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Portables (Apple) Apple Hardware

New Apple MacBook Pro Reviewed 627

Posted by timothy
from the not-yer-daddy's-laptop dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "As fate would have it, an Intel chipset glitch delayed shipments of almost every laptop manufacturer, save one. Apple, which has typically been last in transitioning to new technology, is now among the first to launch laptops with Sandy Bridge. The Apple MacBook Pro (Thunderbolt) is the fastest laptop out there. Powered with a Quad-core Core i7 processor and AMD Radeon HD 6750M, the MacBook Pro has a lot of fire power to offer. Unfortunately though it is still a bit expensive and there is a lack of Thunderbolt devices to take advantage of the new interface."
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New Apple MacBook Pro Reviewed

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 26, 2011 @07:42PM (#35327252)

    A rumor that Intel quickly denied. Others can support it, Apple was just first. The original statement was to the effect it'd probably be about a year before others would support it, because it would require new hardware, etc.

  • Re:Uh oh (Score:5, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @07:56PM (#35327340) Journal
    Yes and no...

    Apple is typically very aggressive about killing legacy things in favor of whatever new hotness they have decided on, even when customers whine about it, and they have recently been Intel's shiny launch partner of choice(so there is usually a short period of exclusivity for Intel's new hotness). They are also pretty aggressive about deciding that some feature should be 'baseline' rather than 'upgrade' at a relatively early date(this shows up with things like bluetooth today, or 802.11b back when that was optional on nastier PC laptops...) That is the yes.

    The "no" is that Firewire was pretty much the last hardware standard that Apple had a major hand in. USB? Appeared on PC motherboards well before Apple ones(it was Intel's baby after all), Apple was just the first to burn the legacy options. 802.11b? All of Apple's 1st gen gear was rebadged Lucent off-the shelf stuff. Apple made it an available consumer option while Lucent was still squeezing the enterprise guys; but that was pure sticker engineering? Killed off the floppy? The first to stop offering it across the board, possibly; but you've been able to spec PCs without floppies well back into Apple's beige era. 64bit desktops? Hello AMD, 3D cards? Apple's selections are always archaic, even now that they are an Intel shop. etc, etc.

    By virtue of their disinterest in coddling legacy users and low price points, Apple does, certainly, come up a lot on the "pushed technology X into ubiquity within their product line by murdering its predecessors and making it a standard option" list. However, the list of "was actually first" is substantially shorter, especially in more recent years. The list of "invented here, rather than launch partnered here" is shorter still, especially these days.

    They undoubtedly do adopt-and-polish quite well; but their actual degree of pioneering needs to be kept in perspective.
  • Re:A BIT expensive?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by daver00 (1336845) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @08:05PM (#35327390)

    The thing is, at the entry level, Macbook Pros are actually extremely good value. Before I go on I'll just note that I'm far from an Apple fanboy and I live in Australia where prices are less than optimal. Now the lowest spec 13" MBP is $1200 ($1400 in AU), for that you get cpu performance equal to that of the previous generation (2010 model) 17" MBP, you get an extremely well crafted enclosure with a nice design in a portable form factor. I have been shopping around for a new laptop and for me the key points were: small, light, attractive, powerful. My options were basically Vaio, Dell XPS studio, HP Envy or Macbook Pro. The MBP was cheaper than all the other options with the nicest design (Australian market here, prices differ quite dramatically). Apple also offer me a student discount, and a free iPod.

    I don't like Apple, I really don't (I DO however very much like their industrial design), but I shopped around for a long time and the MBP came up as the best value laptop within my reach. I could have gone down and bought some ugly thick plastic fantastic with better specs for less, but as I said it was crucial to me to have a nice design and a slim package. I'll grant that the MBP cost does not scale well with options, particularly if you opt for alterations when you buy. That said I think I've scored a ridiculously good deal, I'll be installing my own SSD and expect that to reap far more performance gains than bumping up the CPU (at $300 premium no less).

