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Thunderbolt connector
Apple shows off its '11 MacBook Pro notebooks

Apple today released a revamped MacBook Pro lineup. Those expecting fresh new case designs and SSD boot drives will be disappointed.

The smallest member of the MacBook Pro lineup, the 13" model, is finally moving into the modern era by ditching its base Core 2 Duo processor for a Core i5 processor running at 2.3GHz. Standard storage capacity has been bumped from 250GB to 320GB and the standard 4GB of DDR3 memory is now running at 1333MHz. 

While the sleek 13" MacBook Air is sporting a 1400x900 display, the 13" MacBook Pro still soldiers on with a 1280x800 display. When it comes to graphics, Apple has ditched the NVIDIA GeForce discrete graphics for the on-chip Intel HD 3000 graphs solution with 384MB of shared memory. 

Other features worth noting are FaceTime HD (triple the resolution of the previous FaceTime camera), support for SDXC memory cards, and an implementation of Intel's Light Peak that it dubs "Thunderbolt". 

“Thunderbolt is a revolutionary new I/O technology that delivers an amazing 10 gigabits per second and can support every important I/O standard which is ideal for the new MacBook Pro," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

Apple further describes ThunderBolt:

Thunderbolt enables expandability never before possible on a notebook computer. Featuring two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to an amazing 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays. Freely available for implementation on systems, cables and devices, Thunderbolt technology is expected to be widely adopted as a new standard for high performance I/O.

The 15" and 17" MacBook Pros also get processors upgrades, and both are now available with quad-core Core i7 processors (2.0GHz in the 15" model, 2.3GHz in the 17" model). Like their little 13" brother, the 15" and 17" MacBook Pros also gain SDXC slots and Thunderbolt. Standard storage on the 15” and 17” MacBook Pros are 500GB and 750GB respectively. 

The biggest news for the two largest members of the MacBook Pro family is the removal of NVIDIA discrete GPUs to accommodate new AMD Radeon graphics. The 15" model comes packing a standard Radeon HD 6490M with 256MB of memory while the 17" is equipped with a Radeon 6750M with 1GB of memory.

As is typically the case with Apple's notebooks, the latest MacBook Pros will cost you quite a bit more than comparable Windows 7-based machines. The 13" MacBook Pro still starts at $1,199 -- Apple also offers a 13" MacBook Pro with a 2.7GHz Core i7 processor and 500GB HDD for $1,499. The 15" MacBook Pro starts at $1,799 and the 17" MacBook Pro starts at $2,499.

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It's 2011...
By TheRequiem on 2/24/2011 9:37:33 AM , Rating: 5
And there still isn't blu-ray...

RE: It's 2011...
By Shadowself on 2/24/11, Rating: -1
RE: It's 2011...
By BrandtTheMan on 2/24/2011 9:55:41 AM , Rating: 5
Apple just does not give a damn about customers.


RE: It's 2011...
By Tony Swash on 2/24/11, Rating: -1
RE: It's 2011...
By MeesterNid on 2/24/11, Rating: -1
RE: It's 2011...
By NellyFromMA on 2/24/2011 10:10:30 AM , Rating: 2
Fact: You don't have to care about your customers to sell product with mass-appeal. Also, Jersey Shore somehow manages to have mass-appeal, I doubt that makes it any more credible. Not hating, just saying...

RE: It's 2011...
By Denigrate on 2/24/2011 10:24:17 AM , Rating: 1
So that's why they have a whopping 5-6% of the market on the "PC" side of things?

RE: It's 2011...
By BSMonitor on 2/24/2011 11:57:33 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe a couple years ago, I think they are over 12% now.. Maybe more in the U.S... I think they were #3 PC maker in U.S. or close to it.

RE: It's 2011...
By Denigrate on 2/24/2011 12:06:54 PM , Rating: 4
Google is your friend. Looking at 5% share for Macs.

RE: It's 2011...
By omnicronx on 2/24/2011 1:18:52 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention that study is based on web usage. Considering Apple does not make any servers anymore (and were few and far between before that), that number is most likely smaller in the grand scheme of things. (i.e servers and workstations)

RE: It's 2011...
By BSMonitor on 2/24/2011 1:22:36 PM , Rating: 2
What does web usage have to do with PC sales?

RE: It's 2011...
By omnicronx on 2/24/2011 1:36:37 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know you tell me, what does install base have to do with sales? Clearly no link there..


RE: It's 2011...
By BSMonitor on 2/24/2011 1:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
Install base using the internet.... Good catch.

