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Apple Intros 17" Unibody MBP, DRM-Free iTunes 1079

Posted by kdawson
from the life-after-jobs dept.
Phil Schiller delivered the keynote at MacWorld, the first after the Steve Jobs era of keynotes. Here is Engadget's live blog. The big news, predicted by many rumor sites, was the introduction of the unibody 17" MacBook Pro. As rumored, the battery is not removable, but it's claimed to provide 8 hours of battery life (7 hours with the discrete graphics): "3x the charges and lifespan of the industry standard." $2,799, 2.66 GHz and 4 GB of RAM, 320GB hard drive, shipping at the end of January. There is a battery exchange program, and there is an option for a matte display. The other big news is that iTunes is going DRM-free: 8M songs today, all 10+M by the end of March. Song pricing will be flexible, as the studios have been demanding; the lowest song price is $0.69. Apple also introduced the beta of a Google Docs-like service, iWork.com.
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Apple Intros 17" Unibody MBP, DRM-Free iTunes

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  • by GeneralTao (21677) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @02:56PM (#26346225) Homepage

    I was really hoping to see an updated Mac Mini.

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by k_187 (61692) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @02:58PM (#26346253) Journal
    Tiered Pricing.
  • Cool and all.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eggz Factor (455382) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @02:59PM (#26346263) Homepage

    but I was really hoping they would finally update the MacMini.

  • by terrapin44 (736939) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @02:59PM (#26346267)
    Yea, I wanted a new mini. DRM-free music is nice though.
  • Battery?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Helios1182 (629010) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:00PM (#26346303)

    Come on, it isn't that hard to make a user removeable battery. Just do it -- people want it. It is a freaking laptop!

  • by Dzimas (547818) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:01PM (#26346323)
    I'm glad to see Apple stepping away from a massive release of new products every January. While it was exciting from a geek perspective, it was awfully timed. Introducing a slate of cool new gadgets just after Christmas was a marketing nightmare for Apple - hundreds of thousands of new iPod owners would be upset to learn that their new player was suddenly "last year's model," and many other Apple enthusiasts would simply put off their purchases until after the Christmas season in anticipation of "one more thing" in January. That can't have been good news for retailers who ramp up inventory in the months leading up to xmas. Now, Apple has more control over their release cycle. They can keep their products under wrap until they're ready to unveil them to the world, and can stagger releases for maximum coverage.
  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Weeksauce (1410753) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:01PM (#26346325)
    If people hadn't wined, would they still have done it?
  • 17" Macbook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by manekineko2 (1052430) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:02PM (#26346355)

    I simply cannot fathom why Apple keeps making these things without a number pad. If I'm going to lug around the weight of a 17" I feel like a proper keyboard with keypad is a must, especially since almost all of the other brands have no trouble fitting one in.

    The weight on this thing is mighty impressive though, I'm not familiar with any 17" laptop that is only 6.6 lbs. Of course, I'm not sure if it's worth the trade-off of not having a removable battery.

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:02PM (#26346357) Journal
    Yeah... but those people who claimed $0.99 was too expensive and songs shouldn't cost more than $0.70 will need a new excuse.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:03PM (#26346369)

    Should have better video then 9600m for a $2700+ system come on other laptops have SLI at that price.

    And $1200 to go from 4gb to 8gb?

    I hope apple has a big Superbowl ad to show off the other new hardware.

  • You know, its pretty fashionable to argue these days that CEOs are just like everyone else, interchangeable parts that you can just get rid of. Steve Jobs isn't one of them, and I don't think Bill Gates was either, for that matter.

    But, in the case of Steve Jobs, the dude could walk out onto a stage, show you a product, and you would think, wow, that's really brilliant.

    Regardless of how Shiller is, he's not the guy that founded Apple, beat developers into the ground trying to make a product better. Sometimes took the company into the ground chasing after a vision but a lot of times made a mountain of money chasing after the same.

    You can't get the same vision from somebody who runs as a company as you can get from the guy that founded it. Even for CEOs, its just a job, but for founders, its a vision, and I'm going to miss the Apple of Jobs old, even as I miss the Microsoft of Gates the Evil.

  • Re:Battery?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by internerdj (1319281) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:05PM (#26346419)
    Sorry this is an Apple article. Apple not only gives the consumers what they want but the list of what they are supposed to be wanting in the first place.
  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rsmith-mac (639075) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:07PM (#26346485)

    Apple sold out.

    The labels wanted tiered (or really, higher) pricing and a larger cut of revenue for anything downloaded via cellular; Apple wouldn't initially give in and they were too big & powerful for the labels to simply ignore. So the labels propped up Amazon's store by allowing them to sell everything DRM free and taking a smaller cut of revenue than from Apple, and refused Apple the same rights. This was to force Apple's hand; to either risk being driven out of business, or to "play" with the labels.

    Apple could have taken the correct option and continued to hold out for fair treatment and reasonable pro-consumer policies. Instead they sold out. The iTunes Music Store is now just yet another front for the labels, controlled by the labels.

    And all their other fronts (e.g. Amazon and WalMart) will quickly adopt the same policies now that the labels have no reason to continue offering them favorable terms.

