Apple MacBook ?update?: just stock clearance in disguise?

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
i got the following article from itwire. go read it and i do think it sounds quite reasonable.

Apple MacBook ?update?: just stock clearance in disguise?

By Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

In the week after Intel launched the Santa Rosa ?next-gen? Centrino platform, Apple?s latest MacBook updates seem designed to clear out existing stock before a true next-gen MacBook arrives possibly arrives alongside OS X 10.5 later this year - but Apple begs to differ.

Apple?s MacBook updates are a ?bare minimum? hardware upgrade to counter the new Santa Rosa based Centrino Duo and Centrino Pro notebooks that PC manufacturers have started shipping since Intel?s launch last week.

The same three MacBook models are available, in black or white, with more features packed in for the same previous price. The white MacBooks now come with either 2.0Ghz or 2.16Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processors, either 80Gb or 120Gb as standard and both come with 1Gb of RAM, although users wanting more power and multitasking flexibility will always opt to upgrade to 2Gb of RAM instead. Respective prices are US $1099 and US $1299 (or AUD $1599 and AUD $1899).

The black MacBook now comes with a 2.16Ghz processor, a 160Gb hard disk and 1Gb of RAM as standard for US $1499 or AUD $2199, while all three have a 13-inch glossy widescreen display, a built-in AV iChat webcam, iLife ?06, OS X 10.4.9, the MagSafe Power Adapter, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and the latest draft standard of 802.11n Wi-Fi.

Update: A local Australian Apple spokesperson, upon seeing the original version of this article, wanted to remind me (and you) that Apple have indeed taken the lead in updating the MacBook line over the past few months, giving it features that most PC notebooks didn't have, until the recent Santa Rosa update.

The spokesperson said that: "In response to your article this morning, I thought you should know that the MacBook already delivers key features of the new Santa Rosa platform. For example, MacBook already uses the fastest available memory for notebooks at 667MHz; we have already rolled out next-generation 802.11n wireless networking technology across our entire line of notebooks; and we've had Gigabit Ethernet as a standard feature for years now. In addition, Mac OS X on the MacBook already delivers outstanding graphics quality for Front Row and iLife applications such as iPhoto and iMovie HD.So, with the new MacBooks, we chose to provide our users with faster processors, 1GB of memory standard, and larger hard drives in all models".

In response to that, one of the differences between the previous generation notebooks and the new Santa Rosa platform still offers advantages over the previous generation, which had the code name 'Napa'.

One difference is the Intel Core 2 Duo's faster front side bus, upgraded from 667Mhz to 800Mhz. Note that this is something different to the memory in the statement above which is running at 667Mhz, and which I believe runs at the same rate in Santa Rosa models.

Another feature that PC manufacturers can choose to offer with Santa Rosa models is known as 'Turbo Memory'. Previously code-named Robson, this allows manufacturers to place up to 1Gb of NAND Flash memory to act as a fast internal cache to take a load off the hard drive. In tests at the Intel launch, two otherwise identically configured Lenovo notebook computers, with the only different being one had 1Gb of Turbo Memory, showed that, in the test at least, the Turbo Memory euqipped model performed its tasks almost twice as fast as the non-Turbo Memory equipped model.

The 'new' Core 2 Duo in Santa Rosa based notebooks has a more advanced accompanying chipset known as 965, instead of the older 950 that is still used in the new MacBook, the new Core 2 Duo has better internal power management and what Intel calls "Enhanced dynamic acceleration technology" that can speed up operations within the processor if it is running a program that is single threaded and is only using one of the cores inside the dual-core processor. In these cases, Intel's new Core 2 Duo can actually boost the speed of the single core in use to deliver faster performance. Intel say it's not overclocking but an actual designed feature, which is pretty interesting and cool to see.

So, while Apple have indeed been leaders in updating the MacBook with advanced technologies faster than PC based competitors for a while now, and have their own special software programs, like iLife '06 that will happily run perfectly well on the new updated MacBook, it can't be denied that the "state-of-the-art" in physical hardware has been updated by Intel.

