When first we heard whispers of a lean & lithe Air-like 15" Mac laptop, it seemed possible that we'd see them in stores before the end of this year. That may not happen, but according to Digitimes' reports from the supplier chain, the first bits and pieces for such a machine may already be shipping to Apple in small quantities.
The story suggests that the ultralight 15" portable (we still think it will be called a MacBook Pro, not an Air, but obviously it could go either way) would be ready for "mass shipment" in March of 2012. Plenty of current MacBook Pro owners who are longing for the portability of the Air but who still need the screen real estate of a larger form factor machine would probably trade some storage space and an optical drive for a speedy SSD and a lighter overall load.
Since Apple's current MacBook Air models (now making up more than a quarter of all Mac laptop shipments) are already taking the wind out of the ultrabook order count, it wouldn't be surprising to see this hypothetical new machine launch with a lot of fanfare. The current MacBook Pro line was last refreshed on October 24, which would put a March reboot at the five-month mark; not so tight, especially considering that the October updates were not much more than a speed & spec bump. It's expected that the full-size MacBook Pro models will move to Intel's delayed Ivy Bridge architecture sometime next year.
[via Mac Rumors]