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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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RE: It's 2011...
By Shadowself on 2/24/2011 9:50:09 AM , Rating: -1
There's no nuclear reactor either.

But seriously, Apple has never given anything but lip service to Blu-ray. Apple does not actively support any media that is greater than 720p. Think of the iTunes store and the Apple TV. IIRC both are limited to 720p.

Sure, their playback software can support 1080p and higher resolutions, but Apple does not directly, actively support any means of getting that into your Mac (laptop or otherwise).

It's absolutely brain dead stupid at this point to be so backward. However, complaining about no Blu-ray in a Mac is as useless as complaining that there is no zero point energy source either. Apple just does not give a damn about those complaints.

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.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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