The FUTURE of the Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AlvinNguyen, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. AlvinNguyen macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    I'm really hoping it starts heading down the MBA path - SSD standard for applications + 7200 rpm drives for storage. I am on the 2011 i7 17" and really want to upgrade - the MBP is great but it's starting to show its weight and the optical drive is gathering dust.

    Where do you think the future of the MBP line will go?
  2. Meever macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2009
    I wonder how it will effect price though.....

    SSDs are still quite expensive. A 64gb+500gb Setup would be interesting, however..... 64gb is really not enough. Especially for not a power user. 128gb would have to be a standard. And I can see that bumping the price up a hundred dollars or two.....

    There's also the problem with GPU. Thinner is nice and all but that will severely limit GPU upgrade options.

    So Realistically I don't see the Macbook Pro line getting TOO MUCH thiner. Optical going and USB 3.0 is given I think though.
  3. AlvinNguyen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    Do you think lighter without going thinner is a possibility? I have a doubt in that unless they change the material. I like the current design so I don't have a problem with that. But the weight is a huge issue on my 17". I would be happy with

    -shedding 1 lb off the 17" and .75 lb off the 15"
    -64gb SSD (with option for the 128gb upgrade for $100 more) + 7200 rpm 500gb drive
    -even better screen (although I like the high res options on the 15/17 currently and have no problems with them)
  4. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    I'm not convinced we'll ever see SSD + HDD in the notebook line. It strikes me as a compromise solution to get speed + storage. I see Apple holding out until SSDs are cheap enough and big enough to be our only storage solution.

    That being said, Apple will sell an iMac or a mini with a SSD + HDD, so I'm probably wrong. It just seems unlike Apple to me for some reason.

    Anyway, my hope for the future of the MBP line is a 13" model with no ODD, discrete graphics, and better battery life. That would make it substantially different enough from the Air to be worth keeping around... a 13" MBP without an optical drive would just be a slightly more powerful MBA.

    Not sure about the 15"/17" - without the optical drive there's lots of space, but I'm not sure what Apple can/should add besides battery. Although a MBP with 15 hour battery life would be pretty slick... Maybe a faster processor, and use the space for cooling. A second HDD is another possibility.
  5. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    Apple are already pretty much maxing out on the CPU in their notebooks, and the GPUs are reasonably up there too. I mean, Apple might be able to push up one GPU notch to AMD X8XX (I hope), but that's it. Anything more is impractical.

    I'm sure Apple will continue to be heavy handed in their flash storage purchasing for their iPods, which should flow through into the MBP, similar to the MBA. I'm sure it won't be long before Apple start putting SSDs in their MBPs as standard. I would expect them to be slower than those offered by other companies, just like the MBA's SSD.

    The MBPs have been slowly losing fractions of an inch, and losing weight as well, and I would expect that to continue, but wouldn't expect anything drastic. The loss of the ODD would result in a noticeable amount of thickness decrease, however wouldn't affect the weight much.

    My plans are to strip out the ODD and put in a good SSD early/mid next year once my warranty runs out, to re-vitalise my computer. I personally have no problems with the weight of it, or the size, and definitely want the MBPs to be at least a mostly performance oriented machine, as opposed to just a bigger MBA.
  6. Skream macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2011
    I like how when the air came out everyone wasn't sure about losing the disk drive but now we're to the point where we don't even see it as a usable medium.

    Only thing I want as an upgrade is dedicated graphics for the 13" without drastically increasing the price. I'd buy one up in a heartbeat.
  7. WarpSpawn macrumors member

    May 30, 2011
    I think the fact that some people are already torn as to whether a 13" MBA or Pro would be best for their needs could be a sign that the two models are already treading on each other's toes somewhat. So unless their ultimate aim is to phase out the Pro in favour of the Air, at least for the 13", I can imagine that they might be wary of converging them too much with approaches like thinner, no ODD and putting in an SSD as standard. I would guess that we might see further attempts to cram in as much power as they can for the price and perhaps even a low end ATI (seeing as nVidia seems to be out of favour in the current models) graphics chipset.

