Is Apple killing off the MacBook Pro?

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Apple is reportedly preparing to phase out its mid-range Macbook Pro lineup by introducing a larger 15-inch MacBook Air in April.

An industry source told ElectricPig the uber-thin notebook will be similar to current MacBook Air models, with ports on both sides and no optical drive or ethernet port. 

Is Apple killing off the MacBook Pro?However, the source emphasized that Cupertino will likely retain the current form factor for its higher-end 17-inch models, at least in the short-term.

The new report from ElectricPig is consistent with a story run by AppleInsider in February which detailed how Apple was gearing up to introduce "radically redesigned" MacBook Pro models in 2012 based on the super-thin look popularized by the Air.

"The higher-volume 15-inch notebook would be the first to see a revamp, and a 17-inch model is expected to be introduced shortly thereafter," explained AppleInsider’s Katie Marsal. 

"Apple used the same approach in late 2008 and early 2009, when the 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro redesigns were spaced about three months apart."

Although Cupertino has yet to confirm exact specs for its upcoming laptop refresh, it is almost certain the new MacBooks will be powered by Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors. 

Recent reports indicate lower-end systems will lack a discrete GPU, while mid to higher-end units are like to be equipped with Nvidia’s next-gen Kepler GPU.

And last, but certainly not least, the absence of an optical drive will allow Cupertino to shrink the current MacBook Pro form factor, while pressing ahead with its strategy of promoting digital distribution via its Mac App store.