Apple's ultra-thin 15-inch MacBook rumored for Q2 2012 release

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple is rumored to have ordered a "small volume" of components for a 15-inch ultra-thin notebook that could appear as early as the second quarter of 2012, a new report claims.



Upstream suppliers are said to have begun shipping the components this month, though it remains unclear whether the final version of the 15-inch laptop will be marketed as a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro. Based on the timing of the order, sources believe that mass shipments of the device will begin in March of next year, according to Taiwan's DigiTimes.



However, it should be noted that the publication has, as of late, had spotty reliability when it comes to Apple product predictions, though it claims to be well-connected in the Asian supply chain.



Late last month, it was reported that Apple was finishing up a "test phase" for a new thin-and-light 15-inch MacBook. The Mac maker is also rumored to be developing a 17-inch ultraportable MacBook, though such a machine was not mentioned in Tuesday's report.



AppleInsider reported in February that, according to people familiar with the matter, Apple appears poised to move its MacBook Pro lines more toward the MacBook Air next year. The company is believed to be interested in bringing features, including instant-on, standard SSD drives, slimmer enclosures and the omission of optical drives, to the MacBook Pro in future designs.







Apple co-founder Steve Jobs seemed to telegraph such a move last year when he said that the MacBook Air, which had been redesigned to incorporate standout features from the iPad, represented the "future of the MacBook."



The MacBook Air's portion of Apple's total Mac sales saw a significant jump in July after the company released an upgrade with Thunderbolt, Sandy Bridge processors and back-lit keyboards. According to a recent analysis, the thin-and-light notebook now makes up 28 percent of Apple's notebook shipments, up from 8 percent in May and June.







As of the September quarter, portables represented 74 percent of the company's Mac sales, despite seeing record desktop sales in the same period. Meanwhile, total Mac sales last quarter were the highest ever at 4.85 million units.



Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray believes the latest NPD domestic sales data point to Apple selling 5.3 million Macs over the holiday quarter. Wall Street consensus for the quarter stands at 5.2 million.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 99
    aizmovaizmov Posts: 989member
    Just dropping the HDD and Optical driver while keeping everything else would the trick. In fact, with the real-estate saved Apple could add even more ports, a larger battery and even better CPUs and GPU, or they could make it thinner.
  • Reply 2 of 99
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post


    Just dropping the HDD and Optical driver while keeping everything else would the trick. In fact, with the real-estate saved Apple could add even more ports, a larger battery and even better CPUs and GPU, or they could make it thinner.



    Doubtful on better CPUs and GPUs. As a owner of the current 2011 MacBook Pro, it's pretty obvious that the cooling system wasn't designed for 45W TDP CPUs, and a thinner enclosure won't help that problem. If anything, I expect then to lower the TDP with a cooler chip and focus on battery life. I hope they hake the 1680x1050 res screen standard.
  • Reply 3 of 99
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    Doubtful on better CPUs and GPUs. As a owner of the current 2011 MacBook Pro, it's pretty obvious that the cooling system wasn't designed for 45W TDP CPUs, and a thinner enclosure won't help that problem. If anything, I expect then to lower the TDP with a cooler chip and focus on battery life. I hope they hake the 1680x1050 res screen standard.



    Agreed.... tempted to reference Stephen King every time someone asks for that silly machine to be made "thinner". That was such a cheesy movie. Anyway at the price points Apple chooses I tend to feel like a lot of things should be standard features. The high res display is one of them. Ivy Bridge was supposed to bring down power consumption a bit but by how much varies from article to article.



    I'd really like to see them bring out something that could run cool at high loads rather than go as thin as possible. This is the thing about Apple. They like things that come off as sleek. If you go into an Apple store and play around on a macbook pro, you won't ever experience how hot it can get or how fast the fans may ramp up. The look and feel are designed to grab you. I'd rather they optimized a bit more toward a product that is as stable and reliable as possible. Perhaps I'll get my wish with Haswell, but I'm sure at some point Apple will try to be the first to come out with a fanless laptop that will once again runs hot.



    Edit: Once again people would buy it because they'd find it cool (not in the temperature sense).
  • Reply 4 of 99
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,684member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Agreed.... tempted to reference Stephen King every time someone asks for that silly machine to be made "thinner". That was such a cheesy movie. Anyway at the price points Apple chooses I tend to feel like a lot of things should be standard features. The high res display is one of them. Ivy Bridge was supposed to bring down power consumption a bit but by how much varies from article to article.



