Incidentally, Bootcamp users may be annoyed to learn that the new model mandates Windows 7 - so if you have on old XP or Vista installer you've been using on a previous machine, you'll need to cough up to Microsoft.
Same stylish 'unibody' design as before
With the new Intel CPU, the 13in MBP hold its own against even quad-core notebooks based on the previous generation of Core i processor - be they Macs or Windows 7 machines such as the Asus NX90. Only graphics let it down. Intel may have improved its GPU technology, but here at least the GMA series still can't beat a discrete GPU.
And that's my only real criticism with the new 13in MacBook Pro - given that suffix, it warrants better graphical performance than it delivers. Many buyers will consider this as a cheaper or a more portable - or both - alternative to the 15in MacBook Pro. OK, you might not expect a quad-core CPU, but you should get Pro-level graphics.
Apple claims a seven-hour battery life - slightly lower than the previous model, though it says it has a new, more accurate measuring scheme. Reg Hardware relies on the worse-case scenario of thrashing the CPU, GPU and hard drive buy running PC Mark Vantage continuously until the test machine dies. The 13in MBP ran for 116 minutes - slightly better than the old 17in MacBook Pro, which delivered comparable computing performance but had a much larger battery.
This is a harsh test, and based on a more realistic usage model, I'd expect real-world usage to run to six hours or so at least.
Just as eye-catching as ever, the 13in entry in Apple's updated MacBook Pro line delivers a welcome performance boost across the board with no increase in price. But it's high time Apple gave it a proper pro-level graphics chip. ®
Many thanks to the Square Group for the loan of the review unit
More Mac Reviews
Apple MacBook Pro 13in Early 2011
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.