Apple To Axe the 17-inch MacBook Pro?

Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities Research has rung another death knell for Apple’s 17-inch MacBook Pro. The Cupertino-based electronics giant appears to be planning a major revamp of its entire laptop computer line, and its 17-inch desktop replacement could be the first certain victim.

In a report by AppleInsider, Kuo earlier outlined the possible release of a brand-new MacBook with a slimmer, lighter and tapered chassis, Retina display and similar performance to the MacBook Pro line. He even hinted that if the new MacBooks will prove sufficiently popular, the entire MacBook Pro will be dropped.

However, Apple is still likely to unveil refreshes for the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro at the World Wide Developers’ Conference. It will be difficult to rapidly phase out these models, given their massive share in the firm’s total laptop sales. Kuo estimated that the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros account for a whopping 62.9% of Apple’s sales of laptops. In contrast, the 17-inch model’s low sales ranking – only 1.7 percent of the total – makes it the logical target for immediate retirement.

Due to their remarkable popularity, the remaining MacBook Pro models could stay in production and only be gradually phased out starting 2013. By that time, Apple could start to gradually reduce supplies to give the new MacBooks a push at retail.

Kuo has been spot-on in some of his earlier predictions on Apple product cancellations. He was among the earliest to forecast the retirement of the older, plastic unibody MacBook in 2011.