It appears to be that time again – Supplies seem to be tightening on Apple’s current models of Macbook Pros, MacRumors release schedule is issuing a do not buy warning, and the annual schedule is nearly in line for a release of new Macbook Pro models. Of course, all of that’s just speculation, and we may not see new laptops until 10.7 Lion is released in June… But the question remains – what are we really in for? More thoughts after the break.
Several changes are highly suspect for the new line of computers:
- Sandy Bridge CPU’s built-in with more advanced integrated graphics.
- More built-in RAM / cheaper 8GB RAM upgrades.
Other changes are far more speculative, yet still possible (Personally, I am really hoping for some of these.)
- Intel’s now copper-based Light Peak standard may be implemented.
- New MacBook Pros may be redesigned to more closely resemble the Macbook Air – slimmer, lighter, more portable. The Macbook may become extinct, and the Macbook Air may become the new MacBook.
- Along with #2, Apple’s new integrated SSD’s might become far more common practice
- Along with #2, the removal of the optical drive, perhaps giving users the native ability to install an SSD and HDD alongside each other.
- A larger trackpad.
- A trackpad with a built-in display.
- Extended display/3D Display.
- Etc. (please share your thoughts!)
Now for some banter.
Traditionally, Apple has released their notebooks any time ranging from February to June. The last major refresh was in April, So a new model within the next month or two would make sense. While a forthcoming Macbook Pro is, for the most part, not a matter of IF so much as WHEN, the details pose more questions. Below you’ll find my thoughts on some of these matters.
Light Peak implementation is a stretch, but much less of one now that Intel has cut costs by agreeing on copper fibers instead of an optical design. I really hope to see this, but I’ll set it’s likelihood at a neutral 50%.
I believe that slimmer and lighter MacBook Pros are a near certainty. Apple is and really always has been about the design aesthetic, and slim, light, durable products just impress more than larger and clunkier counterparts.
I personally do not believe that people are ready to give up the optical drive. I could take it or leave it, since I am a member of the “Broadband Generation,” but I’m not sure that the majority of Apple users feel the same way.
Integrated SSD would be awesome, but for people like me that use 500GB and larger hard drives, they’re just not cost-effective at the current point in time. Adding a second hard-drive bay is possible, but I would consider it unlikely. If they remove the optical drive, it’s unlikely they’ll replace it with anything else at all – the goal will be to reduce weight and/or footprint.
A larger trackpad would be extremely welcome – I’d even expect it. As Apple become more and more Multi-touch-centric, it seems to me as something of a natural evolution, although I doubt we’ll see the trackpad take up the entire space below the keyboard, as some have suggested. I wouldn’t even rule out a simple display manifesting itself on the trackpad. It’d be relatively inexpensive, and I could find it useful for certain tasks, such as video editing.
Extended displays and 3D displays aren’t going to happen, period. Neither of these technologies is truly ready for implementation on a portable consumer level, especially not to Apple’s higher-than-average standards for such technologies.
Those are my speculations, but we want to hear from you! What do you think we’ll see in the next Macbook/MacBook Pro lineup?