    Some reduction in weight and size seems inevitable though, but I doubt they will be reduced by all that much.
  8. Risasi macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2011
    I have both the 2011 13" MBP and MBA. I think that screen size is the sweet spot. And I agree, there is too much overlap between the two 13" choices right now. There are certain things I like about my Pro, but I could easily go without the bonus features and just use an Air instead.
    I'm guessing next year we'll end up with an 11"/13" Air and 15"/17" "Pro" choice, but I half expect that the 15"/17" will be Air like.

    I'm guessing they will keep the "Pro" moniker and it will indicate the machines with the bigger screen, higher res, dedicated GPU, ability to add memory, maybe an optical drive, maybe better battery life. In other words I'm expecting four models next year.

    Hopefully they will release both Air and Pro refreshes at the same time so I know what to buy. I'm leaning toward an Ivy Bridge 13" Air or 15" Pro. But I already know I'm just going to have to wait until they both come out to decide.
  9. riveting macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    Yes, I think the future of macbook pro is macbook air with upgradble ram and ssd and external GPU.
  10. ct2k7 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2008
    London or Florida
    Not close enough. The extreme edition is always there :p
  11. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    For those who wish to cook eggs whilst word processing.
  12. randomrazr macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2011
    packing power hungry powerful parts ina slim design would not work.
  13. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    Yup, 5% extra speed for 20% higher power draw, and much higher cost, of course.

    What's the point?
  14. kolax, Oct 26, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011

    kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    The 2012 redesigned 15" MacBook Pro will look like the Air, only slightly thicker at the top end, and be as thin as the Air at the trackpad end. It will drop the glass from the display, and have an all aluminium bezel, in glossy and matte.

    - 64GB SSD option for storage number 1 (OS, applications, and most recently used files)
    - 500GB and 750GB options for storage number 2 (your non-recently used files, music library, photo library etc)
    - 4GB RAM on low end, 8GB on high end
    - Usual CPU and GPU upgrades, made possible by being thicker than the Air at the top end, but also with more space from lack of optical drive
    - No optical drive anymore
    - Dropping 13" model
    - Only 15" and 17" models now

    I think the most important feature will be the SSD and HDD combo. The SSD will store the OS and applications. But also, it will cache the most recently used files. Any file copied to your Mac will go to the HDD. The OS will then cache that file to the SSD in the background, and it will join a limited list of most recently used. If you open and edit the file, the OS will be using the cached version, and when you save it, it will save to the HDD but also keep the updated version cached to the SSD.

    Essentially, the HDD stores all your documents and files, and the OS decides which ones to cache to the SSD for faster loading. If you load a file that isn't cached, it'll just take longer, but of course, will be cached to the SSD so next time you open it, it'll load far quicker.

    The amount of files that can be cached to the SSD under 'recently used' will be limited by the amount of space available on the 64GB SSD - more apps you have, less space for caching.

    If you had more than 64GB's worth of apps (ignoring the fact that the OS will take up some of that, and formatting), then the rest will appear on the HDD. Again, the OS will decide which ones appear on the SSD and which ones appear on the HDD (most used, and biggest/longest to load will default to SSD).

    To the end user, it will appear that they only have one hard drive. The SSD and HDD won't show up as two drives, but just one. That way, it keeps the experience seamless, and prevent the user from having to decide which hard drive to use.

    Adapted that from previous rumours earlier this year, and I really hope that is something Apple is working on. An SSD+HDD hybrid would be awesome during a time when SSDs are still too expensive.

    Also, if you upgraded the internal HDD to bigger storage, it wouldn't screw anything up, because the OS will just see it as more space for documents, rather than freaking out.

    Tim Cook will announce this as something along the lines of, "we wanted the new MacBook Pro to have the loading speeds of the MacBook Air, but we didn't want to compromise on storage capacities. We think we've solved this problem, during a time when we're still waiting on high capacity SSDs. We've created a hybrid SSD+HDD setup, that gives a seamless experience to the user. To them, it appears as just one hard drive. But under the hood, we've got a 64GB SSD for the OS, applications and recently used documents...." etc.
  15. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    that would be amazing.
  16. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    By eliminating the ODD, you open up a lot of space that can be used for any number of things.

