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.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
114 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)
Avatar
114 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)
Avatar
114 months ago
That is not an MBP.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
114 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)
Avatar
114 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)
Avatar
114 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)

Top Stories

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

iPhone 12 Pro Allows You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly Using LiDAR Scanner

Saturday October 24, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality experiences, but the sensor also enables another unique feature: the ability to measure a person's height instantly using the Measure app. You can even measure the seated height of a person in a chair, according to Apple. When the Measure app detects a person in the viewfinder, it automatically measures their...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Distributing New Heated Display Removal Machine for iPhone 12 Repairs

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:20 pm PDT by
Apple is providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with a new heated display removal fixture for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro repairs, according to information obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source. To open iPhone 12 models, technicians will be required to slide the device into a specialized tray, and then place the tray into the high-temperature fixture for two...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...

MagSafe Charger Teardown Reveals Simple Design With Magnets and Charging Coil Encircling a Small Circuit Board

Friday October 23, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
iFixit has today shared a teardown of Apple's new MagSafe charger for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. An X-ray of the MagSafe charger courtesy of Creative Electron reveals the internal charging coil surrounded by a circular arrangement of magnets within the puck. The only seam that iFixit was able to leverage to open the device was where the white rubber circle meets the metal rim,...

PSA: Non-iPhone 12 Models Charge Super Slowly With MagSafe Charger

Friday October 23, 2020 4:11 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a new $39 MagSafe Charger that's meant to work with the magnets in the iPhone 12 Pro models to charge them up at a maximum of 15W. The MagSafe Charger is technically able to be used with older iPhones, but it's not a good idea because the charging with non-iPhone 12 devices is so slow. We did two tests with the iPhone XS Max, draining the...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...