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.