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:08PM (#26346517) Homepage Journal

    Where do you7 get 2.50 from. .69, .99, 1.29
    Probably based on download popularity. That's just a guess.

    However you do accidentally make another point: People will continue to make shit up so they can whine.

  • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:09PM (#26346519)

    In fact, all the important announcements will come direct from Apple PR events, probably on this new schedule:

    April for new Mac Pros and iMacs
    June for new iPhones (during WWDC)
    September for new iPods
    October for new MacBooks

  • Re:Battery?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:09PM (#26346535) Homepage

    Come on, it isn't that hard to make a user removeable battery. Just do it -- people want it. It is a freaking laptop!

    I recall people complaining a lot louder when they lost their floppy drives, LPT ports, RS232, ADB/PS2, etc. Nobody's stopping you from keeping your old laptop, getting one on ebay etc.

    I have the previous gen 17" MBP and have never needed to remove the battery except to upgrade RAM/HD. I'd happily trade the feature in exchange for more internal charge capacity.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:11PM (#26346557)

    One is that you do save some space by integrating the battery. There is a non trivial amount of extra material for making it removable since it had to be in it's own enclosure and such. So one could claim that is was done to either decrease size, or to increase capacity (by having larger cells).

    The other is that this makes the device much more disposable. Apple is in the hardware market, they make their money on buying new gadgets. It would be best for them if people viewed the gadgets as disposable and simply tossed them after a few years.

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:11PM (#26346563) Homepage

    It's great to see competition in the market for DRM-free music. Until now, the only DRM-free option with a comprehensive catalog was Amazon. I've been using Amazon for a while, and there are definitely some significant pros and cons:

    1. Con: You can't use it if you're outside the U.S.
    2. Pro: I find it much easier to use than iTunes. YMMV.
    3. Con: The only format is MP3, no option for less lossy formats.
    4. Con: Although I was able to help my daughter figure out how to buy MP3s on Amazon via her Linux box and put them on her iPod, it was a real pain.
    5. Unfortunately Amazon makes you use special software if you want to download an entire album at the album price (which is cheaper than buying the individual tracks). But fortunately they explicitly support Linux. But unfortunately their Linux support sucks, and if you call with a problem, you get a tech support person in India who insists that Amazon's own web page lies, and there's no support for any browser other than IE. But fortunately there's third-party software called clamz that works better than the software Amazon supplies.

    It will be interesting to see if the advent of competition encourages both Apple and Amazon to improve.

  • by DigitalisAkujin (846133) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:12PM (#26346583) Homepage

    It is extremely important that Slashdot apprise us of every new product coming from Apple Corporation, in near-realtime fashion.

    Please slashdot, tell us more about Steve Jobs' health, Apple Corporation mythology, and Mac purchasing opportunities!

    Usually I'd agree with you but this news about DRM is pretty important because it completely changes the dynamic of the music industry in relation to the Internet considering iTunes recently surpassed Walmart in music sales. That is clearly stuff that matters and if you can't see that you're geek license should be revoked on your way out.

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:12PM (#26346593)

    The lowest price is $0.69. You can bet that many will be well above $0.99 that they are now.

  • Re:Battery?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:12PM (#26346595)

    Come on, it isn't that hard to make a user removeable battery. Just do it -- people want it. It is a freaking laptop!

    Who moderated this to "insightful"? If you had a quick look at www.apple.com/macbookpro/17inch-battery , you would find that by making it non-removable, Apple managed to make it 40% bigger in size. A user-removable battery takes more space for packaging the battery, more space for the mechanics to get it in and out, and more empty space inside the computer.

  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:13PM (#26346617)

    How about a DOCK so that people who don't want to work all the time hunched over a laptop screen but DO want the convenience and reliability of a Mac laptop can work without having to place their laptop on a stack of paper reams to get it to eye level?

    Frankly, I've never understood why any manufacturer of ANY laptop, Mac or PC, would make a desktop-replacement grade laptop with no way to dock it so you can comfortably work AT A DESKTOP!

    Get a clue laptop makers!

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:15PM (#26346655) Homepage Journal
    Meh, who cares? This isn't about Apple or Amazon. This is about the labels being dragged, kicking and screaming though they are, into the 21st century.

    This was a fairly nice development. Let's not cloud it with pointless conspiracies.

    BTW, Apple, by definition, can't "sell out". Thanks for playing though.
  • Re:Battery?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tgd (2822) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:17PM (#26346693)

    If it makes the laptop smaller and lighter, some poeple (myself included) happily will give up a replaceable battery.

    Thinking back over the last 15 years for the seven or eight laptops I've owned (two Mac, the rest various brands of Linux/Windows laptops) I've bought a new battery I believe twice, both as replacements not secondary batteries.

    I've never carried two at a time so I could swap one when it was dead.

    Apple isn't a stupid company. They wouldn't make that change if they didn't believe that loud-mouth-whiners-aside, it would impact sales in the least.

    Case in point -- they dropped Firewire from the MacBook. That means you can't use your family's DV or HDV camcorder anymore with a MacBook to use the new iMovie to edit your videos... and yet sales took off of the new laptop. That feature excluded that laptop from my consideration, but the fact that I don't like it doesn't mean it wasn't the right decision for them.

