MacBook Pros, what to expect, when

Part 1 of New Apple MacBook Series:
MacBook
MacBook Air

MacBook Pros seem like a lock for the October 14th - ish time frame that Jon Gruber predicts. I had originally heard late September but things appear to have slid slightly. In any case, it has been a reaaalllllly long time since Apple upgraded the MacBook Pros. For those of you old enough remember the Titanium Powerbook, that was the last major design of the professional Apple Laptop.

At Macworld 2003, Apple released the current design of MacBook Pro (Powerbook at the time)...as you can see from the other products introduced/available at that time, it has been a long while - and not much has changed.

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This five plus year design refresh is both a testament to the forward-looking design at the time and concurrantly an uncharacteristic lack of design innovation over the past five years by Apple. Look at the specs!

So what will transpire at the MacBook Pro event on October 14th - give or take a few weeks? What can we expect to see in the new designs?

  • Totally new case design. Forged from one piece of aluminum taking "rounder, skinnier" design cues from the MacBook Air.
  • 16:9 LED screens. Out with the old, in with the new. The backlight lamp - CCFL with mercury (never mind that the whole world is moving to CCFL house lighting - baby steps I guess) are out. LEDs are in. 16:9 will bring new laptop sizes as well. Will a higher resolution 16 inch display take over as the standard and an 18.4 inch monster grace the high end? All signs point to yes. Apple could pull a stunner and release a 14.1 inch screen Pro model as well.
  • 3G Wireless technology. This is an area where Apple has been hopelessly trailing the industry. With gained experience from the iPhone internals, I'm hoping Apple gives us a 3G option with a strong antenna. That way people with three year old Dell's don't laugh at us when we have to pull out our un-sexy dongles. Want to one up the rest, Apple? WiMAX.
  • Trackpad. I've heard multi-touch glass. But glass's transparancy opens up more options. Will there be a screen under the glass? Will the option to put widgets like the calculator in that screen be given? Or is it just to use the capacitance qualities of glass over the current materials...we'll known a month
  • Keyboard. I'd expect something similar to the Air or the Apple Bluetooth. Nothing too revolutionary...but Apple might throw us for a loop with some Optimous keyboard OLEDs to go with that glass trackpad.
  • Video out. I'd expect HDMI to be an option (yes I know a DVI/audio-HDMI adapter is like $10) but as a nod to the HD crowd, Apple might include it next to the mini DVI port. I'd appreciate the gesture.
  • GPS. Woud be nice but there aren't any Mac apps that would take advantage of this. Yet.
  • Blu-Ray. This I am not so sure on...maybe as an option. Kevin Rose certainly thinks so and he's been pretty spot-on lately. Apple really wants people buying HD movies through iTunes. I would like it as a backup and storage mechanism. If I need to give someone 50Gb of data, I'd like to have that option. Although, 32Gb USB keys are here so maybe this isn't that important. What if Apple forgoes the internal optical and offers the Air/External package?
  • SSD option. I have to believe Apple will offer this as an option. With Flash prices plummeting and Apple's iPod buying power they can make the math work. I would like to see a 128Gb premium option. Can't I have both SSD and HDD?
  • HD Camera. Would be cool. The current MacBook Pro camera can be taken way past the 640x480 size that is currently allowed but I'd love to see 1080p. Then for those of us on crazy bandwidth, iChatHD™. PhotobootHD™. Just as an FYI, the current cameras can record in bigger than 720P.
  • Processors. It looks like the Centrino 2 processors will hit at the same GHz frequency but be slightly faster per clock cycle than the current Penryns. The 45nm chips are also more power efficient but have faster 1066MHz (vs. current 800MHz) front side bus support - which will work with faster RAM. As an aside, Centrino 2 can support 2GB of Turbo Memory, flash memory designed to speed up commonly used applications. It also has built-in support for high-definition video playback, HDMI, and DisplayPort - but Apple will likely bundle a dedicated video card.
  • RAM. It is cheap. Let me go to 8Gb for the street price of $160. Right.
  • Cost? Approximately the same price points. The MacBook Pro isn't an area where Apple is selling to the everyman...that is later this week.
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Some supposed leaked shots of the new MacBook shells

Like I said, we should know in a matter of weeks...you have anything to add?

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