Originally Posted by solipsism
1) No ODD, a given. (Anyone still expecting Apple to add Blu-ray at this point? lol)
2) This make happen. They do have a patent for this and it might make since even if it's just a single-platter 2.5" HDD with SSD optimized for the instant startup from sleep like in the MBAs.6) 6)Absolutely will be thinner.
Really ugly and obviously a desktop design, but there are things like this out there: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/01/o...b-hdd-for-499/
I think a 128, 256 or 512 SSD soldered to the board and a 1 or 2TB drive w/no ODD would be the right approach. The new Ivy Bridge chips should be a significant step down in power usage, but I still don't think they will want to shrink the case much. Similar shape to now, but a bit thinner. If they slop it at all, it won't be the severe wedge of the MBA.
If the new Ivy Bridge chips have the much lower TDP that we have been hearing they will, there won't be a reason to put ULVs in the MBA anymore and we can see very thin designs using regular processors. That means that either Apple is going to have to do things like: 1) the SSD/HDD pairing, more RAM and longer battery life due to more space for battery to differentiate and maintain their current prices, 2) Lower prices on the 15 and 17" models or 3) Combine the MBA and MBP into a single line. The 11" would have 1 model, the 17" would have 1 model and the 13 and 15 would have 2 each, one a bit more lightweight and MBA-like and the other more like the current Pro offerings. Same body type for all, better resolutions, the 11 and 13 would still have the built in graphics and the 15 and 17 would have discrete options.
Oh yeah, we'll also see 3 USB 3.0, 2 Thunderbolt and a SDXC card slot on the 15 and 17" models, 2 USB and 1 TB on the 11 and 13". No more Firewire, that will be included on the TB display or new external hub you can hook up. The 15 or 17 might retain FW for 2012.