    Just because you don't like a fixed battery doesn't mean "people want it" or it was a bad decision.

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ameyer17 (935373) <slashdot@ameyer17.com> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:17PM (#26346705) Homepage

    And all their other fronts (e.g. Amazon and WalMart) will quickly adopt the same policies now that the labels have no reason to continue offering them favorable terms.

    Perhaps not. I don't think they want any one online music store to have a big enough market share where the retailer can more or less dictate the terms and conditions of online music sales. By continuing to offer favorable terms to Amazon, WalMart*, and friends, they can potentially keep iTunes from having the monopoly they used to.
    On the other hand, you're probably right.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:18PM (#26346717)
    The case for Jobs' value is almost uniquely strong, since he left Apple for a while and it tanked, then he came back and it recovered.

    That said, the opposite happens too; HP's stock shot up by billions the day Fiorina departed. So when my dad said, "Jobs proves CEOs are worth their pay," I had to disagree. You can't generalize like that.

  • by samkass (174571) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:18PM (#26346719) Homepage Journal

    I'm sure it won't force you to get a new computer. First of all, the new battery is supposed to last much, much longer, so it'll be more like 5 years before you're in the same boat. And if you still want to keep this machine 5 years from now, you can probably take it to a service location to have the battery changed, like Apple does with iPods.

  • Re:Battery?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:18PM (#26346725) Homepage Journal
    Wow. It's rare you see a post on slashdot that properly qualifies for trolling and insightful moderation. I'm suitably impressed.
  • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:20PM (#26346757)
    PS. the most valuable executives build a business that can thrive even after they are gone. Again, Jobs' temporary absence provides a data point, but a negative one.
  • by Wee (17189) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:23PM (#26346817)
    They're ditching DRM. That's pro-consumer. What you're saying is that they are going to have to charge what the studios want to charge (ie, more). That's not anti-consumer enough to balance out the goodness factor of allowing people to actually play the music they buy on any device they own (which has kept me from using ITMS thus far).

    I'm sorry you don't like higher prices. But you finally own what you buy. If you're still concerned about ITMS's prices, you really shouldn't have been using them in the first place as they've always been outrageously expensive.

    -B
  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:26PM (#26346871) Homepage Journal

    Sold out? By offering tiered pricing? Really?

    In the real world, everything has different prices depending on demand. The "Everything should be 99c" thing may simplify things, but it's hardly fair, either to the labels or to us. Apple was trying to force both the record labels and customers to do something completely ridiculous in the name of simplicity, and consider "The Birdie Song" to have the same value as "Bohemian Rhapsody".

    I appreciate like most of Slashdot you have a hate-on for the labels, and therefore consider anything the labels want to do as wrong, but Apple was on the wrong side here.

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:27PM (#26346891)

    Apple could have taken the correct option and continued to hold out for fair treatment and reasonable pro-consumer policies. Instead they sold out. The iTunes Music Store is now just yet another front for the labels, controlled by the labels.

    Maybe, maybe not. Do you think the labels would want DRM-free music? Doubtful. My guess is that amazon only got the deal they did without DRM because Apple was doing so well and wouldn't play ball on the tiered pricing. What if the labels only could concede DRM-free music if Apple gave in on the tiered pricing? It's not an unequivocal victory but if I had to choose I'd much rather have tiered pricing and DRM-free music than DRM-ed music and non-tiered pricing. Now if they'd just let me get the songs off my ipod using iTunes and not having to resort to third party software I'll be happy.

    I haven't bought a single song from the iTunes music store because of DRM, I might actually consider it now.

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:27PM (#26346893)

    Just checked it out. The prices of DRM free 256 Kb AAC are the same as 128kb DRM aac. so better quality and no drm and same price.

    why are they still offering the DRM version??

    perhaps there are some caveats. One assumes you are not supposed to give the un DRM versions out for free. but what about using them on more of your computers. perhaps the sale agreement has you agree not to use it on more than one computer at a time? even though nothing technical prevents you from violating the legal contract? Or are the sharing rights (5 computers) the same???

  • Re:Battery?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:27PM (#26346895)

    You do know that this is pure horse shit, right?

    There is no trade off. You make the battery removable. You might get a seam on your casing. Oh no. But you most certainly do not lose 28.5% of your space! (1 - 1/1.4)

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slyn (1111419) <ozzietheowl@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:32PM (#26346989)

    The _highest_ price is $1.29, and they claim "more songs will be $0.69 than will be $1.29".

    Either way with DRM free music the consumer benefits.

  • by Dekortage (697532) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:35PM (#26347049) Homepage
    I don't suppose you've ever considered a third party solution [bookendzdocks.com]?
  • by sexconker (1179573) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:37PM (#26347089)

    "Apple has pretty much always been a rip off"

    Couldn't agree with you more.

  • by PIBM (588930) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:37PM (#26347091) Homepage

    Monitor + USB Keyboard + wireless mouse >>> Dock

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:39PM (#26347137)

    They stated it can be charged 1000 times. That means if you use your laptop every day you will need a new one in 2.7 years.

