New notebooks: What Apple didn't announce

New notebooks: What Apple didn't announce

Summary: While Apple delivered a lot of new features in the new MacBooks today (glass trackpads, unibody contruction) and they also removed one – Firewire from the MacBook. There are some other key features that that were rumored to arrive in Apple's new notebooks that just didn't pan out.


While Apple delivered a lot of new features in the new MacBooks today (glass trackpads, unibody contruction) and they also removed one – Firewire from the MacBook. There are some other key features that that were rumored to arrive in Apple's new notebooks that just didn't pan out.

  • Blu-Ray. Jobs answered this in the Q&A segment by saying "It's great to watch the movies, but the licensing of the tech is so complex, we're waiting till things settle down and Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace." Apple would rather have you rent movies and TV shows from iTunes than on an optical disc from someone else.
  • Touchscreen display. With the move to Multi-touch trackpads on the MacBook and MacBook Pro, some people extrapolated that Apple might move to multi-touch screens as well. The problem is that touchscreens are expensive (especially 13, 15 and 17-inch ones), so it probably won't happen for a while. When asked about touchscreens, Jobs responded "so far it hasn't made a lot of sense to us."
  • HDMI. When asked why Apple chose the Mini Display Connector port over HDMI Jobs responded that HDMI is limited in resolution. Phil Schiller responded that for typical computer use, display port is the connector of the future.
  • Mini-DVI. It was rumored that Apple would replace the full-size DVI port with a Mini-DVI port, but instead opted for Mini Display Connector port.
  • $800. A super-low, US$799 price point was rumored for the low end MacBook, but that didn't work out. The new entry level MacBook is US$999, US$100 lower than the previous model.
  • Netbook. A question came up in Q&A about if Apple would create a "netBook" commonly defined as a small, light, low-cost, subnotebook optimized for Internet access and word processing. Jobs called the netbook "a nascent market that's just getting started." I find this question curious because Apple already has a thin and light MacBook in the Air and I don't see them adding a fourth notebook model.

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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  • 4GB MacBook Air

    I would love a MBA but I won't even consider it until it
    becomes available with 4GB of RAM.
  • According to, the Air did updated...

    You get the updated GPU from the MacBook, a 120 GB
    SATA hard drive or 128 GB SATA SSD, 1066 FSB, DDR3
    memory, and MiniDP with single and dual link DVI

    Now why they couldn't keep the last-gen white MacBook
    and put an $800 price tag on it and update the 17"
    MacBook Pro to the new specs of the 15" MacBook Pro is
    beyond me.
    • While I don't completely disagree...

      [i]...Now why they couldn't keep the last-gen white
      MacBook and put an $800 price tag on it...[/i]
      They did keep the last-gen white MacBook... but only
      dropped the price $100, not $300.

      I admit to being confused about the 17" model myself,
      but I expect the higher cost of the piecemeal frame
      may be a part of the reason. They obviously haven't
      tooled up the new process for the 17" model yet.
      • I meant the last gen base model

        and not the superdrive version.
  • Blu-Ray

    No need to see a conspiracy there. Jobs was being diplomatic, but
    what I'm sure he was referring to was the draconian DRM required
    to play blu-ray video on a computer. One of the reasons Blu-ray
    requires HDMI is so that the player can talk to the display and
    make sure you aren't trying to sneak some recording device
    somewhere in the cable chain.

    It's offensive, and I'm glad Apple is going another route. Yeah, the
    DRM on iTunes movies stinks, but when you have two evils,
    always go for the lesser.
    • Blu-ray

      Yes, Steve Jobs needs to diplomatis, but being on the Blu-ray Disc board I would assume that he has some say how Blu-ray would be deployed by now.
      With the demise of HD-DVD I was surprised also the lack of Blu-ray support from Apple by now. However there must be some more backroom negotiations about DRM and copy-protect that haven't been worked out but there will be an limit before the format becomes a "dinosaur" so Apple and others in Blu-ray Disc Association need to get on the ball on this soon.
  • RE: New notebooks: What the author missed.

    Apple did make a FireWire announcement; they
    announced that EVERY new Macbook Pro and
    aluminum MacBook would have FireWire 800 on board
    as standard equipment. Interestingly enough, with a
    cheap little adaptor, you can still use your old FW400
    gear on it just like you could use USB 1 devices on USB
    2 hubs.

    What you might have missed on the 'Mini Display Port'
    is that it is an "Industry Standard" port for computers,
    unlike hdmi.

    As for the MBA revisions, you obviously missed the
    upgrade to its graphics capabilities. It's 4x faster than
    it used to be.
    • No FW on Aluminum MacBook

      There is NO Firewire on the new, 13 inch Aluminum
      MacBooks. To add insult to injury, the processor is also
      slightly slower!

      Remember when it was such a great thing that Apple
      finally got Firewire in the iMac and the second or third
      round of MacBooks (toilet seat laptops)? Integrated Firewire
      is a HUGE advantage of Macs. iMovie is completely
      handicapped without Firewire and the target disk mode can
      save you gobs of time and headaches. (Do PCs have target
      disk mode?)
      • The no FireWire on the macbook is a deal

        killer for me, I have an old powerbook G4 that needs replacing but I can not justify the cost of a macbook pro, So for me it is back to Linux for the next laptop.

        And you are absolutely correct iMovie is now worthless on a macbook and so is target disk mode.
  • RE: New notebooks: What Apple didn't announce

    also missing is HSDPA 3G inbuilt
  • RE: New notebooks: What Apple didn't announce

    What Apple didn't announce was anything interesting that
    would compel people to buy the new notebooks. The whole
    connector thing is a step sideways or backwards.

    All this sounds like a lot of treading water, and the proof is
    the inordinate time Steve spent talking about the aluminum
    housing. Take your head out of your navel, Steve, and work
    on speech recognition integrated at the system level. Sorry if
    that's been talked about to death.
    • RE: the proof is the inordinate time Steve spent [on the] aluminum housing

      ummm, the number one problem with notebooks (laptops) is that they fail sooner than their desktops counterparts since they're moved around.

      and,if you've seen the videos, you know that you can literaly shake a computer with an SSD and it keeps on working; do that with a normal drive and the computer fails pretty quickly.

      the important thing about the aluminum case is that it's a stepping stone to a computer which really can't break except for the screen.
  • RE: New notebooks: What Apple didn't announce

    What's interesting is the reaction a friend of mine who happens to be a manager at an Apple store had to the new macbook pro.

    He didn't like it.

    He felt the glossy screen and the elimination of the lower-end firewire port hurt it more than helped it.

    In my view, a "Pro" system should have an abundance of ports, the capability to add a second HDD, premium video, and the ability/option to handle the latest optical disc technology (blu-ray).

    While that affects battery life, those concerns are secondary on these systems, IMO.

    Instead, they're making even their premium line smaller and less capable than the previous generation.
  • RE: New notebooks: What Apple didn't announce

    While they spent a lot of time talking about their new
    features, the SSD didn't get a lot of press. I think the days of
    whirling disks of rust are numbered and it can't happen soon
    enough. My desktop has only two hard drives and is the size
    of a desktop in itself. What I'd like to see is a SSD with a rom
    slot for the OS that allows a "box" to run anything plugged
    into it.
  • The $800 Mac Exists

    go to the MacMall and you can get the previous MacBook for $800 after rebate (

    I got one a few weeks before this discount was available and love it.

    I saved money by ordering crucial ram (4 GB) and installing it myself-- $82 versus $300 the last time I looked.