By the numbers
I ran both the ageing Xbench and Geekbench Mac OS X benchmark suites. Both clearly show the new processors' superiority over both the previous generation of Core i - in last year's 15in MBP - and the old Core 2 Duo, used in the current MacBook Air.
Geekbench 2 Results
Longer bars are better
Xbench's figures shouldn't be taken as an absolute measure - look instead at the relative values. So the 13in MBP's threading performance is close enough to that of the 15in MBP, but its memory performance leaps ahead thanks to the use of 1333MHz DDR 3 rather than the 1067MHz DDR 3 used in the previous generation of MacBook Pro.
There gain in disk performance is minimal. The Air's big score arises from its SSD.
Xbench 1.3 Results
Longer bars are better
The previous 13in MBP used Nvidia's integrated graphics, but the Core i chips have their own GPU on board. The new 15in MBP also has a discrete graphics chip, now from AMD, but the 13in model is an Intel-only affair. The old Nvidia graphics, the GeForce 320M, is also used in the current MacBook Air, and you can see from the graphics benchmarks what a boost the new one delivers.
Next page: Another glorious day in the core
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.