A completely redesigned 2012 MacBook Pro appears to be set for mass production in April, giving further support to reports that change is on its way to Apple Stores.
The first of the 2012 MacBook Pro redesigns is reported to be the 15-inch model, which will be shedding its optical drive and taking on the trimmer form of the sleek MacBook Air.
Since it's introduction in 2008, the MacBook Air has grown in popularity and now makes up approximately one-third of Apple notebook sales. But the MacBook Pro remains the Apple laptop best seller, which may be why the new Air-like model will keep its “MacBook Pro” name tag.
The production dates for the 2012 MacBook Pro redesign coincides with the release dates of the next generation of i7 Intel Ivy Bridge processors, set for the end of April. The i5 chips are scheduled for a market date in June.
Apple is set to “start mass producing a 15-inch MacBook Pro in mid-April with initial monthly shipments of 200,000 units. The company will then mass produce a 13-inch model in June with initial monthly shipments of 300,000-400,000 units,” according to Digitimes.
With an upgrade to Ivy Bridge, expect the MacBook Pro to see a 10 to 15% processing speed boost, and a considerably better display with the new integrated Intel 4000 graphics. Add the likely addition of a Retina display similar to the new iPad, and the 2012 MacBook Pro moves up to a new level.
Top that off with a 128GB or 256GB solid state hard drive and the new 15-inch MacBook Pro might just be the dream machine of the next generation of light and powerful Ultrabook style laptops.
So far, Apple has been lagging behind in solid state drive technology by using slower 3 Gigabit SATA 2 drives. SATA 3 has a negociated link speed of 6 Gigabits and definately creates a noticable speed difference, especially in opening applications. An upgrade to a standard factory installed SATA 3 solid state hard drive will bring Apple up to par with its Ultrabook competitors, like ASUS, which is already using the newer, much faster technology.
The SSD interface on many MacBook Pro's has been a source of headaches for those who have chosen to upgrade to SATA 3 solid state hard drives. While a recent firmware update was supposed to correct known issues with the Logicboard interface, TRIM support, and SSD's, getting a faster third party SSD to "play nice" with a MacBook Pro remains a challenge.
No doubt the new 15-inch MacBook Pro has been designed to impress both inside and out, so expect to be squashed by crowds in the Apple store the minute the new laptop makes its debut.
Apple is expected to reveal the new MacBook Pro design at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, California, on Monday, June 11, 2012.