RE: It's 2011...
By BSMonitor on 2/24/2011 2:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, < 6% global.. Their large gains were a particular quarter and mostly US. My bad.

RE: It's 2011...
By Tony Swash on 2/24/2011 5:25:58 PM , Rating: 2
While you guys have been staring fondly in the rear view mirror at a landscape rapidly fading into history the rest of the world has been moving forwards.

And we just passed an interesting new landmark.

Apple has just retaken the crown as the world's biggest computer maker.

See here

I know there will be squeals from the terminally nostalgic, 'iPads are not computers', 'iPhones are not computers', 'the only real computers are big and sit on a desk', blah blah.

Meanwhile things move forward and times change. At some point in the next couple of years, probably sooner rather than later, total smart phones, tablets and pocket devices will pass 'old PC' sales, the number of people accessing the net not using traditional PCs will soar pass the numbers still using old style PCs and then keep on accelerating. The curmudgeonly out of date techies will moan about things changing too fast, and how nobody treats PCS with the respect they deserve, and how it was all so much better back in the days.

RE: It's 2011...
By Alexstarfire on 2/24/2011 9:07:27 PM , Rating: 2
I think the difference between tablets/phones and PCs is functionality. Even something like a laptop provides far more functionality than a device like the iPad/Xoom does. Will that change in the future? Probably, but I'm not psychic so IDK how it's going to change. I would imagine they will become more like PCs, but I don't think they'll ever officially qualify as a PC. The software might come up to PC quality, but the hardware will simply never reach it. The form factor simply won't allow it.

I wouldn't doubt that these devices will surpass traditional PCs. A PC would be something like a deluxe Swiss Army knife. Does anything and everything you could possibly imagine. Problem is, people don't need to do anything and everything you can imagine every day. These tablets/phones/consumer electronic devices try to include the things that people do the most and put it in a mobile platform.

RE: It's 2011...
By Tony Swash on 2/25/11, Rating: 0
RE: It's 2011...
By Alexstarfire on 2/25/2011 11:37:50 AM , Rating: 3
Pretty sure it's almost never going to be a small niche. Businesses will be using them for decades to come simply because people are far more productive on them.

RE: It's 2011...
By leuNam on 3/2/2011 1:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them." Tony Jobs

RE: It's 2011...
By TypeS on 2/25/2011 7:08:06 AM , Rating: 2
The day that tablets/mobile phones actually take the place of a latpop/mainstream computer, is the day people realize Apple's iPad is awesome in UI experience but completely useless connectivity wise unless you go out buy an expensive docking station for it or overpriced adapters.

RE: It's 2011...
By omnicronx on 2/24/2011 1:31:03 PM , Rating: 2
So what exactly are you trying to imply? That popularity and adhering consumer demands must be tied to one another?

You have much to learn young Padawan...

RE: It's 2011...
By leuNam on 3/2/2011 12:35:22 PM , Rating: 1
Tony again and Apple.. what's new?!

RE: It's 2011...
By MeesterNid on 2/24/2011 10:12:34 AM , Rating: 4
Blu-ray and other optical media are moving closer to obsolescence as more and more high-bandwidth internet access options become available. I'd rather they take out even the existing DVD drive and replace it with a second HDD, while giving you an option to have an external USB DVD drive...that's what I did on my own in my MacBook Pro.

I'm sure there are folks that use and like blu-ray on their laptop, but I would assume that most people would want to watch a 1080p movie on their TV instead of a 17" screen.

RE: It's 2011...
By TheRequiem on 2/24/2011 10:16:59 AM , Rating: 2
What about the 200 blu-ray movies I already own? Does this makes sense for me? Yes, for the future, when we actually have 1080p quality downlaods, I'll be there, but we don't so this is severely lacking because of blu-ray.

RE: It's 2011...
By Taft12 on 2/24/2011 11:52:47 AM , Rating: 2
Are you telling me you're a DT poster who hasn't already ripped their Blu-ray collection?

And even you are, thank God for these:

Your needs are niche enough for Apple be safe foregoing the Bluray drive.

RE: It's 2011...
By bah12 on 2/24/2011 12:11:01 PM , Rating: 3
Are you telling me you're a DT poster who hasn't already ripped their Blu-ray collection?
The courts have made it clear that doing, even for a disc you own, is illegal. So chastising him for wanting to get LEGAL use out of his existing collection is pretty harsh. Sure I rip mine as well, but the courts have already ruled that it is illegal to bypass the encryption, and I do so at my own risk. They did not in any way address your right to make a back up copy, simply that you cannot bypass encryption to do it. Stupid yes, but if he wants to be 100% law abiding, that is unfortunately the law.

