Light-as-Air MacBook Pros to ship this year?

Apple's current line-up of Macbook Airs, the lightweight form of which the next MacBook Pro may seek to emulate

"They're all going to look like MacBook Airs." This is the message from Apple Insider's source - reportedly familiar with the design of the forthcoming MacBook Pro - as to the form that the forthcoming premium Apple notebooks will take.

Pros presently ship in 13-, 15- and 17- inch models, so the tip would seem to suggest that 2012 may see the launch of larger-screen laptops with the attractive wafer-thin form of the MacBook Air (including a 17-inch model), albeit with the weightier price tags that come attached to the Pro. Consumers swayed by the lightweight Air have thus far been limited to a choice between 11- and 13-inch models, but it seems that slimline notebook-seekers fatter of wallet will see their options multiply before 2013.

There's no obvious reason to question Apple Insider's source, and the claims make some intuitive sense. Though MacBook Pros are subject to annual internal hardware refreshes, the design of their bodies has remained nearly static since 2008. With the popularity of the Air, and consumers in general seemingly eager for lightweight machines, it's a move that would make perfect sense, provided there are no technical limitations.

If true, the development might prove frustrating to Windows notebook manufacturers that are only now coming close to matching the Air's trifecta of performance, price and (relative) affordability. Current MacBook Pros start at US$1199, and if Apple can come up with an Air-style 13-inch Pro model with a significant spec advantage over the regular Air, all while staying at or near $1199, it will effectively have moved the Ultrabook goalposts.

It will be some technical feat if Apple Insider is on the money. One question, though? Where will all those ports go?

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