    No, that means if you *charge* your laptop battery every day you'll need one that often (I didn't check your math, but that's not my point). If you use your laptop as a desktop replacement, as many Apple owners seem to do (especially that big honkin' 17" we're talking about), it's probably plugged-in all the time, and I'm hoping that Apple made it not recharge the battery all the time it's plugged in, so it may last much, much longer than that. It depends on how you use it. Not that I'm defending the idea of a non-removable battery (I think it's completely asinine), but let's not go overboard.

    I'm more a fan of the ThinkPad way of doing things - one big main battery, with a removable optical drive that you can replace with a second battery. Now *that's* giving a user options.

  • Re:Requires iTunes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dekortage (697532) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:40PM (#26347143) Homepage

    There are a number of words in your post that the average consumer will not recognize, nor care about: FLAC, AAC, OGG, RockBox, Amarok, Magnatune, etc.

    Until the masses care, most capitalists will not.

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PIBM (588930) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:41PM (#26347179) Homepage

    Considering that recent stats. show that less than 10% of the full catalog make 90% of the sale volume, price those at 1.29, 70% at 0.99 and the remaining 20% at 0.69 just to show some goodwill, and everyone will pay an higher price.

    You will pay more, unless you really are into those rather odd songs.. ;)

  • by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:42PM (#26347193) Homepage

    Gates wasn't. He was the only one at Microsoft who could keep all the divisions working together. While the company was much too large for him to control by the end, he at least could make sure the company stayed on one road for the priority projects and that everyone's vision was the same.

    Jobs runs a smaller company and has much more vision so in his case the loss is far worse.

  • Re:Bunk! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:43PM (#26347227)

    all you need to do to make a battery removeable is install some contacts (which would have to exist in some form or another anyways) and a latch mechanism

    And an independent casing around the battery, which not only takes up space but impacts how the battery will dissipate heat.

    And you don't have as much flexibility as to the overall shape of the battery or its location in the laptop.

  • Face it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:46PM (#26347291)

    Apple is not going to destroy their business model to protect your $200 monitor investment. They have 9.7 million people eager to buy macs that have tight hardware integration. The person determined to keep their five year old Nec Multisync LCD to save $200 is NOT the iMac target market!!!

  • Re:Battery?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:47PM (#26347297)

    A non-removable battery would have completely destroyed my MBP.

    Oh, and you have the psychic foresight to remove a removable battery right BEFORE it explodes?

  • Wireless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shmlco (594907) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:47PM (#26347303) Homepage

    Because with Apple the AirPort Express is your "dock", as most of what you're asking for can already be done wirelessly. Plug your speakers and your printer into your Express, and you're good to go the second you set your notebook down.

    Use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. No wires. Do Time Machine backups to Time Capsule. No wires. Actual, physical wires are so... '80s.

  • Turly DRM Free? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:48PM (#26347319)
    Sure the tracks are going DRM free, but will iTunes still prevent me from copying music from my iPod to a new iTunes library? It's incredibly annoying to me that any time I move PCs or operating systems that I can't easily move songs off of my iPod. The tracks may be DRM free all the way through, but it still exists if I can't move my library as I see fit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:48PM (#26347321)
    there will likely be an "awesome" update around June which is when the original 2G customers contracts will expire.
  • Re:Bunk! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:50PM (#26347377)

    How does the fact that it is not removeable affect its shape by 40%?

    Well for one, the battery compartment takes space. External shielding takes up space. Most of all, the battery has to be a certain shape to fit into and out of a laptop .

    Take a look at any laptop battery. They can't be the footprint of the entire laptop because there would be no way to install it. They have to be brick shaped. By making the battery non-removable, the battery can be optimizied to take as much space internally as it needs. If you at the MacBook Air [anandtech.com], you'd see that 2/3s of the internal space of the machine is battery. You can't do that with a removable battery.

  • Re:Battery?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:51PM (#26347409)

    Well, it depends how much volume you use having to create a bay for the battery, with walls to cut it off from internal components, then a way to hold the battery in, so tabs on one side and a mechanism on the other to latch it in (or some other metod to hold it in there), then a study connection point for the terminals inside this bay.

    Now you have to engineer your removable battery to be more sturdy than an internal one only (since it has to be able to easily survive in a computer bag, or through repeated handling that an internal-only battery doesn't have to be so concerned with, since it has the external case to protect it and is not subject to removal and handling as often.

    Also now, you can create a very oddly-shaped battery to fill awkward spaces that would otherwise be wasted if you had to use a more conventional shape that is easy to remove (and more difficult to damage).

    So all together you have a battery that has a) less duplicated protective casing (battery itself and battery bay in laptop), b) capable of being moulded into odd shape to take advantage of extra space, c), no need for latches and other components to hold the battery in and enable it to interface with the DC board (you can just have it fixed inside the case with a smaller system, and just have a couple of flying leads and a simple IC plug to mate it to your power system - no need for quick release terminals.

