'Radically Redesigned' MacBook Pro for 2012 Simply a Larger MacBook Air?

Sources reveal MacBook Pros may be in for a complete new makeover by the end of 2012, setting "the tone for the next wave of notebook computing."

"People familiar with Apple's roadmap say the Cupertino-based company currently plans to exit 2012 having completed a top-to-bottom revamp of its notebooks lineup that will see new MacBook Pros adopt the same design traits that have made its MacBook Airs an increasingly popular choice among consumers," AppleInsider announced on Friday.

The new professional line will purportedly include an ultra-thin unibody, flash-memory based drives in place of optical disk trays and traditional hard drives like the Airs, instant-on capabilities, extended battery life, and dependence on digital distribution for software and media.

Priority will first go toward redesigning the 15-inch model, with a 17-inch model expected to follow shortly after.

AppleInsider's report is not the first of its kind, however, with previous publications like the DigiTimes revealing last year that Apple would be working on larger versions of their popular Air line, which AppleInsider believes will replace the Pro series.

The Taiwanese IT news site even stated in November that production on the new MacBook Air models were already in motion, with Apple allegedly engaging different manufacturing partners to source parts for their 15-inch Airs. Rumors also slated the release of the new models for early this spring.

"AppleInsider believes that based on its information, leaks out the Far East regarding ultra-thin 15-inch Apple notebook slated to hit the market this spring indeed pertain to Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro makeover, regardless of what marketing name the company ultimately chooses to stamp on its bezel."

The new models will also rely heavily on Thunderbolt and be built around Intel's next generation Ivy Bridge processors, which boast as much as a 60 percent performance boost over current chips.

With their new revamped notebooks, Apple is hoping to model the success of the MacBook Airs, which greatly expanded the company's notebook sales by almost threefold.

Though the MacBook Pro line continues to outsell the Airs, the gap between the two is growing smaller and smaller, AppleInsider also noted.

MacBook Pros have not seen a major external reconstruction since its update to a unibody design in 2008.

In October of 2011, all models of the MacBook Pros, 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch, were quietly updated with larger hard drives and faster Intel processors while still maintaining the original price tag.

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