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Thursday, March 15, 2012, 05:22 am PT (08:22 am ET)

Apple's thinner 15-inch MacBook Pro rumored to debut in April with Ivy Bridge i5, i7 CPUs

Apple's new 15-inch MacBook Pros will be thinner than current models but thicker than a MacBook Air, and will feature Intel's latest Ivy Bridge Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs when they launch next month, according to a new report.

A "reliable source in the Far East Asian supply chain" relayed to How To Arena that Apple is planning to release a new, thinner 15-inch MacBook Pro by the end of April. The details corroborate with a separate report that surfaced on Wednesday, though there remains confusion as to whether the new notebook will be a "Pro" or an "Air."

Thursday's newest take said the new 15-inch MacBook Pros will be powered by Core i5 and Core i7 Ivy Bridge processors. That would be a change from the existing Sandy Bridge-based MacBook Pros, as both 15-inch models feature high-end Core i7 processors, while an Intel Core i5 CPU is found in the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Thursday's report said it is "not clear" if Apple plans to introduce a new MacBook Pro with an entry-level Core i3 Ivy Bridge CPU from Intel. It's possible that, like the current MacBook Pro lineup, all of the company's "Pro" laptops could feature only Core i5 and Core i7 processors.

Finally, the anonymous supply chain source also reportedly indicated that the new 15-inch MacBook Pro will be "thicker than currently available MacBook Airs but thinner than MacBook Pros."

Thursday's report does stand in contrast to the earlier rumor on Wednesday from Electricpig, which characterized the forthcoming notebook update as a 15-inch MacBook Air, rather than a MacBook Pro. The confusion likely stems from the fact that Apple's next MacBook Pros are expected to feature the same design as the ultraportable MacBook Air and ditch the optical disc drive to create a thinner device.

MacBook Lineup

An illustration of Apple's notebook lineup planned for the 2012 calendar year.


AppleInsider reported in February that this year Apple will radically redesign its MacBook Pro lineup with thinner chassis. A person familiar with the new designs said "they're all going to look like MacBook Airs."

But earlier reports dating back to last year have claimed that Apple is looking to expand its MacBook Air lineup with a new 15-inch model that is expected to launch in the coming months. It's possible that these products are one and the same, with the only question being whether the MacBooks will be branded "Pro" or "Air."