There’s been a great deal of excitement (and a whole lot of rumors) surrounding Apple’s next-gen MacBook Pro, but what should we really expect from the next round of MacBooks? At the 3rd-gen iPad launch, Tim Cook promised we’d see a lot more exciting innovations from Apple – and the MacBook line is likely the next target for that innovation.
We’ve rounded up and analyzed the most significant and credible rumors to help you make sense of it all.
Thinner & Lighter
The MacBook Pro has been rumored to receive a significant redesign for quite some time, with mentions as early as April of last year. More recent reports have only fueled this speculation. At this point, a thinner and lighter design for the next-gen MacBook Pro is all but certain.
The most recent credible rumors have suggested that the MacBook Pro will be updated with a significantly thinner and lighter design that’s closer to the MacBook Air. The new models will also likely ship without an optical drive in order to accomodate the thinner design.
Among the most exciting rumors surrounding the next-gen MacBook Pro is that it will feature a high-resolution Retina display that will be sharper and crisper, as with Apple’s latest iPad and the iPhone 4S. Considering that such displays already exist, and will cost Apple less than $100 more per each machine, it seems highly plausible that such rumors could come true.
A recent report by 9to5Mac claimed that the next MacBook would receive such a display, and their report has since been confirmed by several other sources, including Bloomberg. Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge chips also specifically support Retina-level displays.
Apple has been preparing OS X with high-resolution graphics and a HiDPI mode intended to support such displays for quite some time – and progress on this continues to be found in OS X 10.7.4 and Apple’s latest OS X Mountain Lion previews.
Ivy Bridge, USB 3, and Thunderbolt 2.0
Any new MacBook models released by Apple would likely include Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge CPUs. The new Ivy Bridge processor would bring a number of improvements to the MacBook, including USB 3.0, faster speeds and reduced power consumption, even faster Thunderbolt ports, and beefed-up integrated graphics.
If Apple decides to enable USB 3.0 in their next-gen MacBooks, they would become the first ever Macs to support the standard.
Improved Graphics, Built-In SSD, and More
Intel’s Ivy Bridge chips feature significantly improved integrated graphics. Beyond this, reliable reports have also suggested that Apple will use fast new Nvidia graphics chips for their upcoming MacBooks. The next-gen MacBook Pro is also likely to feature a built-in SSD to improve startup speeds.
No 17-Inch Model? Apple’s 17-inch MacBook Pro has been notably absent from recent rumors about Apple’s next-gen Macs. Further claims have suggested that Apple may discontinue the 17-inch model, retaining only 13-inch and 15-inch sizes for future MacBook Pros.
Updated MacBook Pros are expected to be announced at Apple’s World-Wide Developer Conference in June. Considering that this claim has been backed up by numerous credible sources, it seems likely to be accurate.
Wrapping it Up
These are by no means the only claims that have been made about Apple’s next-gen MacBooks, but we think they’re the most notable and likely. As always, nobody knows anything of this sort for certain until Apple officially makes an announcement. Fortunately, chances are we won’t have to wait for long!