    I'd really like to see them bring out something that could run cool at high loads rather than go as thin as possible. This is the thing about Apple. They like things that come off as sleek. If you go into an Apple store and play around on a macbook pro, you won't ever experience how hot it can get or how fast the fans may ramp up. The look and feel are designed to grab you. I'd rather they optimized a bit more toward a product that is as stable and reliable as possible. Perhaps I'll get my wish with Haswell, but I'm sure at some point Apple will try to be the first to come out with a fanless laptop that will once again runs hot.



    Edit: Once again people would buy it because they'd find it cool (not in the temperature sense).



    My guess is that the 15" will lean towards the Air and the 17" will stay Pro with the optical removed.
  • Reply 5 of 99
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    I'd really like to see them bring out something that could run cool at high loads rather than go as thin as possible.



    Until Apple starts putting its own chips in the MacBooks (A6 ahem...), they can't do anything to reduce the heat. The high heat is generated by the CPUs (and GPUs), and a bigger enclosure is not going to reduce the amount of heat that is generated. If anything, with Apple's aluminum enclosures, a slimmer profile might even be better because the aluminum will disperse the heat better than static air would. IOW, the slimness is unlikely to be causing more heat to be generated.
  • Reply 6 of 99
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post


    Until Apple starts putting its own chips in the MacBooks (A6 ahem...), they can't do anything to reduce the heat. The high heat is generated by the CPUs (and GPUs), and a bigger enclosure is not going to reduce the amount of heat that is generated. If anything, with Apple's aluminum enclosures, a slimmer profile might even be better because the aluminum will disperse the heat better than static air would. IOW, the slimness is unlikely to be causing more heat to be generated.



    Asus did an excellent job of fixing heat problems with their Republic of Gaming laptops. The G73 and G74 series have excellent heat dissipation by moving air in from the bottom of the keyboard area and out of the back. However, this won't work with trying to taper the designs to make them thin and elegant.
  • Reply 7 of 99
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post


    Just dropping the HDD and Optical driver while keeping everything else would the trick. In fact, with the real-estate saved Apple could add even more ports, a larger battery and even better CPUs and GPU, or they could make it thinner.



    They COULD, "...add even more ports, a larger battery and even better CPUs and GPU...," but they will do the latter: "...or they could make it thinner."



    If they can make a product thinner by foregoing better technology, they'll do so every time. It's an arbitrary and futile obsession. The iPad 2 I'm using now is plenty thin enough for me, but I keep reading that the next iPad release will be even thinner! Yay!



    I'd rather they choose the most advanced technology and battery life than make it still thinner.



    I'm, I guess, a "Creative Pro," and we support each other giving no thought whatsoever to the fact that we're competitors. We ALL own Mac Pros and a MacBook Pro (1 + 1 = 2 = $$), and we all buy every new top of the line model whenever each line is refreshed.



    We are unanimous that we want integrated optical burners. My professional photography bud archives a lot of huge digital RAW files on dual-layer DVDs in both Mac Pros and MacBook Pros, rather than relying on an internal or external HDD formatted with the antiquated HFS+.



    With HFS+, rescue partitions (if you're lucky enough that the system even "sees" the afflicted drive at all) are a must for all in our ad hoc support group. So too are Diskwarrior (whose entire business model relies on Mac HFS+ File system entropy – fiix HFS+ and Alsoft is out of business!), Drive Genius and TechTool. Seeing all hope is lost for the very, very best filesystem, ZFS, replace HFS+ with Btrfs which falls short of ZFS, or the much inferior – but FAR superior to HFS+ – ext4 – maybe we could rely on Mac formatted drives for archival purposes.



    But my Video Pro bud installed a Blu-ray burner in his Mac Pro, and can archive 25-50GB of footage on one of his collection of discs, and he also has slick printable Blu-ray blank discs for presenting to clients who hire his services for milestone events (weddings). (A few consumers DO have Blu-ray players for their TVs.)



    We used to buy two or three batteries for our Mac notebooks, so we could swap them out when one got drained, but Apple found that if they hermetically sealed Mac notebook batteries inside, they could make the notebooks smaller AND, above all, THINNER!



    We get by with "juicepacks" and automobile charger adaptors, but clicking in a fresh additional battery was valuable time less wasted.



    "Form Over Function" trumps all other considerations every time. How successful was the G4 Cube and the "dome" or "lampshade" iMac?



    "The iPad's still too damn thick. I won't be buying one until it's as thin as a sheet of tracing paper."



    And I hate to say "I told you so," but I told you so three years ago in response to the "bag of hurt alibi" about Blu-ray (which Apple went on to say they would offer to Mac customers in time), that it instead would portend an effort to kill off optical media altogether.



    It's systematically happening now...



    If I CHOOSE to have an integrated optical drive in a MacBook Pro, Mac mini, or (soon) the iMac, (and you can forget altogether the Mac Pro), I don't even have it as a BTO option. (Though I can buy Apple's temporarily available external SuperDrive to dangle off my new MacBook Pro. How compact is that? Less cumbersome than a thinny, thin integrated optical drive?)