    First, I don't think Apple needs to take the MBP line the thin route. They know "Pros" are more interested in functionality than aesthetics--look at the behemoth Mac Pro as an example.

    I think we could see a few things going forward.

    MacBook Air stays similar to what it is now, but gets faster as time goes on. The 11" model becomes standard and it becomes flatter as technology allows. Storage is sacrificed for RAM, battery and graphics needs. This is acceptable as iCloud becomes more functional.

    The "MacBook" is reintroduced and reimagined in a 13" model that lands between the Air and the Pro in thickness. It offers more storage than the Air for users who use it as their only computer in the form of a traditional HDD. It carries a lower cost as a result of using HDD instead of SSD but is still very attractive looking as an entry level model. SSD or GPU upgrades could be optional for BTO because of the missing optical drive.

    MacBook Pro comes in 15" and 17" varieties. ODD removal allows for some size reduction but not drastic. It combines the SSD strategy of the MBA by building the flash memory right onto the logic board while still offering space for a high capacity HDD. Apps and the OS store automatically on the SSD while files store on the HDD. The larger size allows for better graphics performance, battery, and optional additional HDD/SSD upgrade options.
  17. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Why shouldn't Apple make the MacBook Pro thin/tapered like the Air if they have enough space to cram in high-end components + ventilation? I don't understand people who moan and want a really thick computer.

    And you think the Mac Pro has no aesthetics...?!
  18. Risasi macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2011
    HP Envy, Dell XPS 15z, Samsung Chronos 7, Some of the Asus models look real similar in certain aspects...yeah it has plenty enough aesthetics people are copying it's look.

    I actually do like the looks of the current MBP, but I like the Air also. I don't really care as long as they add more power and at least keep the same weight/balance.

    I'm guessing they will shrink them a little. Probably shave about a half pound off of the 15" and 17". Since I don't think they will have a 13" next refresh I'm going to say they reduce it's weight by 4.5 lbs. :D
  19. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2008
    Nobody asked for a thick computer, what people are worried about is Apple sacrificing components for aesthetics. They DON'T have enough space, the 15" MBP has heat issues and Apple's "official" comment is that the 13" doesn't have space for a discrete GPU.

    Why make the MBP thin at the expense of everything else? Those in need of a thin and light notebook have the MBA. If everything is thin, what do the power users use?
  20. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    Kudos for an excellent well thought out post :)
  21. Rhyalus macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2011
    The future of the MBP hinges on either super cool processors or a completely revamped cooling design.

    Once either of those two things happen, the sky is the limit... they can keep adding CPU and GPU power and I will keep buying.

  22. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    I'd venture that that is the best selling MacBook pro. It really will turn customers away that they've had since the 12" Power Book. They drop the 13" I'll go back to Linux, I don't want an air.
  23. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    You, sir, have just won yourself the internet. :p
  24. mape2k macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2011
    Why the tapered design? It limits the components too much and causes even more heating problems.

    Why not leave it at the same size w/o optical drive. This way, it could get a bigger logic board (housing the SSD memory), bigger battery and even a better heat transfer. This would lower the limitations of the internal components (and therefore maybe give the 13" a dGPU again). I'd say the tapered design will limit hardware components too much. I'd rather have a bigger sized MBP with a lot of capabilities than an ultraportable semi-pro playbook...
  25. HellDiverUK macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Belfast, UK
    Apple just need to work with Samsung or Seagate, who'll make their SSD/HDD hybrid drives better.

    The Momentus XT is already very good with it's tiny 4GB SSD cache. Samsung had a similar drive a while ago.

    If Apple worked with Seagate to develop the Momentus Thin and add maybe a 16GB SSD, that'd be ideal for a thinner ODD-less MacBook Pro.

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