    As soon as these things go on sale you know someone is going to take it apart and see what they've done inside the case. 28% more volume doesn't sound outlandish when you can dispense with a lot of the compromises you have to make when the computer itself has to be designed around the battery being removable - the battery might be really thin and sandwiched very intricately around all the components, which have now been able to spread out a little since there's no defined battery bay any more.

  • wrong. wrong wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:52PM (#26347411)

    They stated it can be charged 1000 times. That means if you use your laptop every day you will need a new one in 2.7 years.

    if you use it every day, including saturdays and sundays, FOR 8 HOURS A DAY, then in 2.7 years, the battery will be down to an 80% charge or 6.4 hours. Which is longer than your current 5 hour battery lasts.

    I seriously doubt many users use a computer 7 days a week, soley on batteries for 8 hours a day!

    finally you can replace the battery. There's just no simple pop-out mechanism. But unscrewing the case once in the life of a computer is not a big deal.

    Additionally Apple care will cover the battery for 3 years-- that's not something you get on most warantee contracts.

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:54PM (#26347455)

    In the real world, everything has different prices depending on demand.

    In the real world, products are both rivalrous and excludable. Downloaded music is neither.

  • by Altus (1034) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:56PM (#26347499) Homepage

    Ok, so you want to force everyone to have yet another port on their laptop that adds to the weight and style just so that they can doc their laptop in one or 2 seconds less.

    You claim that the monitor and USB ports are going to get messed up over time but the docs port will likely suffer the same fate.

    Yes, docs are ok for business users who use the machine at their desks 90% of the time but Id be that mac laptops are used off of desks more often than on desks. Apple is simply targeting the needs of their users and that means a 2 second inconvenience for the minority.

    If a doc really means that much to you, buy a laptop with a doc, but I think the market has show that the majority of users don't really care that much.

  • Re:Battery?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:56PM (#26347507)

    Do you? Or are you just parroting Apple's marketing bullshit?

    Look at how removable batteries in laptops work.
    Very little wasted space. Batteries of odd and custom shapes. Multiple batteries if necessary. Thin batteries, traditional batteries. If the change in in the outer casing gets you a 40% increase in volume, you must have a TINY battery.

    Here's a typical example pic:
    http://www.gadgetsandgreatdeals.com/image-files/laptop-battery-removal.gif [gadgetsandgreatdeals.com]

    The battery fits flush, and itself forms part of the outer casing. No wasted space making it removable. The internal well for the battery doubles as it's support. Non-removable batteries need the same support. Thin batteries need more of it, since they are longer.

    And last I checked, a cylinder was more efficient than a thing rectangular prism for surface area/volume. Packing wafers together in one external case is more efficient than packing cylinders together, but no where near enough to cover the previous deficit AND get you a 40% increase in capacity. In fact, the separation of cylinders in a typical li-ion battery pack provides greater resilience against heat. The lack of separation, and a separator material in a wafer-style thin battery will exacerbate heat issues as well.

    Either the new batteries won't get anywhere 1000 charges and may catch fire, or they won't be getting anywhere near 8 hours of useful charge.

    If Apple's battery claims prove to be accurate, I'll eat the nose off of my face.

  • by Petersko (564140) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:58PM (#26347543)
    "I don't see why anyone would pay the fee, just remove it yourself."

    Let's say last week I bought the album "Nothing's Free", by "The Capitalists". I paid $9.99. I can buy it this week, for $9.99, and it will be playable on every device I own right out of the gate.

    If I want that same freedom for my week-old purchase(assuming I'm a non-technical user), I have to pay $3.

    It's a straight up cash grab on Apple's part. They're willing to stick it to the client base that already paid.
  • Re:Battery?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:01PM (#26347593)

    You are complaining about adding RAM to a device that Apple sold with a warning that the RAM was not designed to be user-serviceable. It's not hard to do if you're used to working on laptops and small electronics, but don't complain about "un-openable" s a downside when you're buying a computer that's the size of a few CD boxes, and is very obviously a laptop without a screen, in a much smaller footprint - of course it's going to be hard to upgrade!

    You don;t see me complaining that the Macbook is "unopenable" - sure it's easier to upgrade the RAM on a Macbook than a Mini, but small devices are often hard to work on.

    Apple's design choices for some of their key products make then a pain in the ass to work on (have you ever taken apart a 12" Aluminium Powerbook? Changing out the optical drive on those bad boys is like something out of The Krypton Factor).

    They sell the "un-openable" devices (that are easy enough to work on if you have the skills for it) and they sell "openable" ones - like the Mac Pro, which are the very picture of easy access (no screws! all levers and toggles!). The old G4 boxes with the handles were a breeze to work on compared to PC cases of the time.

    If buying a computer that is difficult to work on is not for you then who am I to argue, but I feel I must point out the two sides to the Apple "accessibility" coin - for very small devices, it's just harder.

  • Re:Bunk! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:02PM (#26347605)

    How does the fact that it is not removeable affect its shape by 40%?

    Here's a hypothetical cross section:
    Traditional Laptop:
    Laptop Case - Battery Case - Battery Cells - Battery Case - Laptop Case
    1mm + 1m + 3mm + 1mm + 1mm

    MBP:
    Latop Case - Battery Cells - Laptop Case
    1mm + 3mm + 1mm

    Overall thickness reduced by 2mm. The "Battery" part is reduced from 5mm to 3mm, saving 40%, by not having to give the battery a redundant plastic shell.

