The MacBook Pro has been hotly tipped to receive an update soon and, while it is not clear yet if the changes would be a simple spec upgrade or a complete design refresh, one thing is absolutely certain. Apple is going to move to offering a Solid State Drive (SSD) as the default storage option. Why can we say this with such confidence? You just have to look at the precedence.
First, solid state drives are blisteringly fast. You just have to look at the experiences that people have been having with the MacBook Air, a laptop with an Intel processor that, with the imminent release of Sandy Bridge architecture, is now two generations behind in technology. Yet, the Air ‘appears’ faster than a hard drive based MacBook Pro and the reason is the SSD which essentially removes the bottleneck that we have seen previously when using hard drives. With the Air, users are now seeing their laptops operate at the speed that they were designed to.
Second, flash storage has a lower power consumption than a hard drive and, as a result can increase the battery life dramatically. The 11 inch Air has a battery life of around 5 hours and the 13 inch gives around 7 hours. This is in a laptop that is one of the thinnest that we have seen. Assuming that the MacBook Pro does receive a design refresh soon and moves to a moderately thinner form factor, although probably not as thin as the Air as there’s still a little more technology to fit inside. Apple stated that moving to flash storage in the Air freed up around 90% more space when compared to using a hard drive. Imagine using only a fraction of that space for a bigger, yet more efficient battery, and you move from the current spec of 8-9 hours use on a MacBook Pro into the deepest realms of double figures. We obviously don’t know what new models would be rated at for wireless productivity but it’s a safe bet that it’s going to be a lot longer than 9 hours.
It was reported today that Apple is apparently doubling the order numbers of certain ‘hot-selling’ notebooks (via MacRumors). While this more than likely refers to the Air, a revamped MacBook Pro would fall under this category if the refresh struck a cord with consumers. A move to SSD and a thinner construction would do just that. Apple has invested heavily in flash storage, purchasing large amounts of it for use in their devices. The iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, Apple TV and Mac Air all come with flash memory as standard and Apple has been offering it as an option in their MacBook Pro and iMac for quite some time. The upcoming refresh will cement that migration and 256GB SSD will be the standard option when the new MacBook Pro is launched.