And that's why there have been rumors for some time about the way Apple might update the entire Mac notebook line. Rumors abound that Apple could launch MacBook Pros at Apple?s WWDC on the Santa Rosa platform, setting a clear hardware differentiator between the MacBook Pro and MacBook lines, the only thing we know for certain is that the updates to the MacBook line are the bare minimum expected and fall far short of a true update.

More rumors suggest a new super-thin MacBook is on the way, while yet even more rumors of a true Mac Tablet won?t go away either and questions over when Apple will update the Mac Mini remain unanswered. In addition, the updated MacBooks don?t feature the expected LED backlighting slated for future MacBook and MacBook Pro models as discussed by Steve Jobs in his recent 'Green' manifesto, putting Apple on a greener path, faster, than traditional PC competitors.

There has also been talk that Apple hasn?t updated the look and feel of their portable range for years, prompting speculation that the next series of Mac notebooks will feature a stunning new design that will once again set the pace for the entire industry, just as the iPhone threatens in the world of converged mobile phone and Internet connected devices.

If you?ve been wanting to buy a Mac right about now, the upgrades come at a perfect time, giving you more bang for your buck right off the bat. But if you?re waiting for the true next-generation of Mac notebooks, that time has sadly not yet come, with the current update looking a bit like an attempt to clear out existing hardware before a range of rumored all singing, all dancing and shiny new models appear with OS X 10.5 pre-loaded towards the end of the year

Buy one if your need is now and you can?t wait, we're sure you won't be disappointed with the performance that you'll receive today running today's software, and likely even tomorrow's (such as Mac OS X 10.5) ? but if you can wait just a bit longer to see what happens when OS X 10.5 launches, our guess is that you?ll be glad that you did!

I am one of those consumers who has been waiting for the NEW macbook, but i am a little bit hesitated in deciding whether i buy the relatively new macbook or wait until the end of the year for the absolute new edition of macbook.

macbook had 2 upgrades in May & Nov of 2006. this year, the first upgrade also happed in May, so what about Nov?


  • Reply 1 of 3
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,991member
    Originally Posted by windsorr View Post

    i got the following article from itwire. go read it and i do think it sounds quite reasonable....

    ...I am one of those consumers who has been waiting for the NEW macbook, but i am a little bit hesitated in deciding whether i buy the relatively new macbook or wait until the end of the year for the absolute new edition of macbook.

    macbook had 2 upgrades in May & Nov of 2006. this year, the first upgrade also happed in May, so what about Nov?

    I am so sick of these threads re: "Now or Wait?" I really offense. The MB is never going to be a MBP. It's had two updates in a year, as you pointed out, and it's a damn fine consumer machine. It's one thing to ask whether or not it's ABOUT to be updated, but to hesitate right AFTER it's been updated is just engaging in wishful thinking. If you need or want a new MB, buy one. It's a great product. If you need something more powerful, spend the extra $500 and get a nice MBP.

    I remember when I bought the Pismo..people were bitching that it wasn't a G4 and the update sucked. Meanwhile, I got a great of the best notebooks Apple ever made. For the same money as a Lombard the day before...I got a faster bus, 20% speed boost and firewire. But there were plenty of folks griping that they were going to wait for a G4 come hell or high water. It took a full year and what they found was that the PBG4 was arguably not as good a machine anyway.

    More than likely, the next MB update will be an overhaul...a total overhaul. I don't know why anyone expected this update to be a killer. So my advice stands...if you need and want one...I'd buy now. There is no guarantee that they'll update in the fall. I'd say the odds are against it. My thinking would be January.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    It's not good netiquette to copy and paste a story unless you are quoting a very small portion. It's more polite to just link to the site/story you are referencing.

    I'm not sure how this can be a stock clearance because all existing units would have to have its memory and hard drive swapped. They might keep an inventory of units made without memory and hard drive for the build to order requests, but I don't think they can keep that many in stock like that.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    The debate of now or later has been going on since forever. If you need a car, you buy a car. If you want to wait for the next latest and greatest you never buy anything. If you need a last generation MacBook buy it, they tend to hold their value well. If you want to wait for molecular hard drives with Xray frequency global wireless, then wait. I hear they should be available someday!
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