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Rumor: white MacBook gone, 13-inch MacBook Pro going Core i3

updated 07:05 pm EST, Tue February 22, 2011

Late rumor has white MacBook gone, Air taking over

Apple's upcoming MacBook Pros could herald the end of plastic MacBooks in the lineup, an uncharacteristically detailed rumor posited on Tuesday. The company is reportedly confident enough in the 11-inch MacBook Air that the ultraportable would replace the white MacBook entirely. The 'reliable' MacGeneration sources understood that Apple wanted to trim the number of 13-inch systems down.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro wouldn't lower in price but would get a major improvement across the board, they said. Corroborating an earlier claim, the mid-size system would get a 16GB mini SSD for booting to go along with a 320GB hard drive, speeding up its overall responsiveness even as it upgraded from today's lone 250GB rotating disk. The non-boot drive could be upgraded to 500GB for an extra $90 or a 256GB SSD for $280.

The switch to Sandy Bridge would start out gently, with a 2.1GHz Core i3 and 4GB of RAM. Although superficially a step back in clock speed from the 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, the faster architecture should make up for the deficit. No mention was made of dedicated graphics, but most rumors have suggested Apple was happy with the major speed increase from Sandy Bridge's integrated graphics core.

The 13-inch MacBook Air's 1440x900 screen should be standard, but now with a matte option on the higher end of the two configurations. The system would not only gain an extra two hours of battery life (up to 12) but add a third USB port. It would slim down by the rumored half a pound to weigh just under four pounds.

The 15-inch model would carry over some of the changes from the 13-inch while adding a few twists of its own, according to the tips. The SSD boot drive and third USB port would arrive, and battery life would grow as well, here to 10 hours, but storage would shift radically: it would now be upgradeable to a 1TB main drive and could even replace the DVD burner with a second SSD, increasing the capacity and giving users as many as three drives. The once optional 1680x1050 LCD would now be standard. No mention was made of the dedicated graphics picks, but it would also start at 4GB of RAM and shave off over 0.4 pounds to bring it to below five.

The 17-inch model should have many of the same options as the 15-inch model, but it would have 8GB of pre-installed RAM for the first time in a Mac notebook and would thrive as one of the world's lightest 17-inch notebooks. By losing two thirds of a pound, it would drop to just over 5.8 pounds, weighing less than many competitors' thin-and-light 15-inch systems.

The mystery new technology wasn't unearthed in the rumor, but an Intel event on Thursday could point to some implementation of Light Peak on the new MacBook Pro.

Prices were only given out in euros, but converted to US dollars corresponded roughly with the prices attached to five SKUs at Best Buy. The 13-inch MacBook Pros would come in $1,199 and $1,499 versions where the 15-inch computers would be pared back to base $1,799 and high-end $2,199 versions. Apple's 17-inch flagship would cost $2,499. Many now expect these to show on Thursday.

The rumor isn't definitive and should be treated with caution. Apple's strategy as described here would nonetheless match up with its claims that the MacBook Air was the "future of MacBooks" and, accordingly, would be reflected in the rest of its lineup. A move to SSDs, lightweight design and very long battery life would be consistent with the Air and a means of separating Apple from competitors only more recently switching their attention to battery life and weight.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Pixelsmack

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I agree. No need for Macbook, the AIR rocks.

    The Air completely replaced the MacBook.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good riddance

    I never understood making the AL Macbook only to replace it with the plastic unibody macbook. It would have made more sense to have kept an AL Macbook and had the Pro models only include the 15 inch and 17 inch models....

    Now that we have the 11 inch Air (which I am about to purchase) I hope they dump the plastic Macbook as the rumor suggests.

    I do think one thing from the white Macbook should be included all the new Macbook Pros and Airs....the rubbery material on the bottom of the Macbook. Make it black and add it too all of the future iterations! Think about it, no more little feet to replace and your system wouldn't wobble either!!!