    The only way I could see that happening is if the battery was the size of a watch battery. After all, all you need to do to make a battery removeable is install some contacts (which would have to exist in some form or another anyways) and a latch mechanism (which could be just a simple screw).

    Not really a valid example. Comparing the can requirements of a 1 volt battery that delivers milliamps to a 10-14Volt 1-3amp battery. The much larger and more powerful battery needs more insulation and rigidity etc to prevent it from shorting out, catching fire, exploding, etc. In the MBP this is taken care of by the laptop case. In a removable battery, the battery has to have its own suitable enclosure.

    Remember "40%" may seem like a lot, but we're talking about a laptop that's only a dozen mm thick. Removing a couple mm thickness from a single part is a BIG deal.

  • Re:Battery?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:04PM (#26347655)

    That battery bay will exist for any battery. Unless Apple wants their batteries jostling around in there, breaking, disconnecting, short circuiting, etc.

    Removable batteries don't have to be sturdier anywhere other than the connector and one side of the outer casing. The material for any lithium-based battery pack is going to have to be resilient anyway to withstand the heat and pressure the battery will be subjected to in use. Removable batteries often use the stronger, base side of the pack as the actual base of the laptop, so there is no wasted space there. The only issue is the connector, which is minimal.

    If Apple is in fact wiring up a variety of batteries together in various tiny recesses of the laptop, then I expect tons of problems (related to the batteries and to the other components due to the heat). I doubt that this is the case, though, and I bet they've got 1 main battery, and maybe 1 or 2 small ones tucked away. It's not very efficient when you have to build the support and wiring for each battery in each location. You can do the same with traditional cylindrical cells (removable or not), but it's rarely done.

    I await real-world battery metrics, and stories of replacing them.

  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Myopic (18616) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:10PM (#26347749)

    I just want to make the point that Bohemian Rhapsody should be free, considering it entered the moral public domain in 2003 (released in 1975, 28 year copyright term). It's high time our community codified our disdain for perpetual copyright by insisting on a moral public domain.

    The Birdie Song (I had to look it up) was released in 1981, so we moral people should continue to pay for it (or better, not listen to it) until sometime later this year on the anniversary of the release date.

  • by arashi no garou (699761) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:10PM (#26347755)

    Indeed, not all of us Apple users have iEverything so we can play our AACs everywhere. Hell, my phone has problems with anything other than .mp3 but I wouldn't give it up for an iPhone.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:27PM (#26348049)

    Indeed, not all of us Apple users have iEverything so we can play our AACs everywhere. Hell, my phone has problems with anything other than .mp3 but I wouldn't give it up for an iPhone.

    You are aware that AAC is not exclusive to Apple, right? Even the Zune can play AAC-encoded files.

    The parent of your post has a valid point in saying that some older players can't handle anything but MP3. But it seems to me that complaining about AAC because of Apple is analogous to saying "I'm sticking with VHS tapes because not all of us can afford those new Sony DVD players".

  • Re:Wireless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlackSnake112 (912158) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:41PM (#26348323)

    You have a wireless monitor? Where you get it?

    Also wireless keyboards and mice use some kind of battery. Which has a bad habit of dying at the worst time. At your office, having a monitor, corded keyboard, and mouse is not out of the realm of possibilities. Being able to go in your office/cube slide in or drop in your laptop. Turn it on and use the regular keyboard, mouse, and monitor is a very good thing. I know a few people that dual monitor their docked laptops while at work.

    And exactly is a wireless network your dock? And as others have said, wireless doesn't always cut it for work functions.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@NOsPAM.mac.com> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:45PM (#26348401) Journal

    was really hoping to see an updated Mac Mini.

    I'm sure you will, but it's not surprising that it's not exciting enough for the MWSF keynote. Probably just a CPU/GPU/Memory/Disk upgrade.

    -jcr

  • by 0prime (792333) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:59PM (#26348641)
    This can pretty much apply to all laptops in general. Most major manufacturers still gouge at a ridiculous level on increasing the RAM pre-installed in a laptop. Apple may be the leader of the pack in overpricing, but unfortunately, all of them do it to some extent.
  • by hwyhobo (1420503) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @05:02PM (#26348691)

    A trip I took recently that was just less than 1,000 miles "as the crow flies" took me over 8 hours of real time. And I'm sure I'm not the only person with a laptop who has experienced this.

    You are not the only one. I routinely travel 16+ hours. However, I find it easier to find an outlet to do a quick recharge during a layover, than I would opening a 17" laptop on a plane, unless I was traveling business class (and how many companies do that routinely these days?). So, I find the concepts of "road warrior" and 17" laptop to be less than ideally compatible. See my previous post for more on that.

