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Summary:

If you’ve been sitting there twiddling your thumbs while Apple announced the iPad, then just recently began talking about iPhone OS 4.0, then news of what’s going on with the Mac line (yes, Apple still makes computers) will probably come as a welcome surprise.

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If you’ve been sitting there twiddling your thumbs while Apple announced the iPad, then just recently began talking about iPhone OS 4.0, then news of what’s going on with the Mac line (yes, Apple still makes computers) will probably come as a welcome surprise. A Taiwanese newspaper has a new report (Google translation) up that details some imminent changes bound for the MacBook line of notebooks.

If the reports are reliable, then it would mean that the MacBook lineup will be using Intel’s line of i3, i5 and i7 chips, as some earlier rumors speculated. The reason we haven’t seen them yet, according to the Taiwanese publication Apple Daily, is that supply has been short thanks to a large order including all three of the models from computer maker Acer.

The report claims that all of Apple’s MacBook computers, from the MacBook itself through the Pro line and to the Air, could see updates in April, with the Intel processor change the most significant alteration. That’s not all, though. New MacBook Pro systems will reportedly have 640GB drives installed by default, with the option to upgrade to a 248GB solid-state drive. If pricing remains reasonable, it could mark the first time SSDs represent a viable alternative to standard HDDs for the average consumer.

All-day computing is another detail the report claims for the upcoming computers, with a reported eight hours of battery life. Better power management might be due only to the increased energy efficiency offered by the i3, i5 and i7 chips, rather than through any major advancements in battery technology by Apple.

Apple’s MacBook line is definitely in need of an update. The last time any of the computers was updated was in October 2009, and that was a fairly minor update to the base model MacBook. MacBook Pros haven’t seen any changes since June of last year, when I purchased mine. The MacBook Air was updated at the same time.

Since then, the iPad has essentially hogged the entire Apple product spotlight. Rumors of its impending arrival fomented for months and months, and its official announcement and release schedule has all but occluded Apple’s other offerings. I’m glad Apple’s doing well in the mobile market, since it means my iPhone’s software will not fall into neglect anytime soon, but I fear there’s too much at risk if Cupertino continues to stake its future on mobile tunnel vision.

Some of us were Mac users before the iPod, and will continue to be even if Google wins the battle for mobile market supremacy. Let’s hope Apple remembers that and rewards us with its next salvo of MacBook updates.

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  1. “Apple’s MacBook line is definitely in need of an update. The last time any of the computers was updated was in October 2009, and that was a fairly minor update to the base model MacBook. MacBook Pros haven’t seen any changes since June of last year, when I purchased mine. The MacBook Air was updated at the same time.”

    What can you do on the next line of harware that you cannot do today ?

    1. Well as the article mentions you will get an extra hour of battery life… So to answer your question you can do an extra hour of work with the next line of hardware.

    2. There are few things you can do on the next line of hardware that you cannot do today.

      But that is not the point.

      The real question is, what will the next line of hardware enable you to do, that you wouldn’t even have thought of doing today?

      If everyone were to be satisfied with the current generation of computing products, then there would be no innovation, no enhancements.

      Sure, you won’t be seeing much of a difference in the performance of today’s applications. But with greater computing power, tomorrow’s applications could blow today out of the water.

      Search bars could have predictive result caching. Word processors could have real time print preview rendering. Digital audio workstations could have on-the-fly track bouncing.

      I’m not suggesting radical changes like a fantasy user interface with 3D perspective and shiny widgets, but developers would have the spare CPU cycles to throw at better background processing and small enhancements that increase our overall experience.

  2. “MacBook Pros haven’t seen any changes since June of last year”

    Jesus people, do you WANT your hard earned money going toward obsolescence? Macbooks were updated a little over a YEAR ago. Its not like its been 5 years or anything. Many other companies only update every 3 to 5 years. Who goes out and buys a new Macbook Pro every year? If you do, the Feds need to start taxing you like made on your over consumption…(j/k…point across)

    1. My MBP is five years old actually. The C2D is outdated & we’ve been waiting quite patiently for any news. Just trying to stay ahead of the curve for as long as possible.

      1. My PowerBook G4 17″ is only 4 years old. Bought Oct 2005 and still runs great as long as you avoid sites using crappy Flash.

    2. “Many other companies only update every 3 to 5 years.”
      Name another laptop maker that only updates every 3 to 5 years? Just one?

      1. Sony VAIO. Less than 2 years actually.

    3. Check the one year depreciation of your Mac. If you buy a new one every year then sell your old one after Migration Assistant completes the transfer to new system, it’s actually really cheap to have a new one every year.

    4. No one buys a new mac every year. Or at least, very very few people do.

      You’re misinterpreting this.
      First, the MacBook Pro has an average refresh cycle of 200 days. Our current waiting period is over 300 days. They’re late by their own standards, not anyone else’s.

