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Apple 17in MacBook Pro 'to debut in June'

Waiting on the right optical drive?

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Apple will launch a 2.16GHz 17in MacBook Pro in June - exactly one year after it formally announced the move to Intel processors. However, there's still no sign that the company will similarly create a MacBook Pro version of its 12in PowerBook G4.

So claim "reliable" sources cited by AppleInsider. According to the website, the 17in notebook's development work has matched that of the Intel-based iBook line-up, but while the consumer laptops are expected to debut in April, the availability of suitably slimline 8x DVD±RW drives for the 17in model - Apple's flagship notebook, after all - may well be holding up the product's introduction.

That's surprising. The 17in MacBook Pro is said to be as thick as the 15in model - 2.5cm (1in). Now, while the 15in Intel-based model is thinner than the 15in PowerBook G4 - the older machine is 2.8cm (1.1in), 3mm thicker - the 17in PowerBook G4 is already 2.5cm thick and already incorporates an 8x SuperDrive.

Of course, the 2.16GHz Core Duo CPU's cooling requirements may necessitate a very different internal layout than that needed by the 1.67MHz G4, so we can't confirm at this stage that the Intel-based model is able to use the same drive as the PowerPC machine. Certainly, the 15in MacBook Pro uses a slower, 4x SuperDrive, possibly because it's slimmer, but we can't also rule out cost factors - or because past 8x drives have been claimed not to operate consistently at 8x - as the reason for including a 4x unit. ®

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