Apple notebook hits and misses

Apple notebook hits and misses

Summary: The Apple product transition mentioned by Apple's CFO has arrived. Like other industry watchers, Storage Bits looked into its crystal ball to predict what it would look like.

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The Apple product transition mentioned by Apple's CFO has arrived. Like other industry watchers, Storage Bits looked into its crystal ball to predict what it would look like. Overall, Apple did OK, with some surprising omissions and changes.

Hits: Product = notebook In the first post (see Apple's coming notebook transition) I spent way too much time establishing that notebooks were the focus.

Nailed that one.

Tablet Mac? Nope, as I predicted (see Why there’s no Mac tablet this quarter).

But that was easy. Apple isn't going to intro a tablet Mac until someone demonstrates that there is a tablet market. Tablet fans, give it up!

More solid state drives? Yes. A bigger, 128 GB one on the MacBook Air. And an optional one of the new MacBook Pro.

Oh, and no promises of higher performance with the SSDs - just better durability. Very wise.

LED backlights Yes-s-s! On the new MacBook as well as the new 15" MacBook Pro.

Switchable graphics The MacBook Pro can switch between the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M and 9600M GT. The latter cuts battery life by 20%.

Longer battery life - or lighter 'Books? How about both? The new MacBook is half a pound lighter and has a half hour longer battery life - with a smaller 45 Wh battery.

The new MacBook Pro is 0.1 of a pound lighter with a 10 Wh decrease in the battery spec with the same battery life. Which means some other components got heavier. The second graphics processor? Something else must be different.

The smaller batteries show that Apple paid much attention to the new 'Book's power management, as predicted.

Larger trackpad with multi-touch gestures Yes! Next up: just put the entire iPhone screen down as the trackpad with context sensitive soft buttons. I expect that in a year.

Misses: Quad-core? No quad-core. I expected quad-core processors on the Mac Pro, but no go. Apple's insistence on thin cases is hurting high-end performance. The 17" will get them - HD video requires it.

Blu-ray Nope. Steve's comment is telling:

The licensing is so complex, we're waiting until things settle down before we burden our customers with the cost of the licensing and the cost of the drives.

That is a shot across the bow of Sony: fix your licensing or we'll take our sweet time about incorporating Blu-ray on Macs. Sony is working hard to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Memory Predicted greater than 4 GB RAM - but Apple didn't oblige. 4 GB isn't enough to run FCS2 and other apps well. Apple is leaving its loyal pro users behind.

WiMax Not today, Josephine.

The Storage Bits take Out of 12 predictions, 8 were correct. The other 4 will come in later 'Books - perhaps even in the next 17" MacBook Pro.

For me the lack of FireWire on the MacBook means I'll wait to see what the new 17" MBP looks like. I need FireWire for video.

That disappoints now that the MacBook has graphics that can handle Motion and Final Cut Pro. But the dual-core 15" is slow handling HD video. I'm waiting for a quad-core system with more RAM capacity.

A good update, but not the one I was looking for.

Comments welcome, of course.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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10 comments
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  • What about...

    ...the "click-pad" (no separate button) and the Display Port video output port? Don't those deserve a mention?
    Eriamjh
  • Come on Robin, You believe that line?

    [i]The licensing is so complex, we're waiting until things settle down before we burden our customers with the cost of the licensing and the cost of the drives[/i]

    You do not actually believe that, do you? Or are you covering for Apple's pofit margins?
    And to think Sony is at fault here, when other manufactures are offering Blu-Ray drives in their systems?
    GuidingLight
    • Believe the line

      part of the licensing requirements is DRM protection all the way
      through the cabling to the display. It's offensive. It makes Apple's
      iTunes DRM look like wide open spaces.
      frgough
  • Screen and USB/Firewire

    Aren't they changing the firewire connection for an USB?
    I guess you are talking about connecting a camera directly
    into the FW, no?

    Another issue for me was the angle of the screen. Older
    versions had the ability to lean more if you need to. The
    newer versions have a shorter range to move the screen. It is
    a stupid detail but annoying.
    escale@...
  • RE: Apple notebook hits and misses

    Speaking of stupid details, the fact that Apple is only offering glossy screens vs matte is a big slap in the fact of graphics and photography people. Makes it pretty darn hard to use it outside.
    i<3php
  • Missing Firewire is a BIG deal

    What about the hard drives and camcorders? Gonna have to keep an old PC around to pull DV?

    Don't make me laugh.

    Don't make me cry.

    :-(
    Dan__
    • It's a huge deal for me...

      It's a huge deal for me because not only do several of our
      classes have miniDV camcorders that [i]only[/i] have Firewire,
      but -- as the computer tech for the school -- I regularly use
      Target Disk Mode and the Firewire port to image one-of
      laptops, troubleshoot, and retrieve files from damaged
      systems.

      Firewire is invaluable to me as a computer tech, and
      invaluable to our multimedia students.
      olePigeon
  • Tell Apple what you think

    Tell them what you think about the new books:

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/macbook.html
    Dan__
    • Everyone click on this link and send Apple feedback. [nt]

      [nt]
      olePigeon
  • RE: Apple notebook hits and misses

    Glossy screens only are a disaster for those of us who need matte.

    I'm amazed this isn't mentioned. It's the one thing that's stopped me buying today.
    Rogue68