Originally Posted by mcarling
The idea of two SSD card slots is a good idea. In 2012, Apple could offer SSD cards of up to 512GB each, for a total of 1TB. That would, of course, be an expensive configuration, but few users need more than 256GB in a laptop. Many users are still buying the 64GB MacBook Air, though I would expect 128GB to be the minimum configuration for the MacBook Pro.
The idea of three SSD card slots is silly.
So adding one to the number of slots makes a good idea silly? Silly or not depends upon the hardware support that is available and the space that can be easily offered up for such capability. To that end three slots for AIR like SSD modules ought to be easy for Apple to engineer in. I say AIR like because I would expect a higher performance PCI-Express implementation.
The driving force behind such a configuration is the very fact that large SSDs are still very expensive. Thus one might find it cheaper to populate the machine with three 256GB "blades" than two 512GB modules. The problem for Apple is pretty clear, if they want to transition to all SSD based machines they need a way to satisfy the needs of a wide array of users. Offering up three slots is probably the best bet for the next two years.
The idea of two Thunderbolt ports is also silly.
For a laptop marketed as a desktop replacement for Pros it is a very good idea. It means that a fast disk array can be attached without the bandwidth issues seen on a single TB channel. People have to remember that the port is still serial and like all such ports can become congested.
The five year use case argument is the icing on the cake though. It is not in Apple's interest for users to keep their laptops for five years. Two to three years is the normal time to replacement and it's in Apple's interest to reduce that time by offering compelling improvements every year, not increase that time by offering functionality that is useless (and expensive) today but might become useful in the future.
I'm not sure where you get your numbers from. First it is not normal to trade a machine in every 2-3 years. Most people are saddled with hardware for much longer. The problem here though is that you mis the point anyways. Apple designs platforms and then gets about four to five years use out if them with minor respins each year. This isn't a discussion about users it is a discussion about how Apple markets and designs hardware. The UniBody came out in 2008 so it is about time for another platform to serve them for the next 4-5 years.
As to Apples interest here, it would be a terrible mistake to build hardware to entice only the existing customer base. It is in Apples best interest to continue to design hardware that brings in new customers. Relying on the replacement business is breath to most companies.
The idea of 8GB minimum RAM is silly too. With the Mac Pro still shipping with 3GB of RAM in the base configuration and the Mac Mini still shipping with 2GB in the base configuration, it's obviously too early to ship any Mac with a minimum 8GB configuration. We'll see the Mac Pro and the Mac Mini rise to a minimum configuration of at least 4GB before any laptop gets an 8GB minimum configuration.
I really don't care about Apple existing hardware, what I care about is what is reasonable for Apple to offer on new models. RAM has gotten so cheap over the last year that anything less than 8Gb in a Pro laptop would be a ripoff. Beyond that why even bring up the Pro in a discussion about RAM, the machine is well past 500 days for an update.
I don't understand why it is so difficult for some readers here to see past what they want and think for a moment about what makes sense for Apple to offer.
I really don't understand why readers are so willing to bend over for Apple when they have pricing structures that are clearly out of whack with reality. Here I'm talking specifically about base RAM in their machines. It really doesn't make sense for Apple to offer up hardware that gives a bad user experience right out of the box. This is exactly what we are getting right now.
Some other ways to look at this. My MBP came with 2GB of RAM in early 2008. This wasn't bad at introduction but is clearly a limitation with the current shipping software suite. Today that 2GB of RAM is a trivial expense. If you don't like that reference consider this, my new iPad comes with 1GB of RAM. This for a single tasking machine that never runs a VM, XCode, Eclipse, Mac OS Safari or other demanding piece of software. In any event I can tell you with some confidence that 2GB of RAM is not enough for even casual use of a Mac these days.
As to the Mini of course it should have 4GB in the base machine, though again 8GB wouldn't hurt. Apple could do that and lower the price at the same time. You know I really don't know if the management teams at Apple are too dense to see the reality of their hardware lineup, but the Minis poor sales can be directly attributed to its crappy value relative to even the laptops.
If you think this is out of line then I'd have to suggest looking around a bit. Compare the cost of 4GB or 8GB of RAM to what it would cost a year ago. In the case of a Mac Pro two years ago. Then consider this, Apple is a huge consumer of RAM, they likely get very good prices relative to what we see in the market today. In the end I really don't understand why people are so willing to give Apple a pass on this issue.