updated 08:12 am EDT, Mon May 14, 2012
Next-gen MacBook Pro 15-inch to lead redesign
More details have emerged about the next-generation 15-inch MacBook Pro, if 9to5Mac's sources are correct. As with the first unibody MacBook Pro range, where the 15-inch model led the redesign, Apple is expected to reveal its latest MacBook Pro reboot with a 15-inch model. The inclusion of Intel's Ivy Bridge processors will allow a thinner design, that will drop its optical drive, center on a new 'jaw-dropping' super high resolution Retina Display and also incorporate USB 3.0 ports.
Sources familiar with the production test cases for the new design say that it does not follow the tapered look of the MacBook Air range, but rather keeps the non-tapered look of the current models. It will, however, be much thinner suggesting that Apple is intent on retaining a Pro line-up alongside its highly successful MacBook Air range. A non-tapered design would also allow for more 'Pro' features including additional USB ports, discrete graphics and a large battery - a larger battery would likely be necessary to support the backlighting necessary for a Retina Display.
A Retina Display would also mark the first time that Apple has adopted IPS, or similar, technology in its notebook displays. With the new iPad taking mobile displays into uncharted territory, following in the footsteps of the iPhone 4 which debuted a Retina Display two years ago, it is inevitable that Apple would move to integrate a similar technology in its notebook displays. It is also expected that the new Retina Display on the MacBook Pro will bring 'resolution independence' allowing a user to set the sharpness and size of images to their preferences.
USB 3.0 is also expected to debut on the new MacBook Pro. Apple has eschewed the latest USB specification not only because it has introduced 10Gbps Thunderbolt to its Mac range, but because Ivy Bridge is the first series of Intel processors, chipsets and motherboards to natively support the technology. USB 3.0 ports will bring a wide range of new peripherals to Mac users, while it still achieves a very respectable transfer rate of up to 5Gbps. On the flip side, it also means that Apple will now drop its support for Firewire.
It is not known whether AMD or NVIDIA will supply the GPU for the new MacBook Pro. References to NVIDIA's GT 650M have been found in Mountain Lion code, although AMD has supplied the GPU's in recent MacBook Pros and iMacs. Apple's relationship with had NVIDIA soured somewhat several years ago following a series of recalls for NVIDIA chips in its MacBook Pro range at the time.
9to5Mac's sources had no information on prices or when Apple is likely to ship the next generation of MacBook Pros, although most of its PC competitors who have already announced their Ivy Bridge line-ups will have them shipping en masse by June.