    Optical must DIE! iTunes-only for ALL!



  • Reply 8 of 99
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post


    Until Apple starts putting its own chips in the MacBooks (A6 ahem...), they can't do anything to reduce the heat. The high heat is generated by the CPUs (and GPUs), and a bigger enclosure is not going to reduce the amount of heat that is generated. If anything, with Apple's aluminum enclosures, a slimmer profile might even be better because the aluminum will disperse the heat better than static air would. IOW, the slimness is unlikely to be causing more heat to be generated.



    That being said I'm not sure the rumored machine is a Mac Book Pro. They could simply expand the AIR lineup. Given that they could also redo the MBPs. The existence of a Mac Book AIR 15" does not imply that the pros go away.
  • Reply 9 of 99
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member
    This seems like a very un-Apple move to me, at first glance.



    Expanding the number of machines is just an odd move. It seems to me, anyways.
  • Reply 10 of 99
    jonyojonyo Posts: 117member
    I'd be very interested in a 15" MBP that was thin and light like the Air, and left behind the optical drive. However, if it's going to be my main machine, I can't get by with a little 128GB SSD drive, I need more space than that. Even 256GB won't do it. 512GB would be ok, even though in my existing MBP I'm considering upgrading the 500GB to a 750GB, but either way, the cost of a 512GB SSD would likely price the thing out of my league.
  • Reply 11 of 99
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post


    Just dropping the HDD and Optical driver while keeping everything else would the trick. In fact, with the real-estate saved Apple could add even more ports, a larger battery and even better CPUs and GPU, or they could make it thinner.



    Bingo. It'll be sweet. 15" MacBook "Air Pro". I imagine they'll drop the 13" MacBook Pro and just have:



    11" MacBook Air

    13" MacBook Air

    15" MacBook Pro (thin)

    17" MacBook Pro (normal)
  • Reply 12 of 99
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jonyo View Post


    I'd be very interested in a 15" MBP that was thin and light like the Air, and left behind the optical drive. However, if it's going to be my main machine, I can't get by with a little 128GB SSD drive, I need more space than that. Even 256GB won't do it. 512GB would be ok, even though in my existing MBP I'm considering upgrading the 500GB to a 750GB, but either way, the cost of a 512GB SSD would likely price the thing out of my league.



    I'm waiting to get a next-generation 13" MacBook Air with 256GB SSD, 4GB RAM. No rush though.



    I figure the 15" will be nice but the weight advantages won't be as significant at the 15" range (in terms of total weight) compared to the 13" Air.



    Starting to save up for the iPad 3 already LOL.
  • Reply 13 of 99
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    With Intel 22nm Ivy Bridge including 3-D Tri-Gate transistors.
  • Reply 14 of 99
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    Bingo. It'll be sweet. 15" MacBook "Air Pro". I imagine they'll drop the 13" MacBook Pro and just have:



    11" MacBook Air

    13" MacBook Air

    15" MacBook Pro (thin)

    17" MacBook Pro (normal)



    The 17" isn't very popular these days. I don't think you'll see a pro truly in the macbook air form factor next year. Even at 15", it'll be difficult to fit ports, and Ivy Bridge will most likely not be a big enough dip in heat to use comparable cpus (they are coming down a little but not to the current air levels, and the air still gets quite warm).



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post


    Just dropping the HDD and Optical driver while keeping everything else would the trick. In fact, with the real-estate saved Apple could add even more ports, a larger battery and even better CPUs and GPU, or they could make it thinner.



    This is your top performer, so I would think they'd at least want a reasonable cost effective 500GB ish SSD before they go that route. You're still making the silly assumption that this will absolutely replace the current macbook pro. That's not a foregone conclusion yet. It could start with the low voltage cpus.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    My guess is that the 15" will lean towards the Air and the 17" will stay Pro with the optical removed.



    17" is unpopular these days. We have a 13" macbook pro and air. Why do you think the 15" pro being dropped to an air is inevitable next year? In this case I think they'll have both for a year or two. Losing all of those ports is going to hurt the users that need them. Carrying around an additional adapter is a bad solution as every Apple adapter I've ever owned has been short lived (mostly display dongles).



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post


    Until Apple starts putting its own chips in the MacBooks (A6 ahem...), they can't do anything to reduce the heat. The high heat is generated by the CPUs (and GPUs), and a bigger enclosure is not going to reduce the amount of heat that is generated. If anything, with Apple's aluminum enclosures, a slimmer profile might even be better because the aluminum will disperse the heat better than static air would. IOW, the slimness is unlikely to be causing more heat to be generated.



