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View Full Version : Anyone Else Underwhelmed by the New Macbook Pro Line?


Jason Dunn
02-25-2011, 12:00 AM
<p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1298584866.usr1.jpg" /></p><p>Apple announced a <a href="http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/" target="_blank">new line of Macbook Pro</a> hardware today (buy 'em from <a href="http://astore.amazon.com/laptopthoughts-20" target="_blank">our Amazon.com store</a>), and I have to admit I was underwhelmed. Yes, they have Intel's rocking new Sandy Bridge CPUs that offer insanely great performance. Yes, they've switched from NVIDIA to AMD (ATI) graphics that offer up to 3x graphics performance. And, yes, there's the impressive Thunderbolt connectivity and an HD camera. <MORE /></p><p>What was I hoping for? A product line that was shaped by the technologies and design that Apple came up with for the Macbook Air. There were so many things I liked about the Air <a href="http://www.applethoughts.com/news/show/102236/apple-s-macbook-air-13-2010-model-the-future-of-laptops.html" target="_blank">when I reviewed it</a>, but the CPU just didn't quite measure up. I returned it for a refund and was essentially waiting for this line of Macbook Pros to be released - I was hoping that the design cues I saw in the Air would trickle up to the Macbook Pro line.</p><p>What was I hoping for? Something thinner, lighter. Something with the same SSD technology in the Air. Something that had the 70:30 battery to motherboard ratio that the Air has. Something that felt like the future of notebooks, not like more of the same. Now I'm not knocking the design of the Macbook Pro laptops - there's a lot to like about them - but I was hoping for more of a revolution and less of an evolution.</p><p>Anyone else hoping for more? I should have known given that there was no live Apple event - they always do events for truly new products - but hope springs eternal...</p>

Jeff Campbell
02-25-2011, 12:19 AM
I was a little "meh" at the whole thing, as I was hoping for some scaled down versions ala MacBook Air. If not that, then perhaps more focus on the SSD. They did add some nice features (camera, Thunderbolt)... and it looks like Apple was also underwhelmed since they didn't have an event to announce it all. It was a nice refresh, how about that? :-)

rockinthesixstring
02-25-2011, 12:24 AM
As a 13" MB Pro user, I can't be underwhelmed with the upgrade. In fact, I'll be upgrading at the first opportunity.

The jump from the Core 2 Duo to the i5/i7 is a huge improvement
Thunderbolt is going to be amazing
HD camera is Meh simply because I don't use my iSight.

Everything else in the box is the same as the old one, which is already hands down the best notebook on the market. So adding the additional goods at the same price as the old one is far from underwhelming.

cjhpe
02-25-2011, 12:31 AM
Jason,
I would agree with both you and Jeff and would call this a pretty good refresh but nothing revolutionary. I also see why no event was planned and it was just kind of rolled out...

With that being said it may still be my first apple PC...

Thanks J...

gmontielh
02-25-2011, 02:52 AM
Same screen resolution is a deal breaker. Expected same resolution as latest MBA at the very least on the 13". Faster processor, better (really needed?) camera and graphics handling not much incentive. I am well satisfied with previous model. Also look forward for flash memory to go down short term as it becomes more available. Thus I will wait for next MBP model.

Phronetix
02-25-2011, 02:55 AM
Whoa. Jason Dunn covers another Apple product release. Somewhere, at some foundation charity event, Bill Gates's heart skipped a beat. ;-)

I expected this sort of refresh, mostly because I couldn't see how Apple would release a brand new design that included a 13 inch notebook that was everything the MacBook Air wasn't.

I don't envision that the MacBook Pro line will be evolving into the MacBook Air line... that would cut into the power and features. Seems more likely that as technology shrinks, changes and becomes less costly, the Air line can evolve into the Pro line, as power and cost differences between the two lines begin to disappear. There is no doubt that Apple wants this direction to be their way... just not yet.

Dyvim
02-25-2011, 03:51 AM
With no event scheduled, I suspected it would just be a typical refresh.
I'm waiting for the MBA to get a Sandy Bridge processor and Thunderbolt. Same for Mac mini. (Also waiting to see what kind of peripherals with Thunderbolt support appear on the market and how much they will cost.)