RE: It's 2011...
By Pirks on 2/24/11, Rating: -1
RE: It's 2011...
By omnicronx on 2/24/2011 1:39:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yawn.. assume it was legal. BD's can be up to 50GB, so clearly no feasible for most users, regardless of the law.

RE: It's 2011...
By bah12 on 2/24/2011 2:25:56 PM , Rating: 1
Good attitude, can you post your address and contact information. See if your F the courts attitude holds up when you get hit with a $100K fine or some alone time with your cell partner "Bubba".

Don't get me wrong I don't like it either (in fact I've been ripping mine for years), but I don't think the "hey just do this illegal thing" is a good fit for everyone. At this price level they should have a blu-ray drive PERIOD.

I just don't think blatantly advising people to rip their blu-rays is a good practice, without informing them of the potential legal issues.

RE: It's 2011...
By Pirks on 2/24/11, Rating: 0
RE: It's 2011...
By TheRequiem on 2/24/2011 2:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
Ran out of space, 200 blu-rays needs a lot of memory. ;-)

RE: It's 2011...
By Smilin on 2/24/2011 2:40:51 PM , Rating: 2
1080p downloads are available now on Zune.

...which again Mac doesn't have. I *think* Amazon offers 1080i which is almost as good depending on the type of movie.

RE: It's 2011...
By tamalero on 3/1/2011 2:14:44 PM , Rating: 2
I think that question is answered if you look back at the whole HD-DVD fiasco.
there were tons of vids.. all useless now.
I bet blu-ray will have a similar fate, and massadopt internet streaming or downloads.

RE: It's 2011...
By theapparition on 2/24/2011 10:47:43 AM , Rating: 5
Apple doesn't get a piece out of each Blu-ray sold, but they would get a piece out of each HD movies sold on iTunes.

Follow the money, that's all you ever have to do.

RE: It's 2011...
By BernardP on 2/24/2011 10:54:26 AM , Rating: 2
You nailed it.

RE: It's 2011...
By BSMonitor on 2/24/2011 11:59:34 AM , Rating: 2
On top of that, they do not control the ever changing blu-ray encryption mechanism.. Apple wait on updates from Sony or whomever runs that show.. Come on!

RE: It's 2011...
By TheRequiem on 2/24/2011 2:57:23 PM , Rating: 2
This is not true, half of the blu-ray's I own have a digital copy (but less quality) of the movie for iTunes, so I know they are making money on those... I still think they are missing the point of the consumer. Just release blu-ray, is it really going to hurt them? I would think that it would help them due to the fact that the computer has blu-ray and 10's of thousands of people have been waiting for it to come to Mac.

RE: It's 2011...
By omnicronx on 2/24/2011 4:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
Just release blu-ray, is it really going to hurt them?
Of course its going to hurt them, it will hurt their margins and bottom line because the technology costs more to implement.

A PC maker can just increase the price, with Apple pricing already higher than most PC's, do you really think they can justify another price increase to recoup the costs?

As another poster noted, just follow the money. They could care less what consumers want if it means more cash in the bank.

RE: It's 2011...
By clevere1 on 2/24/2011 10:45:21 AM , Rating: 2
I bet it has to do with the licensing required to get do bluray. Apple just doesn't want to pay it.

RE: It's 2011...
By quiksilvr on 2/24/2011 12:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
Not true. They are pushing their streaming rental business and don't want their precious Mac owners to defect to Blu ray.

Apple needed Blu ray years ago when streaming HD was still a pipe dream.

Now that boat has come and gone and doing it now would be pointless.

RE: It's 2011...
By Pirks on 2/24/11, Rating: 0
RE: It's 2011...
By Solandri on 2/24/2011 1:50:18 PM , Rating: 2
Optical disks are dead anyway, I get all my stuff from the net (torrent/netflix/steam/etc etc) and when I need to transfer stuff between PCs it's USB stick/MP3 player/portable supercheapo 250GB external USB 2.5" HDD/etc etc, or the net itself
Only the Luddites need optical stuff these days.

Obviously you're not involved in a business which requires you to give data to many customers cheaply. A lot of my friends are photographers, and they would go broke if they gave customers their work on USB sticks or external HDDs, or paid for the network bandwidth to disseminate the amount of data they do. I see a similar requirement for videographers, small software shops, musicians (they still sell homebrew CDs of their music), advertising, self-employed graphics designers, etc. A lot of these people are the type I would think fit into Mac users' primary demographic - independent liberal-arts types involved in artistic content creation. Which makes Apple's lack of Blu-ray support even more puzzling.

