Apple will discontinue the 17in MacBook Pro upon the arrival of a completely new, thinner and more powerful MacBook model, according to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

MacRumors reports that Kuo, who previously predicted a white iPod touch and the end of the MacBook correctly, believes that low sales of the 17in MacBook Pro have led Apple to the decision to drop the model from its MacBook line-up.

In a report published on 22 April, Kuo said: “Apple will roll out a fully new MacBook model in early 3Q12, boasting strong performance and easy carryability by combining the advantages of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.”

“While adding new products, Apple is likely to stop making the 17in MacBook Pro this year due to falling shipments in order to maintain a lean product line strategy,” Kuo added.

Kuo predicts a boost in Mac sales in the second quarter of 2012, and says that this boost will be caused by three main factors: “ (1) Mountain Lion, which integrates iOS features with Mac OS, Apple’s TV’s interaction function, will be launched in June; (2) upgrading to Ivy Bridge; and (3) back-to school demand. We forecast Apple will sell 5.32 million units of the Mac series (up 28.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 35.2 per cent year-on-year) in 2Q12, making it the main growth driver.”

Rumours of an entirely redesigned MacBook have been circulating for a while now, with reports that Mac sales have been less than expected in the lead up to a new MacBook launch.

Kuo mentions Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processors as one of the factors that could boost Apple’s Mac sales. Intel announced that the processors will be available on 29 April, and experts predict that Apple will be one of the first manufacturers to launch an Ivy Bridge equipped laptop.

It is expected that the MacBook Air-like MacBook Pro will be thinner, and could have a Retina display. Traditional hard disk drives could be scrapped in favour of SSDs.

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