Apple-Guessing: New MacBook Pro 13-inch Wanted More than 15-inch Model?

  • Share
  • Read Later

Apple's 2011 MacBook Pros.

Apple’s decided you really, really want one of its new 13.3-inch MacBook Pros — more so than one of its new 15-inch models, and so it’s ordered many more of the former than the latter as it ramps up production for a spring/summer release window. So sayeth that bulwark of overseas tech tittle-tattle, DigiTimes.

That’s assuming these laptops actually exist, of course. The story goes something like this: Apple’s allegedly working on new 13- and 15-inch model MacBook Pros that either look the same as or something like the company’s slimline, front-tapering MacBook Airs. How they’re planning to market them against the Airs — whether they’re planning to maintain the Pro/Air family delineation or just roll the two into one — is anyone’s guess.

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

Both 13- and 15-inch models are on assembly lines now, according to DigiTimes‘ sources, and should see monthly production figures of between 100,000 and 150,000 units, ramping up gradually over time.

The only reason I keep circling back to this story when someone sends up another puff of “supply-chain sources say” smoke is that I’m in the market for a high-end laptop. My 11-inch 2011 MacBook Air, which I love dearly for its portability and minuscule desktop footprint, is underpowered for what I do, gets too warm in the warmer months (it’s idling at 60 degrees C as I type this in 70F ambient, and I’ve seen it rise as high as the 90s centigrade when playing back HD video or ripping audio files). All that, and 1366 x 768 just isn’t enough screen real estate for intensive all-day use, to say nothing of all the apps I’ve started having trouble with: Any time I try to “Save for Web…” in Adobe Photoshop, for instance, the non-shrinkable dialogue window disappears under my Dock (I know, I know, but I hate hiding it).

The new MacBook Pros supposedly borrow heavily from the Air’s design mold, eschewing optical discs and Ethernet ports, and trading their currently box-like housing for more blade-like bodies. Some have speculated they’ll include much higher-resolution displays as well — in the vicinity, say, of the new iPad’s 2048 x 1536 “Retina” screens. The going widescreen resolution for a high-end 15- or 17-inch laptop screen these days is either 1920 x 1080 (1080p) or 1920 x 1200. I’d love that kind of real estate on a 15-inch MacBook Pro (the current models top out at 1440 x 900, or if you configure-to-order, 1680 x 1050). I wouldn’t worry about visibility issues on a 15-inch screen, either, since OS X makes it easy to resize icons on-the-fly, and I employ the “zoom” feature when text-editing already.

I wouldn’t mind Apple holding the line on processor speeds either, to keep system temps down. The current MacBook Pros top out at 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 processors, but can reach speeds of 3.6GHz with Intel’s Turbo Boost technology. That’s plenty fast, and with Ivy Bridge — Intel’s 22-nanometer die shrink of its Sandy Bridge CPU architecture and its first to use “3D” transistor technology — we’re expecting even faster, cooler chips at like frequencies. With the unseasonably warm temperatures lately, I’ve been reminded why I can’t really use this MacBook Air in a non-air-conditioned setting. When the ambient temperature climbs into the high 70s fahrenheit, the fan runs full bore (around 6,500 rpm), and even then, the hand rests stay warm enough to make my palms sweat.

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