In what seemed to be a round of this date / that date, Apple introduced it’s new line of MacBook Pros this morning. The biggest addition to the line was Intel’s new Thunderbolt technology. We’ll get into that later. This post is recap of all the rumors we’ve heard in the past couple months and whether or not they made it into the final product. We’ll say this, the more you buy into the rumors… the more you’ll be disappointed with the product.
Higher Resolution Displays
Since Apple announced the new MacBook Air, we’ve been expecting a display with 1400×900 resolution to end up in the 13-inch MacBook Pro. We realize that the MacBook Air has a completely different LCD than the MacBook Pro, but we didn’t think it would be too difficult to offer the higher resolution as an option. Considering the fact that the 15-inch and the 17-inch both have optional high-resolution displays, it only made sense to bring it to the 13-inch. Instead, we’re stuck with 1280×800. Yuck.
Blade Solid State Drive Technology
Again, thanks to the MacBook Air, we were expecting Toshiba’s Blade technology to make its way over to the MacBook Pros. We were also expecting Apple to open up their external SuperDrive to every Mac and remove the optical drives completely from the new laptops. The external SuperDrives are currently limited to specific devices thanks to some odd limitations, but replacing them with a universal option would make it well worth the $80 retail price. With that said, we expected Apple to include the blade technology in the new generation MacBook Pros. If they had done that, they could remove the current hard drive bay, increase the size of the battery, run the OS from the blade and put a secondary hard drive (one with a platter) in place of the optical drive for additional storage. Now that would have been a “Pro” machine. Alas, we expect that solid-state memory is still too expensive for Apple to make it standard in their laptops.
Liquid Metal Unibody Enclosure
We heard rumors that Apple would be using Liquid Metal for the outside shell of the new MacBook Pros. The biggest issue with this rumor was the sheer shininess of it. To quell that rumor, we also heard that Apple had been working with colored die to tint the shade of the liquid metal and produce a matte look. Obviously, this didn’t happen… doesn’t mean that we can’t dream, right? We’ll take virtually indestructible laptops for a thousand.
This rumor actually made it into Apple’s new laptops, but its name changed to Thunderbolt. Apple has been working with Intel to develop Light Peak for well over a year and even let them use their Mini DisplayPort connector for the standard. After a little tizzy from the USB group, Intel decided not to use a standard USB-shaped connector and switched to MDP for Thunderbolt. Some of the demos floating around show a new MacBook Pro daisy chained to an external RAID and then to a 27-inch Cinema display. Plug a monitor into a hard drive? Yes, please. This will easily be the new standard — 10Gbps transfer speed for the win — so we’re happy to see Apple include this in their new lineup.
Intel announced their Sandy Bridge processors in early January and everyone expected them to make their way to Apple’s new laptops. They were right. These new processors are a huge bump forward in computing. The 13-inch models ended up with the dual-core offerings and the more powerful 15-inch and 17-inch laptops ended up with quad core Sandy Bridge processors. We’re still waiting on the benchmarks to come in, but bundling this with an SSD and Thunderbolt will definitely be zippy.
The End Result
There were definitely more rumors than that but those were the rumors we would’ve taken to the bank. Consider us bummed that we didn’t get everything… but honestly, we’re more bummed about a lackluster display in the 13-inch model. Leave the blade out, forget the liquid metal, but give us better displays. Please? Thunderbolt is definitely going to change the input/output world for the better. We’re still waiting on benchmarks before we decide to upgrade from last year’s model. Let us know what you think about the latest MacBook Pros. Are they missing something that you thought would come standard?