Three days before the start of the 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple will unveil a brand-new Mac notebook equipped with a Retina Display, which is simply being referred to as "MacBook." The computer will reportedly be offered alongside the updated MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac and Mac Pro models set to debut next week.
Kuo also added in her report that Apple plans to discontinue the 17-inch MacBook Pro model in 2012, since that particular model only made up about 1 percent of Apple's entire notebook sales.
"We expect Apple to unveil a new MacBook series independent from the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June," Kuo said. "We expect the new MacBook to have the following features: (1) Basic 13" model to be priced at US $1,199; (2) No disc drive; (3) To come in both SSD and HDD; (4) Lighter and slimmer than MacBook Pro, with equal computing power; [and] (5) Retinal display with tapered edge, larger battery capacity."
A new "MacBook" would give Apple a total of six notebook models to unveil at WWDC, including two new MacBook Pros, two new MacBook Airs, and now two models of this new "MacBook" model.
Kuo's prediction aligns well with a photo leaked to Chinese forum Weiphone on June 5, which included the entire specifications of a new 13.3-inch MacBook model. The photo revealed that the laptop included one of Intel's new 2.5 GHz Ivy Bridge processors, along with an improved Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU, Bluetooth 4.0 (a.k.a. "Smart Bluetooth"), and USB 3.0. The computer also featured many of the same specs from the current line of MacBook Pros, including 4 GB of memory, a 500 GB hard drive that runs at 5,400 rpm, an 8x slot-loading SuperDrive, and a ThunderBolt port (whether or not it's for the second-generation of Thunderbolt, "Cactus Ridge," is unclear).
The only difference between the leaked photo and Kuo's report is the display. The photo on Weiphone said the mystery laptop featured the same 1280 x 800 pixel display as the current line of MacBook Pros, but Kuo said that the computers would have a Retina Display -- a display where the pixels are packed so close together, the human eye cannot distinguish them -- which would likely support a resolution of 2800 x 1800 pixels. This Retina Display rumor was also backed by sources from Apple's supply chains in Asia.
"While the prevailing MacBook models have displays with resolutions ranging from 1680 x 1050 to 1280 x 800, the ultra-high resolution for the new MacBook Pro will further differentiate Apple's products from other brands," the sources said.
Does This Computer Exist?
Though a few sources suggest this new "MacBook" exists, this exact configuration was not found on a convincing list of parts and accessories that were leaked earlier this week, all of which will reportedly be unveiled next week at WWDC.
The list included 13 "standalone kits" or accessories, as well as 14 new Mac products, including a new AirPort Express, new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops, as well as new iMac and Mac Pro desktops. Kuo believes that Apple will introduce the new MacBook this year, but it will simplify its notebook lines next year to merge the MacBook Pro with the new "MacBook," leaving just four models: 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs, and 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks.
While "going Retina" across all Macs would confirm Apple's move to HiDPI, very few sources have mentioned manufactured displays of such a high resolution. There's a chance Apple will enhance the screens, but maybe not to a "Retina" degree.
But in general, it would make little sense for Apple to introduce a new computer line only to merge it with the MacBook Pro line next year. If that were the case, Apple should just remove the "Pro" label from its MacBooks and give them all Retina Displays. Apple knows there's no advantage to offering many competing laptop models, which is why the company only releases one iPhone and iPad model with a few configurations at a time.
Even though Kuo's report should be taken with a grain of salt, Kuo has provided reliable reports in the past. She was the first to accurately outline and describe the redesign to the MacBook Air, including its 11-inch model, and her claims are definitely worth some consideration, or at least a discussion.
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