updated 08:03 pm EDT, Thu May 17, 2012
May even be standard equipment
Unconfirmed reports of Apple testing Ivy Bridge-based MacBook Pro prototypes with latest-generation SSD storage may suggest that the company is considering making the faster drives part of the standard configuration of the new machines, which are expected to utilize a super-thin redesign like the MacBook Air and debut sometime in the near future. Whether the machines would continue to offer room for traditional notebook HDDs is unknown.
Though SSD storage is significantly faster than traditional hard drives, it is currently much more expensive to offer (though average prices are now lowering, which will drive more consumer demand). The reports of Apple adopting new SSD drives in the future MacBook Pros is as yet speculative.
The latest generation of SSD, typified by the Samsung 830 series, costs half as much as earlier-generation SSDs while delivering twice the read and write performance of SSDs currently used in shipping products like the MacBook Air. A claim reported by 9to5Mac alleged that Apple has been using the Samsung drive in prototypes.
The rumored move to a standard SSD configuration may not go down well with all MBP buyers, as some -- particularly pro video users -- will see the move as restrictive on internal storage space at a high premium price. It's also possible that Apple could utilize a much smaller standard SSD for the system and booting only, leaving room for a traditional notebook HDD if customers prefer. The new design is also said to eschew any optical drive, making for additional space savings.
Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs referred to the thin design of the MacBook Air as "the future of the entire MacBook line" when he introduced the device in early 2008. At the time, reviews held that while the Air was remarkable, too many design compromises had been made. A revamp in 2010 addressed most criticisms, and the ultra-portable has been a popular choice with consumers ever since.
The forthcoming MacBook Pro has been speculated to offer a range of changes, from a thinner design and SSD standard to the dropping of an optical drive, higher-resolution screens and other features. Any new model would be using the latest Ivy Bridge chips from Intel, but beyond that not much is assured. It's expected by many that Apple will announce the new MBP at or around the Worldwide Developer's Conference in early June.
Samsung PM830 SSD