Apple's next MacBook Pro: 4 rumors

Speculation about the company's line of performance notebooks suggests that a razor-sharp Retina display and remarkably thinner chassis are imminent.

By TheWeek.com May 15, 2012 5:24PM

If you're thinking about buying a new Mac, you might want to hold off. Apple (AAPL) is reportedly giving its MacBook Pro line of performance notebooks the most drastic makeover it has had in years, according to sources cited on two prominent Apple blogs. The Cupertino-based company will supposedly unveil the new hardware at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), set to take place June 11-15.

But at least one analyst says the new laptops may be unveiled even sooner. "I don't see them waiting for WWDC," Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, tells Computerworld. "As soon as they have enough supply built up, they'll release them."

What kind of spec enhancements should we expect? Here, four rumored features that might be worth your patience.

1. A Retina display

First it appeared on the iPhone 4. Then it showed up on the latest iPad. Now, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro will reportedly be the first Apple computer to feature an ultra-high-definition Retina display, which crams pixels together so tightly that they're invisible to the naked eye, says 9to5 Mac. Sources call it "jaw-dropping" and "definitely the most important Mac innovation in years." Users will also be able to adjust their screen's sharpness to their liking, by selecting simple descriptors, such as "big, small, or optimal," instead of fumbling with resolution sizes.

2. A svelte new body

In addition to an eye-popping display, the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro may have a new "ultra-thin" profile: Rather than adopting the tapered design popular in Apple's MacBook Air line, the Pro refresh will instead be a flattened version of the current model, says Laptop Mag, as if "the chassis was passed under a baker's roller." According to 9to5 Mac, this design choice "serves as an apparent solution to Apple's hinge troubles" that caused the company to cancel the 15-inch MacBook Air.

3. No more optical drive

To accommodate the rumored slimmer profile, the company is expected to get rid of the notebook's bulky optical drive (meaning no more CDs or DVDs). The change is likely intended to "help accelerate the shift toward digital software distribution," says Information Week, pushing consumers to the Mac App Store when they need to install new programs. Remember: More downloads "means more software sales fees for Apple." This shouldn't pose too much of a problem for most users, says Laptop Mag. The App Store already offers "massive programs file-size-wise, like Final Cut Pro X and Aperture." Laptop owners insistent on an optical drive can still purchase an external model that connects via USB.

4. Intel's Ivy Bridge processor

Also expect beefier processors. Geekbench, a hardware-performance-testing database, posted new benchmark findings of what looks to be the new MacBook Pro, says MacRumors. The notebook is listed as carrying Intel's (INTC) highly coveted Ivy Bridge quad-core processor, meaning faster, more powerful machines are imminent. Benchmark data has "shown up in Geekbench's database prior to new hardware launches from Apple in the past," so a drastic MacBook Pro refresh could very well be just around the corner.


Sources: Computerworld, 9to5 Mac, Laptop Mag, Information Week, MacRumors


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