Last week we reported that the shipping times for the MacBook Pro had slipped in Asian Apple Stores. Now, that delay has been extended to the US Apple Stores to reflect extended shipping times for the MacBook Pro meaning that no new systems will be shipped before the end of the week. This has no doubt been done as a result of the anticipated launch of a new revision of the MacBook Pro which is due to be released this Thursday, 24th February.
The question is whether we should expect many design changes with the new model of the MacBook Pro. While many people expect to see a MacBook Air-like design, we would speculate that the new form factor, while most probably slightly thinner and lighter than the current MacBook Pro, will most likely not change a dramatic amount. The MacBook Pro design is already contemporary and small refinements to it would set it apart from both the previous generation and from the current generation MacBook Air.
Two manufacturing details that we are very unlikely to see are a LiquidMetal case or a slim black plastic case. The aluminum casing on current generations of the Mac is most likely to be retained in the new MacBook Pro for various reasons; it retains the look of the rest of the Mac line up, it is light and strong, it can be produced with relatively low manufacturing costs and it feels expensive, something which black plastic could probably not achieve. Additionally, aluminum construction sets the MacBook Pro apart from many of its competitors. Would consumers really want a black plastic laptop that looks like a Dell or a Sony?
We probably also will not see a LiquidMetal casing at this stage as the expense of producing on that scale would likely preclude that. However, we may see some components of the the new MacBook Pro updated to include LiquidMetal alloys as part of their construction. This could include hinge mechanisms, ports for peripherals such as USB, power or audio and perhaps for internal structures. It is still unclear what Apple’s plans for LiquidMetal are, but the new MacBook Pro will give clues as to what we should expect in the future.