It has been reported by Electricpig that they have heard rumors from a accessory manufacturer of Mac’s that Apple may just be preparing the release of a 15-inch MacBook Air sometime in April this year.
And what is coming? If you take our source’s word for it, a 15-inch MacBook Air with ports on both sides, no optical drive and no ethernet cable.
While our source wasn’t certain that this would completely destroy the Pro (he also stated that Apple might hold on to the 17-inch model, which would make sense for the sizeable audience of professional editors out there), he was fairly sure that the shakeup will happen in April. To that end, our source’s company’s got its manufacturers on standby to be able to make and ship a new product lineup inside of 90 days.
It has also been reported by the source that they are apparently a part of making the “docking solutions” for the new MacBook, and since Apple has obviously almost barely shared any kind of information with the source, he doesn’t obviously doesn’t have any kind of big interest in buying such information and also may also even have some kind of access to sources who may be able to provide any estimations on the plans of Apple. With that said, this new source may be simplifying everything by “reiterating” a rumor made previously which would be in claims of a newer 13-inch and also 15-inch MacBook Pro models with the thinner MacBook Air kind of form factors that would be released in this coming April.
Another question still remains regarding the availability of chips from Intel, as delays of the release of the new chips called the “Ivy Bridge” platform along with the unsureness regarding the thinner MacBook Pro or bigger MacBook Air notebooks, if they were going to be running off of the regular mobile chips that are found in the most current low voltage chips of the MacBook Air’s that are currently made, and it’s not clear entirely if the chips would be available for when the newer notebooks from Apple are made in April.
It also has been reported that Apple would be going back to the nVidia graphics chips for the upcoming MacBook Pro update, and SemiAccurate has reported that nVidia’s problems with the GPU productionis leading Apple in relying alot more heavily on the integrated graphics offered by Intel.
Reports say that Apple has been ordering beef-up graphics chips from Intel on their Ivy Bridge platform, which is a development that claims in a report that there would be no point if the chipsets were going to be paired up with integrated graphics chips from Intel.
Apple upped their SKUs from parts bearing awful Intel GPUs to variants with more of those awful shaders. Since those Ivy Bridge CPUs are going in to laptops that have a GPU, upping the shader count from 6 to 16 should be a waste, they will never be turned on.
If they are going to be turned on, that would mean that the discrete GPU in those machines is either going to be much higher spec’d, or it won’t be there.
As nVidia is struggling to create even cheaper Kepler graphics chips, the report is saying that the latter option is alot more likely and it is expected of Apple to be moving up the integrated-specific graphics directly into the middle range of the lineups of notebooks. The graphics that are integrated-only have been reserved typically for Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro’s form factor which is lacking the amount of space required to take advantage of a dedicated graphics card.
Our analysis indicates that the lower end MacBooks will simply do without a GPU, the higher end parts will remain unchanged, and the middle ground will have some models with and some without a GPU instead of almost all with a discrete Nvidia GPU. Those without will make a much larger portion of the mix than they would have at this time last month, if there were any at all.
And one other seperate factor which may also be a rumor aswell as part of the one above is that there may be a much more significant redesign of the MacBook Pro which would be yielding a form factor that would line up with the much more popular MacBook Air. And shrinking the chassis may actually see Apple taking the steps in reducing the size of the power consumption in alot of some certain areas, requirements that may be resulting in the company bringing much lower-powered CPU’s and graphics options to their middle-range machines which might otherwise have been seen.