    They could do this, but it would be a hit in performance. Apple is probably on the rocks right now and waiting to see how intel looks around 2013 as they have claimed to be aiming for 17W cpus. I don't know how they would get to 17W from 45W, but if they do get it down that low that soon, 2013 will probably be a very strong year for intel. There are a lot of other components that need to reduce their power diet if you want to see truly incredible battery life.



    It still amuses me greatly how many people are convinced that everything must take on an air form factor today. I don't see any reason it couldn't be a 15" macbook air if things are too hot to do a relatively lossless migration of the macbook pro components, and transition as it becomes possible to run more powerful hardware in the thin form factor within their price targets. Getting something to market is a fairly complex equation. Rather than going with the wedge, I hope they eventually stick to something more port friendly on the higher end. Having to use dongles and hubs is just a pain in the ass.
  • Reply 15 of 99
    Time to do a floppy on the optical drive.
  • Reply 16 of 99
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    Time to do a floppy on the optical drive.



    Agreed.
  • Reply 17 of 99
    When the MacBook Air goes to 15" I'm in! I've been waiting.
  • Reply 18 of 99
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    Time to do a floppy on the optical drive.



    Time to "floppy" the HVD in the womb as well – and 5D, and "Tapestry" or Protein Coated Discs should not be researched or developed. "The Cloud" is capacious and fast enough, and "640K is the most RAM anyone will ever need."



    Stop research! Make it illegal! OPTICAL MUST DIE! (Except optical fibre ThunderBolt, which will feel like USB 1 if PCDs ever make it to market.)



    P.P.S. Apple is one of the companies on the HVD committee! I smell mutiny!



    P.S. B4 any assumptions are made, I was delighted to see the floppy go.



  • Reply 19 of 99
    foljsfoljs Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Macs2InfinityAndBeyond View Post


    They COULD, "...add even more ports, a larger battery and even better CPUs and GPU...," but they will do the latter: "...or they could make it thinner."



    If they can make a product thinner by foregoing better technology, they'll do so every time. It's an arbitrary and futile obsession. The iPad 2 I'm using now is plenty thin enough for me, but I keep reading that the next iPad release will be even thinner! Yay!



    (...)



    I'm, I guess, a "Creative Pro," and we support each other giving no thought whatsoever to the fact that we're competitors. We ALL own Mac Pros and a MacBook Pro (1 + 1 = 2 = $$), and we all buy every new top of the line model whenever each line is refreshed.



    We are unanimous that we want integrated optical burners. My professional photography bud archives a lot of huge digital RAW files on dual-layer DVDs in both Mac Pros and MacBook Pros, rather than relying on an internal or external HDD formatted with the antiquated HFS+.



    With HFS+, rescue partitions (if you're lucky enough that the system even "sees" the afflicted drive at all) are a must for all in our ad hoc support group. So too are Diskwarrior (whose entire business model relies on Mac HFS+ File system entropy ? fiix HFS+ and Alsoft is out of business!), Drive Genius and TechTool. Seeing all hope is lost for the very, very best filesystem, ZFS, replace HFS+ with Btrfs which falls short of ZFS, or the much inferior ? but FAR superior to HFS+ ? ext4 ? maybe we could rely on Mac formatted drives for archival purposes.



    (...)



    We used to buy two or three batteries for our Mac notebooks, so we could swap them out when one got drained, but Apple found that if they hermetically sealed Mac notebook batteries inside, they could make the notebooks smaller AND, above all, THINNER!



    We get by with "juicepacks" and automobile charger adaptors, but clicking in a fresh additional battery was valuable time less wasted.



    Ever stopped to think you might be a tiny minority? When Apple dicthed the floppy drive there were several minorities that just *needed* to have that, too.



    The MB Airs sell like hot cakes. People don't seem bothered by the lack of an optical drive at all. And why should they? Between USB drives, external disks, the cloud, etc, you don't need them anymore. And you can always use an external one if you do.



    I **want** the next MBP to drop the optical drive. If and WHEN I need one, I can use an external one. When I don't need one, I don't even have to carry it.



    And I've worked as a web programmer, and as a professional (news) photographer.



    You pine for the days of "replacable batteries"? Ever stopped to think that in those days a MBP (or Powerbook) gave you like 2-3 hours battery time, and now it gives like 7 out of the box?
  • Reply 20 of 99
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rcoleman1 View Post


    When the MacBook Air goes to 15" I'm in! I've been waiting.



    If they put a 3G modem internal to the the unit, I'm in!!! I really want to be able to roam with the unit and still be connected. Those ugly data models sticking out the side are an accident looking for a place to happen.



    15" and 3G, please!
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