    FWIW I was looking at the 14" HP Envy for $2400, the Vaio Z at $3000, or the MBP 13" at $1270 with a free iPod, these are Australian prices.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @08:20PM (#35327466)
    Except that isn't the case here. Thunderbolt uses effectively the same connector as the Mini DisplayPort. So if you don't have any other TB peripherals, you just plug your monitor in there.

    It was announced that LightPeak will use a compatible connector with, I suppose, a fiber connection embedded in it somewhere. But otherwise the connector is the same.

    Apple has done similar things before. My older MacBook Pro, for example, has fiber-optic connections embedded in the 2.5mm Line In and Headphone jacks. I don't know of many people who have made use of the fiber connectors for sound, but they are there, nevertheless.
  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday February 26, 2011 @08:38PM (#35327558)

    No, it's not a rumor. Apple has an exclusive deal with Intel for Thunderbolt until the full LightPeak standard is worked out, which is expected to take about a year.

    Not according to Intel, they don't. [pcmag.com]

    "Other system makers are free to implement Thunderbolt on their systems as well, and we anticipate seeing some of those systems later this year and in early 2012."

    Thunderbolt will appear on PC laptops as soon as the Sandy Bridge chipsets without SATA problems start shipping. Apple has the head start here because their machines don't have the eSATA port that is standard on most PC laptops today.

  • Re:A BIT expensive?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @08:59PM (#35327658)

    Apple simply doesn't try to compete in the 2-inch thick, 9-pound, short-battery-life segment of the laptop market. Not everyone carries about weight or size - but some of us do.

    You're just making up numbers. The only " 2-inch thick, 9-pound" laptops are 17" beasts designed for gaming, and they don't cost $399. Most of the 399 laptops are in the 5 to 6 lb range and are about 1.25in thick. Most of them have reasonable battery life too, at least 4 hours.

    How about this? You can get a ThinkPad T410 for under $1000 with an i5 and 6 hour battery life that weighs less than 5 lbs.

    I'm about to buy a T420s, which will cost around $1300 with a Sandy Bridge i5 and a higher resolution display than the 15" MacBook Pro. And it's thinner. And it weighs almost 2lbs less.

    There is no getting around the fact that Apple's laptops are very, very expensive.

    The build quality / durability argument doesn't hold because top-tier business laptops (ThinkPad T-series, EliteBook, Latitude E-series) now go for under $1000 and most have passed MIL Spec tests for vibration/drops/dust/etc (which the MacBook has not).

    The performance argument doesn't hold because PCs and Macs now use the same Intel chipsets and CPUs, so the performance is the same.

    The weight/size argument doesn't hold because you can get PCs with the same performance that are as small and light as the MacBook Pro - or in some cases lighter and smaller. The ThinkPad T420s is lighter (by almost a pound) and thinner than the MacBook Pro 13 and it has the same Sandy Bridge dual-core CPUs.

    So we're left with the OS, the design, and some other features like a higher-contrast-ratio LCD. If you are willing to pay more for that, that's your decision. But stop trying to pretend that you aren't paying a big premium for those features.

    You're buying the PC equivalent of a a Lexus. Yes, it's nicer than the Toyota that costs half as much. It's not twice as nice, though. And trying to pretend that it's somehow justified from a value standpoint is stupid.

  • Re:Uh oh (Score:4, Informative)

    by shaper (88544) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @10:24PM (#35328152) Homepage

    USB? Appeared on PC motherboards well before Apple ones(it was Intel's baby after all), Apple was just the first to burn the legacy options.

    USB was an obscure curiosity when Apple aggressively adopted it in the original Bondi blue iMac. I clearly remember watching the market for USB peripherals be completely driven by demand from iMac (and then other Apple model) owners at a time when PC users stayed away from the technology because it was incompatible with all their PS2, serial and parallel port peripherals. Often the place to find USB equipment was in the Apple section in stores.

    802.11b? All of Apple's 1st gen gear was rebadged Lucent off-the shelf stuff.

    This one I remember very well. Apple spearheaded the consumer wireless market with the introduction of the $299 Airport "UFO" wireless hub. I had wanted wireless for a while but couldn't afford it. The only other options were all so far above that first Airport price point that it was a shock to the market. The other thing Apple did to lead in consumer wireless was to make it an option in all their computers, especially in laptops, and then a standard option that you had to de-select and finally as an unremovable feature.

