The MacBook Pros are due for an update. The last spec bump was in October. The latest rumor making the rounds is that Apple's mid-range MacBook Pros (read: 15-inch models) could end up with just underpowered Intel integrated graphics that come with the Ivy Bridge processors.
According to SemiAccurate, Apple is scrapping plans to include Nvidia Kepler GPUs in its new MacBook Pros because the company can't crank them out fast enough. Uh oh.
Current MacBook Pros with dedicated GPUs (15-inch and 17-inch models) use AMD graphics. 13-inch MacBook Pros only have Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics. The difference between performance is night and day. Dedicated graphics will always trump integrated because they offer more horsepower to do more resource-intensive tasks such as rendering or video editing.
At the same time, integrated graphics use a lot more power than dedicated GPUs.
SemiAccurate says that the plan isn't a done deal yet (but it's just about done, because it's late in the game to secure supplies). The 17-inch MacBook Pros will likely still have some kind of AMD graphics, but the two lower models might be stuck with some form of Intel integrated graphics.
Looks like Apple might be yanking the "Pro" out of the MacBook Pro name.
Honestly, the news doesn't surprise us. With strong rumors pointing to 15-inch MacBook Airs, there just wouldn't be enough room for dedicated GPUs and a decent battery. And considering how well my 13-inch 2011 MacBook Air is holding up with its wimpy Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics (all those Xbox Live videos are edited with it), we'd say most people would prefer portability and decent performance over high-end with added weight.
Maybe the pricing will come down on these upcoming "ill-eqipped" MacBook Pros.