If the rumors pan out, Apple’s next MacBook Pro line will set the notebook world ablaze with a thinner chassis, USB 3.0 and a 15-inch high-resolution, so-called retina display. Of course it would pack the latest Intel silicon with rumors and logic pointing to an Ivy Bridge chipset. Sounding a different from the long-rumored 15-inch MacBook Air, this model, if it really exists, seems appropriately equipped with impressive hardware to retain the Pro designation and lead Apple’s charge against the onslaught of so-called Ultrabooks.
The current MacBook Pro has undergone very little cosmetic change since its introduction in 2006. And for good reason, too. It’s a good-looking machine and try as they might, other notebook manufacturers have yet been able to replicate its sex appeal. In fact, according to 9to5mac’s report, the next version would not be drastically different either. Reportedly, the next model will incorporate many familiar design cues albeit in a thinner chassis. The most notable changes seem to be the elimination of an optical drive and the power button moved to the top right of the keyboard.
Intel is in the early stages of rolling out its next generation of mobile chips, which Apple will likely use for the next version of the MacBook Pro. Codenamed Ivy Bridge, these chips boost improved performance, better battery performance, and come with native support for both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connectivity. Interestingly enough, 9to5mac states that the next MBP will use several of both interconnects although in the past Apple has seemingly ignored USB 3.0, instead championing Thunderbolt’s faster speeds and multi-protocol support. Still, USB 3.0 offers dramatically faster speeds than USB 2.0 and it’s completely backwards compatible to the older spec.
While a thinner chassis and improved computing performance are impressive enough, the next MBP is rumored to launch with a so-called retina display. 9to5mac doesn’t detail the screen’s resolution, but in order to fall into Apple’s own definition of a retina display — that is, a display that boost the maximum amount of detail the human eye can perceive at a somewhat arbitrary distance — the resolution would have to be insane by today’s standard. For example it would have to exceed (possibly by a factor of two) the new iPad’s 9.7-inch screen with a resolution of 2048 x 1536.
Today’s rumor peg the new model with a summer release. Best Buy is already slashing prices on its MacBook Pro inventory, somewhat signalling that new models are incoming. Pricing would likely be inline with current models although it wouldn’t be surprising to see the retina display positioned as a premium upgrade with lofty price.
The current MacBook Pro is in a desperate need of a weight loss regimen. As PC makers are utilizing Ultrabook design elements in full-size notebooks, Apple’s professional line is looking a little bloated in comparison. As an owner of a Core i7 15-inch model myself, I’ll admit to look longingly at coworkers rocking a featherlight MacBook Air. However, I love the larger screen and more I/O connections of the Pro line and am willing to put up with sub-two hour battery life and enough heat to fry an egg. Even if today’s rumors don’t pan out exactly to the letter, it’s a safe bet that Apple’s next MacBook Pro refresh will be something special in its own right — at least that’s what I’m telling myself as my 15-inch MBP is currently cooking my thighs.
[image via applemacbook.com]