  • by PintoPiman (648009) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @05:19PM (#26348971)

    Perhaps true road warriors might consider their options and 1) not purchase a 17" laptop which would be way too big to open on a plane, 2) consider that the rigors of travel add sufficient stress that the idea of doing more than 8 hours of actually productive work is lunacy, 3) a much cheaper video iPod would be a superior solution in the Mac stable for video/music entertainment if entertainment is the goal rather than work, or maybe 4) not purchase this device, and instead purchase any of the countless other devices in the world with a replaceable battery.

    If we take Apple's claims at face value that they were faced with a design tradeoff between replaceable batteries and battery life, I suggest that most users would rather have the battery life than the replaceable battery. Perhaps there are exceptions to the rule. Perhaps our market economy will fulfill the needs of those exceptional people adequately. One can hope.

  • by Dolly_Llama (267016) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @05:32PM (#26349181) Homepage

    "Jobs proves CEOs are worth their pay,"

    The Jobs-Fiorina comparison makes almost the opposite point seeing as Jobs's salary is $1 and Fiorina's was ~$8M

  • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @05:45PM (#26349427) Homepage Journal

    While the music itself is now DRM-free, it is still inaccessible to non Windows/Mac users. I realize that we Linux-only households are few and far between, but as a cross-platform version of iTunes already exists, why not make a version for Linux too?

    While they're at it, could they just move the store entirely to the web, and let me access it with a normal browser since I don't need to 'activate' the downloaded music at all anymore?

  • by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @05:49PM (#26349495) Homepage
    Installing your own RAM doesn't void the warranty. [apple.com] (Unless you break your computer while doing it, in which case it does.)
  • Re:So,no more DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chihowa (366380) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @06:20PM (#26349951)

    Queen, through talent and hard work, created Bohemian Rhapsody. "The public" did nothing to contribute to this, aside from existing, which I suspect they'd do whether Queen made music or not.

    What the public did was allow Queen to have exclusive rights to the song for a finite amount if time. If Queen was so intent on limiting others' use of the song, they should have kept it to themselves. It's not like the monopoly granted by copyright is somehow the natural state of things. The public exchanged copyright protection of the work for unfettered access to the work one it started "getting old". Bohemian Rhapsody is now effectively a part of our culture and Queen was payed an enormous sum of money and fame in exchange for it.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@ g m a i l.com> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @06:31PM (#26350101) Journal

    I personally think Apple is really missing an opportunity on the desktop front that could hurt them in the long run. Vista is pretty much a dud, with many of the public staying away in droves. IMHO this would be a perfect opportunity to grab some market share while still keeping the high profits they enjoy on the laptop front. The problem with the mini IMHO is the lack of expansion, and they seem to have a hole in their product line between the mini and the Mac Pro, which is why we have been seeing these hackintoshes show up.

    IMHO they could really pick up some of the customers avoiding Vista if they would release a Mac Mini with say, 1 PCI and 1 PCIe expansion slot, and maybe followed by a "Mini Pro Tower" that added a couple more PCIe slots and a little faster CPU. Because frankly the Mac Pro is simply overkill for the home users but not having any way to upgrade and using more expensive laptop parts makes that Mini not as attractive to the home market. By releasing the above desktop models now, before Win7 comes out, this would not only IMO give them a good chance to snatch up some of the unhappy Vista customers, but by giving them a decent affordable desktop they could give them a chance to experience OSX and drive future sales to their more profitable laptop lines because the new users will be familiar with OSX and be more inclined to buy Apple laptops.

    But if they wait too long and Win7 turns out to actually be good they will have missed a golden opportunity IMHO. Then again Jobs has always come off as a little elitist to me so maybe he simply doesn't want to convert those unwashed Windows masses to OSX. After all he is already making money hand over fist, perhaps he has decided that he likes OSX right where it is at currently?

  • Re:Battery?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @06:50PM (#26350401)

    If Dell said they were going to non-removable batteries, there would be s hit storm.

    In case you haven't noticed, there has been something of a "shit storm" when Apple announced it too. There tends to be some sort of shit storm whenever Apple announces anything. Dell's announcements tend to be greeted with a "meh," not the extreme reactions people have to Apple.

    Being non-removable does not increase the capacity of a battery, nor should it give you an increased volume in any competent design.

    Absolute nonsense. Tell me, what is this "competent design" that doesn't result in increased volume? Is the casing made of some miracle plastic that doesn't actually have any physical volume?

    Apple is selling bullshit pie and the fans are eating it up yet again.

    Where is the bullshit? You seem to be claiming that Apple is lying about their product's design. Do you have any proof of this, or any reason they would lie about it?

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @06:51PM (#26350429)

    If I bought product A last week, and this week they released product B, which is better, normally I'm stuck for the ENTIRE price of product B. There is no upgrade.

  • Re:Battery?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shmlco (594907) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @08:58PM (#26351767) Homepage

    "...nor should it give you an increased volume in any competent design."

    Nice qualifier. Wrong, but nice nonetheless. A removable LiPo battery needs a rather substantial case, as throwing raw lithium cells into your briefcase to rattle around as they please is... well, let's just say that it's a no-no. Further, you now need a compartment (back, sides) in which to contain said battery, as exposing raw circuit boards to users also tends to be contra-indicated.

    With the container and compartment gone, you're now free to play with the shape of the cells, snugging them in and around other components, and making better use of the available nooks and crannies.