In terms of $/GB, nothing but HDDs comes close to optical. HDD capacity is typically unsuitable for distribution since it's rare that you need to give hundreds of GB to a customer. Typically you only need 1-25 GB, which is right in optical's range. Often times, it's not the capacity which is so important, but the sheer number of copies you need to distribute. A friend of mine gave a copy of the video/slideshow shown at her wedding on DVD to every person attending. 100+ copies. Only optical was cheap enough to make that possible.

It's a great archival format too. Since it's write-once, read-many, you can't accidentally erase it, which is the problem with using external HDDs for backup (time machine helps with accidental erasure, but won't help if you forget your backups were on that drive and format it and use it for something else). You aren't tempted to play around with it after it's been written, so you file it away in a safe place and archive it just like you're supposed to.

RE: It's 2011...
By Pirks on 2/24/2011 2:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
yeah so this photographer could also use a special external DVD burner just for his clients, and avoid using DVD for himself

hence all his machines will be say thin and light notebooks without optical legacy, and the legacy device is an external one and is used only when necessary, like a floppy or com port or other ancient stuff like that

this is exactly what I proposed above

RE: It's 2011...
By omnicronx on 2/24/2011 2:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
Pirks sorry but you are wrong on this one, optical storage is a must in the business space as it currently stands. Even with the example you provided, someone in that kind of business would also need to consume content from the same sources. (i.e USB drives are clearly not sufficient)

Lucky for Apple, their presence is almost non existent in this area ;)

RE: It's 2011...
By Pirks on 2/24/2011 3:11:45 PM , Rating: 2
USB drives are clearly not sufficient

RE: It's 2011...
By omnicronx on 2/24/2011 4:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
The OP already explained.. For the same reason you don't really see commerical software being shipped on USB drives yet.. $/GB

RE: It's 2011...
By Pirks on 2/24/2011 5:17:58 PM , Rating: 2
No, I meant external USB DVD drives, not the USB flash drives

My point was most people don't need DVD and a few businesses who really must mass-produce them can use external USB devices

RE: It's 2011...
By Alexstarfire on 2/24/2011 9:34:35 PM , Rating: 2
Internal is cheaper than external. That is what he is saying. The other point is, if you're using it often why would you take up extra space and pay more when you don't have to?

I couldn't stand not having an optical drive. I might not use it very much, but the few times I do it's much easier than getting the same data any other way. Primarily this data is already on some type of optical media DVD/CD/Blu-Ray/etc.

RE: It's 2011...
By Pirks on 2/25/2011 11:34:42 AM , Rating: 2
Well, for the rare businesses who mass replicate optical disks the internal drives make sense, but not for the mass consumer

RE: It's 2011...
By Alexstarfire on 2/25/2011 11:46:46 AM , Rating: 2
Who said anything about mass consumer? I think you assumed. And you know what they say about assuming.

That said, I'd probably never want an external drive for the same reasons. I use the optical drive on my desktop a lot. So much so that I'm surprised it hasn't burned out yet.

Optical media certainly isn't an popular as it used to be since it's no longer the only way to share data anymore. We have USB sticks, internet (unless you are sharing large files), phones, bluetooth, wifi, MP3 players (some anyway), etc. Optical media is probably the easiest way to share other than a USB stick or the internet (again, unless the files are large).

RE: It's 2011...
By KoolAidMan1 on 2/24/2011 2:54:00 PM , Rating: 3
Blu Ray is great for the living room and my 60" plasma. There is little reason for Blu Ray on a laptop. I hate carrying optical media around, I never do it now. All the media on my laptop is on its hard drive. Portability, not clutter and more crap to carry.

I want them to go the opposite direction and lose the DVD drive in the next 15" Macbook Pro revision, or at least spin off a 15" Macbook Air. It would result in a significant drop in size, weight, and you'd lose more physical moving parts. The DVD drive in a laptop is dead weight IMHO. I don't even use it on my desktop (OS on USB stick, games and applications from websites and Steam), so why would I want it in a device that I carry around and am even less likely to use optical media with?

Optical media in the PC is dead. Blu Ray is useful insofar as nothing touches its visual quality, but again, that's for the big home theater in the living room where my discs live on a shelf.

RE: It's 2011...
By Meinolf on 2/24/2011 4:55:34 PM , Rating: 2
They want you to use a External one so it saves on total price of the MacPro

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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