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Apple readies revamped 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display & super-fast USB 3.0

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Apple is putting the finishing touches on an entirely new 15-inch MacBook Pro that is the outcome of years of research and development in ultra-thin mobile computing and super-high-resolution displays. According to trusted sources in Apple’s supply chain, who have handled prototype components and casings for the new Apple notebook, the computer is currently undergoing test production rounds. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is coming this summer, and it features an ultra-thin design, a “jaw-dropping” Retina Display, and super-fast USB 3.

The revamped design:
While many have speculated that the new 15-inch MacBook Pro will pickup the design from the late-2010/mid-2011 MacBook Air, sources familiar with the prototype units say that this is untrue. Instead, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro is described as being an ultra-thin version of the current MacBook Pro. Basically, the prototype design is a flattened, yet more robust, version of the late-2008 design. It has no tapering like the MacBook Airs. This new design serves as an apparent solution to Apple’s hinge troubles with the cancelled ultra-thin 15-inch notebook for late 2010.

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As the MacBook Air pioneered, and the latest Mac mini models have followed, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro loses the optical drive in order to reach Apple’s new standard for notebook thinness. Apple has made it clear that professionals could lose the optical drive in favor of the wildly popular Mac App Store for software installations. Take Final Cut Pro X or Aperture for example. For those few who still need an optical drive, Apple has been selling a USB Superdrive since the first-generation MacBook Air launched.

While the new MacBook Pro does not take all of the external design cues from the current MacBook Air, it does adopt the tweaked MacBook Air keyboard design with the power button on the keyboard itself (which replaces the disc eject key). This is according to the sources who are familiar with the components being installed into the new casings. Current MacBook Pros have a round aluminum power button to the top right above the keyboard. The rest of the design is basically what we are all familiar with: charging and connection ports along the sides, and a spacious glass Multi-Touch trackpad (either same or similar in size to the current MacBook Pro and MacBook Air trackpads based on the cutout present in the prototype unibodies).

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The current prototype unibody casings going through test production have spaces for a charging port, two USB ports, two audio in/out-sized ports, and the battery meter on the left side. The right side is said to have cutouts for two Thunderbolt-sized ports, an SD card slot, and another USB port. Notably, these prototype unibodies lack room for Ethernet (Apple sells adapters since the MacBook Air lacks an Ethernet port). We’re unsure about Firewire but that could also be gone.

Introducing the Mac Retina Display:
Apple will also introduce the Mac Retina Display in this new MacBook Pro, according to these sources in the far-east. The display is quoted as “jaw-dropping” and “definitely the most important Mac innovation in years,” by sources familiar with the quality of the screens in test-production.

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When the Retina Display on the 3.5 inch screen of the iPhone 4 launched in mid-2010, people were shocked at how gorgeous a screen could be. When the third-generation iPad launched earlier this year with its 9.7 inch 2048 x 1536 Retina Display, people were again amazed by how brilliant colors could appear and how sharp text could seem. With that in mind, imagine the sharpness of text and the beauty of images on a 15-inch professional Retina Display-packing notebook.

USB 3 finally making its way to the Mac:
Also a new addition to the MacBook Pro (and actually to the Mac itself) is a USB 3 port. Apple has long been testing Macs with USB 3 ports, but it sounds like the new MacBook Pro will be the first to actually sport the next-generation connector.

Image Credit & Source: 9to5Mac
 
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