MacBook Pro 2012 refresh set for Air-like thinness, next-gen specs

Apple will radically revamp its MacBook Pro line of notebooks this year, according to sources familiar with the company's plans for 2012. The new MacBook Pros are expected to feature an ultra-thin unibody design modeled after the MacBook Air and get a spec boost to Intel's next-gen Ivy Bridge chips.

Citing a source familiar with the new MacBook Pro design, AppleInsider reveals that the new Air-like MacBook Pros will be phased in over the course of this year. The revamped version of the more popular 15-inch model will be introduced first, followed by the 17-inch model later.

For the new notebooks, Apple is expected to eliminate optical disk drives and traditional hard drives, replacing them with solid-state drives. They will rely heavily on Thunderbolt for data transfer as well as digitally distributed software and media, such as downloads from the Mac App Store

The notebooks will feature extended battery life, instant-on capabilities, and Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge chips that are set to ship in April. However, it's not clear whether the new Apple notebooks will be branded as MacBook Airs or MacBook Pros.

[via AppleInsider]