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Next MacBook Pro: Retina Display, ultra-thin, USB 3.0 ports

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.

By Electronista Staff


  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001


    17" MacBook Pro? Mac Pro refresh?

    I despair more and more as each week goes by without any sign that Apple wants to continue to be a player in the professional video post-production market.

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001


    please, Tim Cook

    I'm begging you. Don't force me to go the Winblows/Premiere route.

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Dec 2007



    "a larger battery would likely be necessary to support the backlighting necessary for a Retina Display."

    Can someone explain this to me? How does the resolution of an LCD display matter for the back light?

  1. qazwart

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2001


    Merger of Air and Pro lines

    The merger between the Air and Pro lines is starting to happen.

    SSD drives have gotten cheap enough to be the only option on MacBooks. Yes, that means the standard size drive Apple will offer will go down from 500Gb to 250Gb, but Apple will figure the lighter unit, faster speed, better dependability, and longer battery life will be worth it. The DVD drive as a standard feature will be also go. That adds a bit over a pound to the Mac. At 4 to 5 pounds, that's a significant amount of weight.

    Once you eliminate the DVD drive and use SSD instead of a standard mechanical drive, the difference between the Air and the Pro lines are minimal. The 15" MacBook Pro will be the first to go over. It'lll complement the current MacBook Air line nicely (11", 13", and 15"), and will give Apple a chance to work out all of the various glitches.

    After that, the 13" MacBook Pro will be restructured along similar lines and the 13" MacBook Air will be dropped. Then, the 17" MacBook Pro, and finally, an "upgrade" of the 11" MacBook Air to look more like its MacBook Pro big brothers.

  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: Jul 2006


    Nice moves

    Nice moves. Apple almost got a laptop that'll tempt me to upgrade my MacBook. The real hitch is battery life. I love the 14+ hours writing on my iPad. I'd be delighted to get a 11" MacBook Air with a similar battery life. But paying about $1200 to go from my current 4.5 hours to at best 6 hours makes no sense.

    Apple might consider creating a extended battery life option for its laptops. Simply increase the size of the case bottom to permit the battery to be larger. Those who need it won't mind the added weight and thickness.

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2002


    802.11ac ?

    ...any word on such wifi...?

  1. pottymouth

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2003



    Why bother? A 15" retina display would be more pixels than most people could even see. The 17" screen would just be more bulk to lug around.

    ...ignoring the the poor eyesight argument. :P

  1. jwdsail

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000



    I really don't get the obsession w/ anorexic laptops..

    We already have the Air, why do we need the 15" to be an Air as well? Is 5lbs really too heavy for people? Really? Seriously, hit the f'in gym for christsakes!

    The *Pro* should have a 2nd Thunderbolt port as well..

    And the lack of Firewire is a deal-breaker, until affordable (not built into a 27" monitor) Thunderbolt -> Firewire adaptors become available at least.

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