Recommended reading SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: OS – Apple fan boy or higher. CPU – Super Geek or higher GPU – Mega Nerd or Higher
I’ve gathered some confirmed and speculative rumors with an attempt to make sense of what this means going into the future. MacRumors reported a few weeks back that production already commenced on the new line of MacBook Pros with an initial batch of 100,000 to 150,000 units a month. With the PC market and the likes of Acer banking their business on UltraBooks, Apple has clearly started a REVolution with high-performance mega-mobile computing. Netbooks were a fad in a new market tablets now reside in, but the MacBook Air and UltraBooks are categories that may just be integrated into the standard laptop segment.
For now let’s discuss the evolution of the new MacBook Pros which are due to hit the market sometime this Fall. Legacy technology looks to be ditched in this incarnation so say goodbye to an optical drive, Ethernet and FireWire port. I don’t know about you but I haven’t touched either of the three in about a year. No wait, I watched five minutes of Redbelt to see if the drive still worked. Then I went over to Netflix to finish it. I hear the SD card slot and a new combination of SSD and HDD will get a starting nod though it’s unconfirmed if the disk drives will be a single unit hybrid like this, Apple proprietary, or standard laptop units. Apple continues to push thunderbolt being fully backed by Intel gives it a chance to succeed. It is after all faster than USB 3.0, does audio/video and is compatible with mini display-port. All this nerdy, geeky tech talk means brings us to this. The internal omissions will give the MacBook line a slimmer more Air-like profile. It may even be more dramatic of a tapered wedge due to its larger overall size than the Airs. Can’t wait to my finger board to the Apple Store!
It’s still called the Pro. Not the MacBook 15” Air and not the Macbook Air Pro. So how is Apple going to differentiate the two? It starts with the new Ivy Bridge CPU. I’ll simplify what it means as best as I can. Slight boost in CPU performance, huge increase in the integrated GPU (about 30%) and ridiculous battery life due to the reduced 22nm architecture. Since it will be marketed towards the professional-level user Apple will also upgrade the dedicated graphics processor to something like the AMD Radeon 7700m family of chips. Games will look and run five times superior to PS3 offerings. Video encoding times will be something along the lines of an 8-core Mac Pro from a few years ago. I’m guessing raw GeekBench scores to clear 13000 easily as the current ones consistently hover around the 8,000 – 9,500 mark. Basically, you’ll be able to replace your desktop or iMac with this laptop and maybe an external display. Heck, I’ve been able to do that with the 2010 model i7 MacBook Pro paired with the Cinema Display.
Get ready for HiDPI. High Dots Per Inch. Not quite retina but close in other words. The iPhone 4S has 364 dots (or pixels) per square inch. Expect the new Macbook Pros to at least clear 200. Gizmodo also reports that these new computers will sport a surface trackpad. The entire palm rest will be touch-sensitive, gesture controllable, and I don’t think it will make this generation. The costs of the aforementioned seem to be broaching Apple’s standard product cost ratio so look for Tim Cook to keep this further down the pipeline.
The iPhone basically cannibalized the iPod market. A more powerful iPad plus iOS integration into Lion could certainly do the same to the 11 inch MacBook Air which already ate the entry level polycarbonate MacBook line. The Air’s genetic physical traits would pass upstream to the current line of MacBook Pros. The Mac Pros eventually will bow out to the iMac as the standard desktop power professional workstation. Finally, the Apple TV would be replaced by the umm Apple…Television. I know.
Do you own a MacBook Pro? If so, I’d recommend backing up your data and start making plans to sell via Craigslist, Amazon or eBay. A visual refresh always kills market value as well as all the new power under that aluminum hood. My 15.4” MacBook Pro with 8GB ram and pre-Sandy Bridge 2.66GHZ i7 looks to be fetching $1,100 to $1,200 on the used market. This could go as low as $700 after the new line comes out. If you made it this far into the reading, slap another 100 points to your GeekBench score.
You deserve it.