The details come from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with KGI, who has been a reliable source of information on unannounced Apple products. He shared with AppleInsider on Friday the details of an anticipated new notebook line from Apple, which he simply dubbed "MacBook," expected to be unveiled at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference.
Kuo said he believes the new MacBook will be priced starting at $1,199 for the basic 13-inch model. The purported notebook will not have an optical disc drive, and it will be available with either a solid-state drive or a traditional hard-disk drive.
This new MacBook will reportedly be lighter and slimmer than the MacBook Pro, with equal computing power. He also said it will feature a Retina display with a tapered-edge design, as well as a larger battery capacity.
Apple is expected to unveil its new 15-inch MacBook, priced at $1,799 with a hard-disk drive, next week, and the device will go on sale soon after. Kuo said he doesn't expect the new 13-inch $1,199 MacBook to be available until August, as the smaller MacBook has "limited space for thermal dissipation," and will also use a "lower-yield" Retina display than the 15-inch model.
Kuo also predicted on Friday that Apple could discontinue the MacBook Pro lineup entirely if the new MacBook series proves popular enough. He sees the Pro being gradually phased out, but remaining on shelves until 2013.
But he does expect that both the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros will receive upgrades next week, and will go on sale in June, presumably including optical drives as are found on the current models. In addition, he expects Apple to sell new 11- and 13-inch MacBook Airs in June, leaving only the new 13-inch MacBook to launch in August.
Apple previously offered an entry-level white polycarbonate notebook known simply as the "MacBook," but that product was discontinued last year. Kuo's report suggests that Apple intends to resurrect the MacBook name with two new products in the 13- and 15-inch varieties.
Earlier this week, AppleInsider revealed new part numbers that show Apple prepared to refresh a majority of its Mac lineup at WWDC next week. The part numbers suggest that Apple is planning to release at least 13 new Macs, including MacBooks, iMacs and Mac Pros.
Earlier reports had suggested that Apple would update its 15-inch MacBook Pro first, before the 13- and 17 inch models were given thinner designs and higher resolution displays. But if accurate, Friday's latest report would indicate that Apple instead plans to unveil an entirely new 15-inch MacBook next week.