MacBook-Air style MacBook Pro to launch in April

New thinner and lighter 15-inch MacBook Pro to launch by mid-April

Apple is said to be ramping up production of a MacBook Air-style MacBook Pro, with a new thinner and lighter 15in model set to launch by mid April.

The new laptops are likely to be powered by the new Intel Ivy Bridge processors, also due for release this month. The launch of the new Apple laptops may have been postponed due to Intel delaying the shipment of its new Ivy Bridge chips.

It is thought that the new 15in MacBook Pro will borrow its styling from the MacBook Air, and as a result the optical drive will be removed and the traditional hard disk drives will be scrapped in favour of SSDs. Switching to an SSD drive, while offering speed increases, may be problematic if customers want more storage space. The SSD on the current flagship MacBook Air is 256GB, while currently the largest hard drive on a 15in MacBook Pro is 750GB.

There may be yet another new MacBook Air-style MacBook in the works. Sources in Apple's supply chain have claimed that Apple is considering a 14in MacBook Air. The 14in form factor is apparently popular in the Asian market.

Apple is also said to be working on an update to the 13in MacBook Pro, with a launch date in June expected.

DigiTimes predicts that monthly sales of this new, slimmer, 15in MacBook Pro will hit 200,000 units, while the new 13in MacBook Pro will see sales of 300,000 - 400,000 a month.

Over the past few months there have been many reports from Apple's supply chain that the MacBook would get a refresh this year, with analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray predicting that new MacBook Airs would launch in March (a prediction made prior to the delays in Intel's shipments of the Ivy Bridge processors.)

The MacBook Pro line last received an update last October, with Apple quietly upgrading the processor, graphics and HDDs of several of the MacBook Pro models while keeping the prices the same.

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Karen Haslam

Macworld U.K.

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