Apple's lagging tech chops

Apple's new MacBook Pro models are out. Can you say "underwhelming?"
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

Apple's new MacBook Pro models are out. Can you say "underwhelming?"

Tight control over hardware and software makes for a nice integrated system. But if you don't stay current it makes for a nice doorstop too.

Case in point: Apple's new MacBook Pros.

The big plusses:

  • Faster I5 or optional 2.66GHz I7 dual-core processors
  • Faster NVIDIA GT 330M graphics card with 48 cores
  • Automatic switching between Intel's integrated graphics and the power hungry 330M
  • Slightly longer battery life

The big minuses:

  • Quad-core processors
  • USB 3.0
  • Blu-ray player

Huh? MBP's are supposed to be pro machines for heavy duty users. But it looks like they're becoming a fashion accessory where function places a distant 2nd to form.

Hey, it is a very nice form - I own a unibody 17" - but after enjoying the pride of ownership moment I need to get some work done. I'm looking for go, not just show.

For video, there is no good substitute for a quad-core processor. Unless it is 8 or more.

External storage bandwidth hasn't kept up with disk capacities or SSD speeds. USB 3.0 - superspeed USB - promises to fix that and is already announced on several Wintel notebooks.

And while Blu-ray is hardly a must-have for most folks, it would be nice to use the 17" HD screen for entertainment. This is, after all, a $2300 notebook.

The Storage Bits take I hope Apple isn't relying on Light Peak to solve their I/O problem. USB 3.0 is here today and will replace eSATA, FireWire and point-to-point Fibre Channel.

Light Peak has important long-term advantages - primarily lower EMI as speeds increase - but it isn't ready now. And customers need higher bandwidth I/O today.

Part of the promise of Apple's move to Intel was improve parity with Wintel systems. But just as Apple missed the tower's popularity 14 years ago, it looks like they're about to miss some other important developments.

I appreciate great design. But I need great engineering in my work machines.

Comments welcome, of course. Now I'm off to NAB 2010, my favorite show of the year.

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