      And are you really comparing Apple to other manufacturers? Even if the figure you quote (3-5 years) is accurate, which I highly doubt, why should it affect our expectations from Apple? Tomorrow, if Apple comes out with a hideous 2″ think laptop with big fans at the back, will we excuse them because other companies release products like that?

      Second, and this is the important one: the upgrade in context is no mere refresh. It is a major platform shift from the Core 2 Duo to the Core i series. What it means for consumers is a nearly performance increase of nearly 30%, better battery life, and better thermal characteristics (i.e; you won’t fry your lap).

      Apple is well known and criticised for charging a heavy premium on their products. The issue is that charging the same premium for outdated technology amounts to daylight robbery, or at the very least, seems like Apple taking advantage of the uninformed customer who just wants a shiny new laptop.

      In the context of a major platform shift, when all the other big players in the mobile computing industry: Dell, HP, Compaq, etc have already moved, and Apple lags behind, June 2009 is aeons ago.

  3. The MacBook and MacBook lines are in need of updates. At the very least they need the latest processors to keep pace with the competition. Regular updates are 1 reason Apple rakes in the profits.

  4. mark burgoyne Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Sounds like Tom & Dave bought their soon to be “old” Macbooks in the last year or so … Buyers Remorse is pretty transparent ;)

  5. Jay Margolis Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    I bet they still wont put BluRay in which will mean they’re 3+ years behind. Honestly, it’s better to just get a Windows laptop. You get the latest technology and you don’t have to be a member of a cult trying to ignore that people use laptops on trips to watch movies and movies are sold on BluRay these days.

    A simple 5% performance boost from using this year’s CPU is not something to get excited about.

    1. I really don’t care about BluRay on my notebook. When I’m at home, I’d rather use my PS3 and surround sound. And when I’m on the go, well . . . I have this thing called the iPad, which will play HD movies just fine.

      1. People are not going to buy movies twice just to get ‘the one that plays on my Mac.’

        They are already spending the space on a SuperDrive, and at this point the SuperDrive is like some kind of antique 300 baud modem. People expect it to play BluRays and the only reason it doesn’t is because Apple is trying to force you to double buy your movies off iTunes rather than use what you already purchased for home.

      2. I can see your point, and I do believe BluRay is selling well enough.

        I just don’t really believe that not having built in BluRay will prevent Apple from selling MacBooks. It certainly wouldn’t (and isn’t going to) prevent me from buying an updated MacBook Pro (to replace my now 4 year old 13″ MacBook, which, in all reality, doesn’t really need replacing).

    2. Blueray isn’t selling.

      1. You just keep telling yourself that. BluRay is on track for well over a billion dollars this year. (370m Q1).

        The more Apple ignores BluRay, the more users they will lose. It’s not incendiary, it’s just a fact. 3 years ago it was incendiary. Times have changed.

    3. You wouldnt have to double buy your movies if you make a small investment in Apple TV, where you can watch everything you purchase on iTunes right on your TV. And by the way, I really dont think people take into account whether a laptop has a blu-ray player in it or not. People are a lot more concerned about the things that matter. No matter what laptop you buy there’s always going to be minor things you dont like about it, like the fact that anything not built by Apple is just a piece of garbage. Stop being such an Apple HATER!

    4. Blu-ray is already on its way to obsolescence, and you can thank Apple for popularizing CD-ROMs in the first place (and USB, FireWire, 3.5″ disks, etc.).

    5. BluRay is already going the way of the floppy disk… unfortunately, it was a few years too late. Ever DVR box out there has (or will have) wireless Internet and the ability to stream movies. Every computer already has the ability. So buying physical discs is a short-sighted business model at best now.

  6. I’ve been wanting to update my 3 year old macBook to a 15 inch pro for a while now and have been patiently waiting for the i5 processor upgrade. I am happy that Apple is finally getting around to it. Took them long enough.

  7. Intel chips don’t even deserve to be in crappy acer computers. Uneducated people that just want a computer buy acers.

  8. “Some of us were Mac users before the iPod, and will continue to be even if Google wins the battle for mobile market supremacy. Let’s hope Apple remembers that and rewards us with its next salvo of MacBook updates.”

    Indeed, I’ve been a Mac user even before Steve came back to Apple. I feel that Apple has focused too much on the iPhone/iPod/iPad devices to the neglect of their computers. I too hope that Apple focuses more on their computers and gives a worthy update to the MacBook Pros. I am planning to get one when they are released and while the iPad is cool, I just have no use for it.

  9. Dude, I just bought the 15″ mac pro…

    I knew I should have waited!

    (Then again, two weeks return policy, no questions asked…)

  10. We could not wait any longer, and took the plunge. Picked up a 13″ MBP 2.53 loaded. It is a nice little machine! I do highly recommend a Shaggymac screen protector. This screen smudges and is showing key imprints.

    http://www.shaggymac.com

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