Next 15-inch MacBook said to have USB 3.0 and Retina display

Now that quad-core Ivy Bridge processors are out and dual-core variants are on the way, Apple is surely on the verge of introducing next-gen Macs. It's no surprise, then, to see the rumor mill abuzz with fresh details. One of the latest reports, by the folks at 9to5Mac, claims Apple is prepping an ultra-slim 15" MacBook Pro with USB 3.0 support and a Retina display.

Reportedly, the machine will feature a "thinner, yet more robust" version of the existing chassis, but it won't have a tapered front edge like the MacBook Air. Rumor has it the system will also have USB 3.0 connectivity alongside Thunderbolt—not an unlikely prediction, considering Intel's 7-series chipsets have SuperSpeed USB connectivity built in. And of course, 9to5Mac expects a high-DPI "Retina" display... but with an interesting twist:

Sources familiar with software strings left behind in OS X Lion 10.7.4 and Mountain Lion betas say that this Retina Display MacBook Pro features multiple Retina resolution modes, so users are able to adjust the sharpness and image sizes to their liking. Unlike Mac display settings of today, these Retina Display settings will not be marked with numbers/resolution sizes, but with descriptions such as big, small, or optimal, according to these software-based findings.

Leaked benchmarks also suggest the upcoming 15" MacBook Pro refresh will pack a quad-core Core i7-3820QM processor (a 45W mobile Ivy Bridge variant), and 9to5Mac mentions the possibility of Nvidia GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics making it in, too.

That all sounds rather nice, especially the Retina display part. I have to admit, though, I'll be more interested to see what kinds of next-gen 13-inch systems Apple has up its sleeve. We'll probably find out soon enough. Word is that Apple will unveil the new machines at the Worldwide Developer Conference on June 11.

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