  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good Riddance Indeed

    We have one. The case is utter rubbish. It fractures along the front edge of the palm-rest if you pick it up with one hand. We've had the complete case replaced once and we probably will have to do it again. Never happened with any other plastic case Apple laptop and we've had a series of them all the way back to the 190.

    Google "White MacBook Case Cracking" and you'll see a bunch of articles. Apple's even had to do an extended warranty coverage for these.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not unless...

    They replace the anemic 64GB drive at the $999 MBA price point.

    Out of the box it's probably got what, a month's worth of useful disk space for the average user before it maxes out.

    The base MB has a 250GB drive. Far more useful. I can live without the SD slot and the FireWire. Drive space is key.

  1. PRoth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    mini SSD for booting

    That sounds cool... I wonder if it's going to show up as a second drive on the desktop, or what? What will upgrading the OS be like?

    I also wonder whether replacing the SuperDrive with an extra SSD can be done only as built to order, or can you have it done later on too.

  1. bjojade

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not a chance

    The list of specs is pretty outlandish. Sounds like all those crazy ideas from any random collection of specs rolled all into one. Replacing the CD drive with an SSD drive? You really think Apple would have that option available? Come on.

    And I highly doubt that the white MacBook will go away. The screen resolution on the 13" air makes the text too small for many people to read. The 11 inch is a companion machine for most.

    The 13" white is popular because of the price point. If anything, I'd be willing to guess that you'll see a price drop in the white MacBook down to $899 or even $799. That'll be the entry level machine everyone's been wanting.

    As far as the case cracking problem, that was in the previous version of MacBooks. The current Unibody MacBooks don't have that problem. In fact, except for the bottom rubbery material showing dirt way too easily, it shows wear less than the aluminum MacBook pro does.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not to mention

    10 hour battery life vs. 5 hours.
    It's a serious downgrade at $999 for not much more than less weight.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2011


    comment title

    Cool, another rumor, like the one last year about the iPhone 4 white coming out in September 2010, right? Or the iPhone 4 white coming out in January, right? Or the iPad 2 coming out in January, right? What do these rumor inventors do? When one date passes, they make up another one. Eventually they come true, then the inventor gets some sort of "special" feeling that he predicted the future! Pathetic. Of course, some of these rumors are true, meaning that Apple has employees violating their employment agreements and leaking extremely confidential information. If I were Apple, I'd make sure I invested in pinning down the direct leaker(s) and firing them immediately.

  1. BaiGanyo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple netbooks

    The segment apple has stated it will never enter....they'll just make something with a netbook processor. Wow. Not impressed. I will stick with my Dell netbook with the same i3 processor and an 11.6 inch screen for 70% less money. Wow, what a disappointment for the kind of money apple demands for their products.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    SSD boot drive good idea

    Judging by the comments you'd so routinely see, it's obvious that many people didn't get the value of SSD.

    I'm glad that Apple is forcing the issue, they are right, the late adopters - wrong. SSD is a requirement, because it dramatically changes the experience - yes, it's that fast.

    It's not about raw transfer rates - although it is somewhat faster on that (twice as fast), it's about seek time, random access - the SSD is 100 times faster on that.

    You'd have to imagine to yourself, well do you want to run at 1 percent of the speed - on certain operations, if that's OK, then your old rusting, spinning rotating drive is fine - but of course it isn't OK, so need an SSD. If you've ever used one, you won't return to the old technology.

    I have a 200GB SSD in my macbook pro - sure I need more space in total - but that 200GB is just for everyday operations, and I can attach a 1tb external for archiving needs.

    What I don't agree with, is that the 11" Macbook air at $999 is the replacement for a $999 white macbook.

    The $999 white macbook had a much faster processor, a larger screen, could take twice as much RAM, and had expandability options, such as adding your own drives to the superdrive bay, or replacing the boot drive with one of your choice.

    This is a classic Apple move to take away features that people need.

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