2022

Thursday July 22, 2021 7:48 pm PDT by
Apple will release a new version of the MacBook Air around the middle of 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in note to investors seen by MacRumors. The upcoming MacBook Air will feature a 13.3-inch mini-LED display, which would make it the second Mac to gain mini-LED technology after the 2021 MacBook Pro, which is rumored to include a mini-LED display and is expected to launch later ...
2016 macbook pro flexgate b

Apple Faces Another Class-Action MacBook Pro ‘Flexgate’ Lawsuit

Thursday August 20, 2020 6:43 am PDT by
Another class-action complaint has been lodged against Apple, which claims that the company was aware of a MacBook Pro design flaw that caused some devices to have backlight display issues (via Apple Insider). The so-called "flexgate" problem was present in some MacBook Pro models manufactured between 2016 and 2017. The problem appears as dark patches along the bottom of the MacBook Pro's...