DaleReeck
02-25-2011, 12:51 PM
If they made the new MacBooks look more like MacBook Airs, then they wouldn't need MacBook Airs, now would they? ;)

Phronetix
02-26-2011, 03:30 PM
Well, then again, there are the early benchmarks (http://www.primatelabs.ca/blog/2011/02/macbookpro-benchmarks-early-2011/).

If these are reproducible, they represent one of the greatest jumps I can recall. Given that, I'm more impressed. I'm disappointed that Apple won't allow a quad core CPU in its 13 MBP. Is there an issue with motherboard or other component size that anyone is aware of?

Deslock
02-26-2011, 05:31 PM
Woah, I actually agree with Jason Dunn on something :D What I posted at the-gadgeteer.com:

What a letdown.

Thunderbolt is interesting, and a faster CPU is always nice, but without a resolution bump up, SSD for OS/apps (32GB would suffice if there was also a HDD for data), instant resume, and lower weight, Iíll pass. Would rather get a MBA, despite its lowly Core2Duo.

Jason Dunn
02-26-2011, 08:48 PM
Well, then again, there are the early benchmarks (http://www.primatelabs.ca/blog/2011/02/macbookpro-benchmarks-early-2011/).

Yes, the Sandy Bridge Intel CPUs are *killer* from a performance perspective. The absolutely shred - and certainly anyone that was using a Macbook Pro 13 previous with a Core 2 Duo CPU, the new Macbook Pro 13 would *slay* it.

I'm disappointed that Apple won't allow a quad core CPU in its 13 MBP. Is there an issue with motherboard or other component size that anyone is aware of?

No, it's not an issue of size. The primary reason, I'd guess, it's Apple's product segmentation. Apple has arbitrary product segments that have nothing to do with technology and everything to do with them deciding which products certain people "should" buy. They want people to see a 17 inch Macbook Pro and know that the person who bought it is more "serious" than the person who bought the Macbook Pro 13. That person spent more money, and got more computer.

It's one of the things I find utterly disdainful about Apple. :mad:

Phronetix
02-27-2011, 06:12 PM
Apple has arbitrary product segments that have nothing to do with technology and everything to do with them deciding which products certain people "should" buy. They want people to see a 17 inch Macbook Pro and know that the person who bought it is more "serious" than the person who bought the Macbook Pro 13. That person spent more money, and got more computer.

It's one of the things I find utterly disdainful about Apple. :mad:



Well, it's a highly restricted product offering. There is no question. It appears you're suggesting that Apple's main objective is to create a sort of caste system based on dollars spent on their products? I think the users create that, not the company, and past discussion have easily shown you do not wish to be within the same consumer group that includes people who have somehow connected their personal value to the type of product they own. But charging Apple with that mandate... I think it misses the mark. I see the Apple fanboyz as being somewhat like a negative consequence of their excellence at what they do, a part of the human condition. I find it interesting that many people hold Apple responsible for the behavior of the masses. I cannot personally make that leap.

As for Apple, I believe a more likely explanation here is: a marketing team that values a simplified product offering is forced to eliminate certain choices to keep within their desired parameters of this simplification. And I don't like that they continually eliminate the processor choice in their smaller MBP. I feel like they ought to keep the Pro line more consistent across the level, and save the processor-centric segmentation in their consumer lines perhaps.

Your frustration is well shared, Jason. It's been a part of Apple's strategy for a long time, and well loathed. Perhaps what you dislike about the Apple crowd is the level of acceptance they have for this strategy? That would be a very fair criticism in my opinion. Perhaps we all continue to let Apple know instead? [email protected]

D

karen
03-02-2011, 05:22 PM
The deal killer for me is that the 13" MBP has a lesser max resolution than the Mac Book Air.
I know, Jason, that you have a different take on screen resolution, but with my work (architecture and design), pixels are gold. So I want seriously max resolution on a great screen.

I was assuming that 13" Pro would at least meet the same max resolution that the Air had and I was hoping that there would be an option to exceed it. I love the form factor of the Air, but the 4GB max is a problem for me, too.

Because I travel so much, portability is key for me. I recognize that wanting a light laptop and high resolution is a sort of conflict, but if anyone was going to pull it off I thought for sure it would have been Apple.

When I look at Apple displays next to other laptop displays, Apple ones shine (pun intended). So now I'm back to trying to decide if I want a MBA or a MBP. Or save $1500 and go with a lesser screen.

Processors and graphics performance are important, too, but less so than other factors for me.