    Killed off the floppy? The first to stop offering it across the board, possibly; but you've been able to spec PCs without floppies well back into Apple's beige era.

    Maybe so, but no sane PC user did back in those days. The floppy ruled the PC data storage and transfer world well past the point when Apple users had moved on to other technologies. It took forever for PC USB boot support to be common enough to supplant the ubiquitous PC admin's emergency boot floppy.

    Everything you have said is technically true but misses the whole story. Sure, Apple didn't invent the technologies you mention but Apple's influence was instrumental in getting early adoption going and building markets for them.

  • Re:Uh oh (Score:4, Informative)

    by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @12:22AM (#35328650)

    I'm sorry, but this

    fought USB as long as it could

    is demonstrably false.

    USB 1.1 was the first iteration of USB that was actually widely implemented by a lot of manufacturers. It was introduced in September of 1998, however the original iMac was released August 15th 1998 with USB 1.1 ports as the sole method of hooking up the keyboard and mouse as well as an additional USB port. The mouse plugs into the keyboard which uses one of the ports. Please explain how Apple shipping their brand new line of computers with USB 1.1 as the sole method of hooking up a couple of required peripherals 3 weeks before it's official release equates to "fighting USB as long as they could", especially since I remember buying Dells in the early 2000's that still shipped with PS2 mice and keyboards. I still have the iMac and some of the Dells lying around here someplace...

    If you want to rag on someone because you think they're a fanboy, fine, but get your facts straight.

  • Re:Uh oh (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stupendoussteve (891822) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @12:42AM (#35328736)
    Apple has a long history with ARM. They had a part in the creation of the ARM6 and the Newton used an ARM processor, and now the iPhone with its custom A4 cpu... they've definitely had their hands all over that.
  • Re:Uh oh (Score:4, Informative)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:06AM (#35329176)

    Because the observation is incorrect – apple tend to launch their new lines just as new parts become available – just as they've done here. With the original Core architecture, apple were releasing machines exactly as intel released the CPUs. Same with Core2, same with the Santa Rosa chipsets for them, okay Core i7 they were a bit slow on, but that was because of the mess with nVidia and chipsets (which incidentally, nVidia made *specially* for apple, and then released later as ion). And finally, with the MacBook Air, apple got intel to produce an entire new packaging for their CPUs just to fit in apple's laptop.

    I dunno about you, but being the first out, or at very least one of the first, with all but one of the major upgrades is hardly what I'd call being consistently the last to transition.

  • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Informative)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @03:55AM (#35329328)

    As you decided to use Dell as an example, I'll carry on – lets use a larger sample than your biased sample of 2:

    Inspiron Mini 1018 –no eSATA
    Inspiron Mini 1012 – no eSATA
    Inspiron Duo – no eSATA
    Inspiron z101 –no eSATA
    Inspiron 14r – eSATA
    Alienware M11x –no eSATA
    Inspiron 15r –eSATA
    Inspiron M5030 – no eSATA
    Inspiron M501 –eSATA
    XPS 15 –eSATA
    Inspiron 17r – eSATA
    XPS 17 – eSATA
    Alienware M17x –no eSATA

    So if by "most" you mean "less than 50% of laptops made by one of the companies that uses eSATA the most", then you'd be right... Unfortunately that's not the traditional definition of "most".

  • Re:Uh oh (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @05:40AM (#35329622) Journal
    ARM was spun out from Acorn specifically because Apple didn't want to buy processors from a competitor. ARM was originally a joint venture between three companies: Acorn, Apple, and NatSemi.
  • by am 2k (217885) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @06:04AM (#35329686) Homepage

    There's a non-glossy screen option in the store. Also comes with a higher resolution.

  • Re:Uh oh (Score:4, Informative)

    by Shin-LaC (1333529) on Sunday February 27, 2011 @08:25AM (#35330014)
    The iMac replaced the floppy disk with the internet. That's what the "i" stood for, originally. And they explicitly said "you won't need a floppy disk because you can send files via email", etc.

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