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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 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


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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