Blog Post

Apple Releases Updated 15″ MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro

Starting off the WWDC announcements of the day was the immediate availability and updating of the 15″ MacBook Pro. With a faster processor, new connectivity, and greater storage, this update will be minor for most people.

Something Lost, Something Gained

In an interesting move, Apple (s aapl) is dropping support for the ExpressCard on this model and instead, replacing it with a built-in SD card slot. ExpressCard was very popular for many travelers, giving flexibility for 3G adapters, additional FireWire ports and other connectivity options. While seeing it leave the 15″ model may be a bummer for some, the inclusion of an SD slot could open up new opportunities for better third-party add-ons. It remains to be seen what the real reason for this move is. (Why SD versus CompactFlash or another competing format?) I have yet to be able to find out if this SD slot supports newer SDHC cards.

More Storage & Battery Life

The new 15″ MacBook Pro supports larger hard drives, including up to 500GB 7200RPM drives. Additionally, the newer models come standard with 4GB of RAM with support for 8GB (like the 17″ model). Also, a new built-in battery similar to the 17″ MacBook Pro, offers seven hours of battery life. This trend may eventually make its way to the new 13″ MacBook Pro at some point as well, considering Apple generally likes to reduce the burden of consumers changing batteries (from a simplicity standpoint).

Processors & Displays

The new models come with processor speeds ranging from 2.53GHz (and 3MB L2 cache) up to 3.06Ghz (and 6MB L2 cache). The new LED-backlit displays offer a 60 percent greater color gamut than the previous models for a richer color experience.

More Attractive Pricing

Perhaps the biggest attractive feature of these new MacBook Pros is more economical pricing. The new MacBook Pro is available today and starts at $1,699, $300 less than before.

10 Responses to “Apple Releases Updated 15″ MacBook Pro”

  1. Two Words… Blu Ray. WTF Apple. Enough pussyfooting around and give us the big upgrade we all want. You already have the best computer on the market. Why not top it off with the only thing PC users tout us with?

  2. I’m glad to see FW800 added to the 13″ and sorry to see ExpressCard removed from the 15″. But you’re right that folks needing this feature tend to be in more specialized niches. E.g. audio folks who have invested in card-based Apogee interfaces are now forced into the 17″ form factor.

    Still, I have to applaud Apple’s decisions overall. By shuffling a few features they’ve effectively lowered prices while upping the Macbook’s appeal for most mainstream users, without having to compromise quality standard in the process. For one, the new battery technology is a pretty big deal.

  3. spark0919

    To Chris;
    Good point about the extra FW, although something tells me Apple’s taking a sort of gamble in the fact that the only ones needing the ExpressCard for that reason are the ones who can afford the 17″ MBPs anyway (high end video editors, photographers, etc.)

    And that is a puzzling question about the SDHC, just one of many that seem to be arising slowly (like how is Snow Leopard aware of whether you’re upgrading from Leopard or not? What about if you just had to wipe your hard drive?)

  4. Andrew Gough

    Whilst I’m delighted by a lot of the changes – especially the battery – it’s a shame that they didn’t push discrete graphics down into at least one 13″ version to justify the MBP monicker. The 13″ form factor is just brilliant for travelling – especially if you have an external monitor back at base. I really don’t want to have to go up to the 15″ to get that extra puff (especially under Snow Leopard).

  5. Chris Ryan

    You are correct in that most everything you could want is available via USB now. BUT there are some things that just aren’t available, such as extra FireWire ports (and not all FireWire devices support daisy chaining them together). Some people also prefer a more “integrated” solution that ExpressCards provide them, opposed to a dongle that hangs off the edge of your machine that could get broken. But that argument is much like the FireWire argument. It’s just a question of whether people are ready to upgrade or if Apple is forcing their hand.

    Personally, I’m a huge proponent of SD cards. I really hope these new laptops will support newer SDHC cards that are becoming more common in cameras & HD camcorders. If anyone finds out if the new MacBook Pros support this, please post! Thanks!

  6. I don’t see what the big deal is with laptop expansion cards in general these days; it seems like their roles are being supplanted by what USB can do these days. I realize there’s of course the speed opportunities and stuff like that, but with USB 3.0 it seems pointless. These cards/cardbuses were quite helpful in the big transition from wired to more wireless computing, such as 802.11b/g cards and the like, and was initially helpful in wireless broadband. It also helped USB 1.1 laptops make a nice transition to USB 2.0

    But expansion of USB ports? That role is taken on by USB hubs now. Why do you need more USB ports when you’re traveling anyway? (that point is, however, debatable as it should be). Wireless broadband cards? USB and/or integrated solutions are the answer these days as some wireless providers kind of put card-based solutions in the background now.

    We’ve already seen that wi-fi via SD is sort of possible with those Eye-Fi cards. And surely with miniaturization to only continue it’s very possible that we can see more uses for SD other than simply storage in the future.