Apple MacBook Pro 13in
Shiny, silver Sandy Bridge system
Review Love or loathe Apple, you can't deny it makes gorgeous-looking computers. Are there cheaper machines? Sure. Better spec'd? Maybe not, now that the new MacBook Pros are here, complete with Intel's very latest mobile processors and an interconnect tech no one else has yet.
Apple's MacBook Pro 13in: metal-head
That's Intel's 10Gb/s Thunderbolt, of course, but it's effectively irrelevant until peripheral makers roll out equipment that can make use of it. Right now, it's so poorly supported, its presence on the 13in MBP - and the rest of the range, for that matter - will excite only to the most ardent of fanboys. Good future-proofing, yes, but not a reason to rush out and buy one.
Me, I'd rather have had USB 3.0 for now. At least I can go out right now and buy a SuperSpeed hard drive.
There's not much else I'd ask Apple for. An extra USB port, perhaps. Blu-ray maybe. The MBP has an 8x DVD burner, and Apple's notorious dismissal of the HD disc format means we're unlikely to see a BD-equipped MBP.
I'd certainly like a higher screen resolution. The 13in MBP's 1280 x 800 really ought to higher - 1440 x 900, at least - on a model commanding £999 and up. Top marks for not going totally widescreen - I'd rather have a 16:10 1280 x 800 than 16:9 1366 x 768.
The price may be high, but comparison with seemingly similar specced but cheaper PCs is dangerous. Few of them, for instance, include a full 802.11n Wi-Fi adaptor that works not only in the 2.4GHz band but also at 5GHz, a less interference-filled band. It also has a 3x3 antenna array - most other machines are limited to 1x1.
Next page: Case hardened
In five years time you'll be able to connect a bluray drive via thunderbolt? Just a thought. Just like you could connect a USB bluray drive now, you know, if you wanted to. Apple's not banning you from having a bluray on this thing, it's just not throwing one in for you.
As for the storage they provide for 'non video' content being excellent, it's a very poor £/GB ratio compared to most USB hard drives, especially given you can effectively only access it in 25/50Gb chunks. And it's slower. And it burns more power, which is a significant issue in a laptop.
There are a number of scenarios where BluRay as a storage medium works. None of those also include a 13" laptop. I'd maybe like to see BR as an option on the 17" model but it's really nowhere near a worthwhile option on the 13" one. It would be a 'box tick' that would only provide a nice feature for marketing but very poor usability. That's not generally the game Apple play, so I don't really see why people have an expectation of it happening in this case.
Bluray isn't just for watching 1080p movies, the storage they provide is excellent. This thing has Thunderbolt so why not Bluray too? In 5 years, yeah you can plug in your Thunderbolt drive but try to access content on a Bluray and you're stuffed.
Could have a long wait
Given that Apple have just taken all of the storage out of the AppleTV, I seriously doubt you'll get you wish for that one.
I'm with you on the iPod Classic, but to be fair the reason why they haven't made a bigger one available is simple: Until recently no-one made a bigger capacity drive in the right form-factor.
There is a drive available now (Hitachi I think), so we might see a storage bump this year, but only to something like 220Gb.
Only other option would be to switch to custom SSD, but then you'd probably end up with a price tag of £700+, which could have an adverse effect on sales.
I use one of these regularly and the USB port arrangement drives me mad.
You can't use a 3G dongle and a USB headset at the same time because the ports are too close together.
Your only option is to use an extender cable which is a pain in the backside if you're on a train or something.
Apart from that, the hardware is very good.
I for one
I for one enjoy piping HDMI to the telly to watch 1080p content....except there's no 1080p source in the MBP (such as Blu-Ray). Which is why my PC laptop does the task for now. Just because the screen is <1080p doesn't mean the Blu-Ray drive isn't useful. Currently, you're forced to rip/downconvert your already-owned Blu-Rays and stuff them onto DVDs/USB-HDD to watch on your MBP.