Rumor: That Air-Style MacBook Pro You’ve Been Hearing About? It’s In Production

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Apple's 2011 MacBook Pros.

If you’re not patiently waiting for Apple to update its MacBook Pro lineup (you know, like me), here’s another rumor to slake your thirst. Yes, it’s from those wizards of guesswork over at DigiTimes, the Asian news site with a penchant for channeling “supply chain” gossip, but it does align with various reports suggesting April could be the next Macbook Pro’s moment in the sun.

According to DigiTimes’ sources, the new MacBook Pro is actively in production, a mix of 13- and 15-inch models that’ll ship in monthly quantities of 100,000 to 150,000 units. Those numbers are set to eventually ramp up to 900,000 units a month, reports the site.

(MORE: Don’t Look for New MacBook Pros Until April?)

These fabled new MacBook Pros have been on the tips of speculative tongues for months. They’re supposed to be more Air-like, if not literally carved from the Air’s slimline, front-tapered, optical-disc-free mold. We’ve heard they could also lose the Ethernet port and even sport a dramatically higher-resolution display (think about the “Retina” marketing angle Apple’s taken with its iPhone 4S last October and the new iPad out today). And now DigiTimes is claiming the new machines will have “more advanced” CPUs and storage capabilities than the MacBook Air, in order to differentiate them from Apple’s entry-level lineup.

But I’m assuming a lot of the above’s still wishful thinking, however much ends up proven when Apple finally pops the lid on these things. Losing the optical drive makes sense, of course, so there’s nothing bold about that proclamation. I’m betting even professional users rarely need a CD or DVD player built in, and there’s always Apple’s SuperDrive (or any competing USB-based external disc drive) to save the day in a pinch, say you need to install older software that can’t easily be copied to a backup disk drive. I keep copies of Adobe PhotoShop CS5 and Microsoft Office 11 on an external USB drive, for instance, in case I need to reinstall them to my MacBook Air after a rebuild.

When should you look for these new Pros? The word was “April, at the soonest” in late February. That hasn’t changed. DigiTimes’ sources speculate we could see Apple hold these things back, to launch beside new Ivy Bridge-based Windows ultrabooks from rivals (Ivy Bridge is Intel’s newest processor and it’s first with “3D” transistor technology), but since those have been reportedly bumped slightly to accommodate slips in Ivy Bridge’s shipping schedule, I suppose it means we could see these new Pros arrive any time between April and June (if they truly exist, of course).

MORE: Apple’s Hush-Hush MacBook Pro Refresh

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