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Debunk: SSD MacBook Pro rumor is false

updated 11:45 am EST, Mon November 29, 2010

MacBook Pro all-SSD rumor discredited

Electronista, like many others this week, received a rumor from a podcast (which we won't link to) that claimed to know the MacBook Pro will get a major redesign that would drop optical storage and move to an all-SSD lineup like the new MacBook Air with Intel's Light Peak for interconnects. It claimed that the system would ship in April with a new Final Cut Pro update. Unfortunately, this rumor simply isn't true.

The claims -- which were briefly published here -- didn't actually mention sources or even assert that these were definite facts. The podcasters said they "believe" there will be a redesign and "believe" Light Peak will be used, but there has been no evidence that the podcast was anything but speculation. We invite the podcasters to provide hard evidence if they have any.

Instead, most of the "leaks" seem to be based chiefly on inferences from what is on the record. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has promised a Final Cut Studio update early next year, and the National Association of Broadcasters expo is the best candidate, but it's not certain. There has also been a rumor of Light Peak launching early, but the company has gone on record as saying it didn't expect the 10Gbps fiber optics in computers until 2012.

More importantly, an all-SSD MacBook Pro line would simply contradict the nature of the lineup and potentially price it out of the market. A 13-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of RAM, a Core 2 Duo, a 256GB SSD and integrated graphics costs $1,599; even moving to a Core i5, 4GB of RAM, a larger screen and dedicated graphics would likely cost more than even the $1,999 speculated in the rumor. Professionals would also likely complain about the cost of a reasonable amount of space. While costs have gone down since the option became available, a 512GB SSD costs $1,300 as an upgrade at Apple's store; adding several hundred dollars or to get reasonable video space would likely drive many users away.

Also, having followed Apple for years, studied its corporate strategy and talked with Apple engineers, it's extremely unlikely that such detailed launch information would appear so soon. The company is well known for giving its staff information about a product on a need-to-know basis. Most teams only work on the components they need to test, and only some will ever see an assembled system. Most of the design process is kept even closer to the chest; it's often only Jonathan Ive's design team that knows the design of the casing itself until near the launch, and certainly not six months away.

While it would be improper to completely rule out such a shift, since Apple did declare the Air the "next generation of MacBooks," there's no indication so far that there is any substance. We can't claim to be completely accurate ourselves, but we've seen a large number of otherwise very credible sites take the SSD MacBook Pro rumor as fact when so much exists to suggest that it was primarily an attempt at driving podcast traffic. Again, we would love to see evidence to the contrary.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Raman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Stupid Story

    By the very definition a Rumor is a Rumor. It is neither True nor False until something concrete happens to make it one or the other - not a MacNN story saying it's True or False.

    It would be interesting to go back through recent Mac history, look at the Rumors that proceeded a given event, and see who/what rumors were actually true or false. I'm willing to bet that there were some pretty far-fetched ones that were actually true.

    I'll die if next week someone shows a blurry picture of a modified unibody case that obviously doesn't have space for a hard drive. Then how will MacNN backpedal?

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MNN recants its own rumor!

    Two stories in one!

    Another way of looking at it is -- zero stories in two!

    Either way, it's a rare look into the brains of working
    non-journalists at work. Every process revealed!
    (Fortunately, not EVERY process ;-) )

    They had me believing it, though. With ASUS offering
    an i7 Quadcore with 500G Hard drive and 4G of RAM for 799,
    only an upgrade to light peak with 512 of SSD are going to
    justify Apple's pricing.

    And by the time the new Macbook pro arrives, MS$ will
    have copied all of Apple's user-friendly features into
    Windows 8 and I can spend the extra grand on something
    else, maybe Adobe upgrades or a new Android phone.

  1. bmn

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Journalism is dead

    "Either way, it's a rare look into the brains of working
    non-journalists at work."

    That's not rare at all. Tune into ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, or NBC sometime--anytime--to witness this modern phenomenon.

  1. heyjp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Diversified Lineup

    The pricepoints for SSD vs HD have grown closer, but by no means merged. There are still a LOT of people that use their MacBook Pro's for heavy video and photo processing and having the ability to approach 1 TByte of internal storage will be important. While I could see Apple "designing-out" the optical drive in the spring, I would not expect them to design-out hard drives from all notebook product lines yet. There will be a couple of years of overlap in capacity and capability between the Air and Pro lines, before hard drives join floppies and opticals in the Area 52 parking lot.

    After that, who the heck knows. Such an exciting and dynamic time we live in! ;-)


  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Diversified Lineup

    The pricepoints for SSD vs HD have grown closer, but by no means merged.

    Closer as in "5 times as expensive" instead of "10 times as expensive". But it isn't anywhere close to being a replacement for anyone except the loose cash crowd or the "I only need 32-64GB" crowd.

    "There are still a LOT of people that use their MacBook Pro's for heavy video and photo processing and having the ability to approach 1 TByte of internal storage will be important. "

    I would argue that those who need 128MB is a large amount of the MacBook user group. At least the 'pro' user group. Not everyone is happy to just store all their files on external drives and in the 'cloud'.

    And one hopes Apple recognizes that 'pro' users might actually want to have the ability to change/upgrade their drives, and not basically make it a "You get what you bought" feature like they have with the MBA.

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