Originally Posted by Tailpipe
Now that the new MacBook Air models have dropped, we can turn our attention back to the MacBook Pro. As good as the new Air models are, processor performance and hard disk capacity suggests that only very few people will be able to use them as their primary computer. So what will the next MBPs offer and when?
The disk capacity is a big issue for me. Performance wise the machines aren't to bad. Apparently they can sustain that performance which is something the old AIRs had problems with. Given all of that, the other big negative for me is scteen size; I'm just getting a little old for that size screen. However I still have to say the new AIRs are very impressive. Give them a bigger SSD and I might consider one as sort of a better iPad.
Yes that would imply as a secondary computer. However I expect that that is where many AIR sales go anyway. Many but not all, sales to customers with modest needs can be significant and AIR can serve as a primary computer for these customers.
I wonder if Apple will transition its entire notebook line-up to SSD?
Steveo as much as said so. However I suspect the MBP will be hybrid machines at first.
Given that solid state drives are still very pricy versus standard HDDs, I'm not holding my breath. But I'd love to see a price drop for 500Gb drives that makes them a possibility for inclusion instead of $1,000 extra that means it remains beyond the reach of most.
I suspect pricing is a big factor in Apple going to the new card format. Part of the problem here though is the early state of the tech. Once R&D is recovered prices will drop some but not a huge amount. The problem is flash is hitting a physical density wall so within a couple of years we will need a new technology for SSD.
That said, as good as a 500Gb SSD would be, ITb drives are starting to become the next standard capacity. Proliferation will certainly help prices to soften so let's hope Apple encourages more of us to consider SSDs.
Drive capacity is an interesting thing. When I first got my 2008 MBP i actually thought that 200GB was a lot of storage. In fact it isn't, just installing XCode and the documentation burns a lot of disk space (17GB). NeoOffice (OpenOffice) is half a GB, iWork 0.7, TeX takes a lot of space and then you have all the little programs at 50 to 100MB at a time. Frankly the first 80GB went really fast and that was before much in the way of documents where installed.
So what I'm saying is that the encouragement is there for bigger SSDs. However I might be a different case than average but these days I'd have to reccomend 200GB as minimal storage.
With the latest Westmere chips set to arrive in Q1 2011, it looks like January will be the most likely next MBP refresh date.
I don't know about that. They where in a pattern of bumps in early summer to grab the back to school crowd. Besides next year should be real interesting when it comes to processors. Expect surprises.
The unanswered question is whether lower-end machines will get integral intel GPUs or 3rd party ones from AMD or whomever. (I note that Intel's new 600GB SSD will also go on sale at this time.)
The Pros will likely remained configured as they are, processor / GPU wise. What will become of the White Mac Book is an interesting question as in many ways this is now a high priced machine. Apple will likely try to lower the cost to put it below the new AIRs. One possibility is to use Zacate if it can be had in a fast enough clock by then. I could see the White dropping to under $700.
The other technology that may also be ready for prime time is USB 3.0. Will it be ready for inclusion in the next MBPs?
Sadly it looks like AMD will beat Intel to market with USB3. I have mixed feelings with respect to USB 3. The problem is it is very much end of the road for USB and really offers very little beyound speed.
Whatever new stuff comes along, it looks like the DVD will remain an integral part of the MBP line-up for the foreseeable future.
It depends upon the pro. The 15" is likely to retain and I'm pretty sure the 17" will keep the drive. The 13" i'm not to sure about. I'd rather see the 13" MBP support a descrete GPU and a bigger battery myself. Those CD drives take up a lot of space that could be better used making the 13" MBP more "PRO" like.
So to summarise next MBPs:
- January when Westmere arrives
- Faster performance, better graphics
- Possibly USB 3.0
- SSD drives still expensive but increase in capacities and decrease in price per GB
- Same form factor
- Same DVD drive
- Higher screen resolutions
- Longer battery life
All good, but will this be enough to persuade people with anything but very old machines (pre-unibody enclosure) to upgrade?
Most MBP users care about performance. Give the machine a bump in this regard and they will sell. Further I think you underestimate the attraction of SSDs and the responsiveness they add to the machines. This is why I expect hybrid machines where a magnetic drive is used for user accounts and data. SSDs are to expensive to cover pro storage needs but they can greatly enhance a machine when apps and system files are stored on them.
I think we'll see the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines merge into a single DVD drive-less machine with variable screen sizes by 2012. What will most drive this is the die-shrink from 32 nm Westmere to 22nm Ivy Bridge.
Nope! The MBP will just get faster with more computing resources than can be put into an AIR. MBPs catter to power users, that is people that can actually leverage the computational power in these machines. It is an entirely different market than the one served by AIR users. Now the MBP may end up looking a bit more AIR like but that does not mean they have the same guts.
Well you got comments. As you know what Apple has up its sleeves is anybodies guess. I just see a major update coming. Of course I've already been wrong this year when it came to the Mac Pro so what do I know? The writing is on the wall or at least in the AIRs.