Apple took the wraps of its latest generation notebooks at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference and much of the attention was diverted to the newly announced MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Though it was not showcased at the event, Apple did in fact refresh the Mac Pro line up as well, but the upgrade was so minute that it did not warrant a mention at the event. However, this all seems to be changing as it appears that Apple will be preparing a new line up of Mac computers by 2013. Files within Mountain Lion indicate that there will be new versions of the Mac Pro and iMac desktops and these upgrades will consist of the removal of the optical drive, a report by Apple Insider states.

Bring me my hammer...

2013 edition may come without an optical drive

Commenting on the possibility of an updated Mac Pro, Apple Insider states, “Two of the models in the USB-boot support listing refer to Macs that haven't been released yet: the MP60 (the six generation Mac Pro, or MacPro6,x) and IM130 (pointing to the 13th generation iMac, or iMac13,x). The current Mac Pro, updated only slightly in June during Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, hasn't changed enough over the previous model for Apple to assign it a new architecture designation; it is still internally referred to as the “Mac Pro 5,1” just like the Mac Pros that originally shipped back in August 2010.” The report goes on to add, “While removing its optical drive would do much less to save space and thickness compared to Apple's notebook designs, it's likely that an all new Apple desktop aimed at professionals would rethink its use of slow, bulky and essentially obsolete optical drive devices and perhaps instead incorporate high performance SSD RAID options for a reduced profile.”

In June, in a letter to a Mac Pro customer regarding a concern about the Mac Pro refresh, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has stated that Apple was working on an update for that particular line up of desktops. He stated, “Our Pro customers like you are really important to us. Although we didn’t have a chance to talk about a new Mac Pro at today’s event, don’t worry as we’re working on something really great for later next year. We also updated the current model today. We’ve been continuing to update Final Cut Pro X with revolutionary pro features like industry leading multi-cam support and we just updated Aperture with incredible new image adjustment features. We also announced a MacBook Pro with a Retina Display that is a great solution for many pros.”

Commenting on the removal of the optical disc drive, Apple Insider states, “The appearance of new Mac Pro and iMac models in the USB booting support list doesn't definitively mean the models won't have optical drives, as it also lists MacBook and MacBook Pro models that do incorporate an optical drive. At the same time, Apple has clearly indicated in the newest Mac mini and Retina Display MacBook Pro that it plans to get rid of optical disc drives as soon as possible across the board, providing an external USB drive as an option for users who need one. Users increasingly have fewer opportunities to use optical drives, as the bulk of third party software is now available as a digital download either directly from the vendor or through Apple's App Store. Apple also sees digital distribution as the future of music and movies, as exemplified in Apple TV, which has never included an optical drive.”

If these reports are true, then by next year we could see a major upgrade to the Mac desktops. And since Apple appears to be adding Retina Display to all its products, the brand may incorporate this feature on its desktop line up as well.

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