    A few extra millimeters here, a few centimeters there, and volume-wise things start to add up pretty quickly. A battery 5cm x 10cm x 1cm is 50 cubic cms. Gain just an extra half centimeter in each dimension (5.5*10.5*1.5), and you've got 86.6 cubic cms... a 42% increase.

  • by moosesocks (264553) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @10:02PM (#26352339) Homepage

    What the heck do you use PCI cards for these days anyway?

    This isn't a flame/troll. I'm genuinely curious --- what functionality can be provided by a PCI(e) card that can't also be provided via USB or Firewire?

    "Expensive laptop parts" doesn't really apply to the Mini. The price premium for USB devices over their internal equivalent is down to a bare minimum. SO-DIMM memory barely costs more than a full-sized DIMM, and replacing the 2.5" hard drive is largely irrelevant, given that you can just as easily add an external device if you really want more storage. Chipsets and CPU sockets change so frequently that you probably also wouldn't be interested in changing the CPU in any machine.

    Graphics is the only thing that immediately comes to mind, and there are other ways to accommodate that scenario (socketed GPUs, or ignoring the problem entirely since macs don't really "do" games). I have a Mac Mini, and this is pretty much my only complaint.

    Your last point also stands out particularly well. The average person doesn't care about expandability. The average laptop is barely expandable at all (I do have to penalize Apple here for making their laptops unnecessarily difficult to service), yet we see laptop sales dominating the "home user" segment of the market. Apple seems to have hit the "sweet spot" of price and features with the Macbook, which is the only logical explanation for why the things sell so well.

  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @10:48PM (#26352763) Homepage Journal

    Why duck? Because the way I saw it, I was likely to be modded flamebait by the rabid Apple fanbois. As it is, I received at least one 'overrated' mod -- you know, the usual mod abuse of the not-subject-to-metamod overrated/underrated mods.

  • by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash@p10link ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @11:42PM (#26353277) Homepage

    What the heck do you use PCI cards for these days anyway?
    Mainly secondry network cards and storage controllers. I would also probablly use them if I ever did a setup with more than two monitors or two monitors on a motherboard with no AGP or PCIe slots.

    what functionality can be provided by a PCI(e) card that can't also be provided via USB or Firewire?
    Yeah, theese functions can technically be done over USB, but that means lower performance, higher prices and more mess on the desk.

    The average person doesn't care about expandability.
    I wonder how what proportion of "normal" people have a "geek" friend/colleague/family member they go to for advice on computer matters rather than just buying blindly.

    Sadly I don't think an ordinary desktop mac will happen in the near future since it would take away many mac users excuse for getting thier boss to buy them a mac pro.

  • by jrumney (197329) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @01:27AM (#26354115) Homepage

    What the heck do you use PCI cards for these days anyway?

    Wife acceptance. My wife is much more willing to accept a media centre PC if it is contained within a single box that fits nicely (physically and visually) into the hifi/video equipment stack. Having half a dozen cables coming out of it to various external USB boxes is likely to get it banished to the basement.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @01:57AM (#26354289)

    Ever used FireWire target disk mode?

    Yes, I've used it before a few times... it's sad to see that aspect go. I'm not sure how new users are supposed to do user directory transfers to new systems now, I guess the idea is the Apple Store manages it for you? I've not had to do that yet so I don't know what they offer to make that happen.

    I also agree that firewire performance is better for external devices (most of the drives I used were external firewire, and I have an external firewire drive for a Mac mini I use as an HTPC). But the difference for 99% of people is so marginal that it really doesn't matter than much, external USB is fast enough for consumer DV work.

    Unfortunately Steve Jobs is not an engineer and his whole "make things shiny, then make them functional"

    I think Apple is just quick to embrace market realities - and the reality is that even for camcorders, Firewire is on the outs. So like I said it will remain in pro models for higher end camcorders (although HDV is pushing FW400 for quality feeds so that's mostly 800) along with storage (though if you have a higher end system eSata is better if more cumbersome).

    The mistake is thinking Apple considers fashion first, when the products are very much about a balance of functionality. Otherwise they would not remain popular against cheaper options.

  • by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @06:14AM (#26355619)
    What the heck do you use PCI cards for these days anyway?

    To connect my SCSI gear - eg legacy tape drives to restore from (not much point in those backups if you cant get to the data). There are other custom cards (eg T1/E1 interface) that cost a fortune, and still work fine. Not to mention engineering specials.

    Some of us were not born yesterday, and have a huge legacy of "stuff". (I have dumped my reel-to-reel tapes and 8" floppies, (gave them to the museum) and all my pre-PCI interface cards(sent them to Africa, along with the 486's))

  • by MistrBlank (1183469) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @10:41AM (#26357385)

    Well they switched to the magnetic power adapter so that they could patent and trademark it and either prevent other manufacturers from making adapters or at least draw a licensing check from them if they do.

    Lets be fair, Apple may do some awesome things, but at the end of the day they do it for a paycheck (and yes I'm an apple fanboy with 2 (obsoleted) ipods, an iPhone and a Macbook).

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