Is Apple Getting Ready to Discontinue the 17-inch MacBook Pro?

The 17-inch MacBook might not be long for this world. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with KGI Securities, there's a good chance Apple will decide to discontinue the 17-inch SKU following an upcoming refresh, MacRumors reports. As buyers look to go smaller and lighter, Apple may ultimately decide to stop selling 17-inch models, which aren't as popular as the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models.

According to the research note obtained by MacRumors, Kuo expects Apple to unveil a fully new MacBook model sometime in the third quarter of 2012, and sooner rather than later. The new model will boast "strong performance and easy carryability by combining the advantages of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro." If that's indeed the direction Apple takes, then it's easy to see why a bigger and bulkier 17-inch model may no longer be in the cards. Plus, it's a numbers game.

Kuo estimates that Apple sold about 3.1 million notebooks in the first quarter of 2012, and of those about half them belonged to the 13-inch category. By comparison, he believes Apple sold around 500,000 15-inch MacBook Pro models, and just 50,000 of the 17-inch models, making it far and away the least popular size.

Pricing for the 17-inch MacBook Pro currently starts at $2,499.