What is it about Tuesdays at Apple? Tuesday seems to be their preferred day to introduce new stuff. On January 8th, one week before January’s Macworld Expo, Apple upgraded their Mac Pro desktop, making it the fastest Mac ever made, with eight screaming cores of Xeon goodness. The next week at his Macworld keynote address (on a Tuesday, even though Macworld officially begins on a Monday) Steve Jobs introduced movie rentals through Apple TV, the Time Capsule wireless router/hard drive (for backing up data using Leopard’s Time Machine utility), major software upgrades to both the iPhone and iPod touch, and the world’s thinnest notebook computer, the MacBook Air.
And that was just the first two weeks of 2008. The week after Macworld (Tuesday, January 22nd) Apple announced a pink iPod nano (just in time for Valentine’s Day), and posted the best quarterly revenue and earnings in its history. The following Tuesday (January 29th) Apple posted updates to its best-of-breed iLife suite of digital lifestyle applications.
Time for a break for the folks in Cupertino? Nope. Tuesday, February 4th brought memory upgrades to the iPhone and iPod touch. The next Tuesday, February 12th, was Lincoln’s Birthday, so Apple released the second major upgrade to Mac OS X “Leopard”, version 10.5.2, on Monday the 11th instead. Note to Microsoft that’s two major Leopard updates in 90 days - how’s it coming on that Vista SP1 update? It’s been, what, over a year? But, I digress.
Unable to resist Tuesday announcements, and obviously in honor of our 16th president on his birthday, on Tuesday the 12th Apple announced Aperture 2.0 (a major upgrade to the pro photo management and editing application), and released the Apple TV “Take 2” software update I’ve reviewed in this space over the last couple of weeks.
Apple Store visitors on Tuesday the 19th discovered a price drop on the 1GB iPod shuffle model (to $49) and a new 2GB model priced ten dollars below the old 1GB model ($69).
So, would this past Tuesday (the 26th) break the string? No. At 7:30 AM the Apple online store went offline, only to return at 8:45 AM sporting upgrades to the MacBook Pro (MBPro, for short) and MacBook (MB) notebook lines.
Those hoping for major cosmetic changes and size reductions (a la the MacBook Air) will have to wait a while longer. Both the MBPro and MB form factors are pretty much pared down as far as they can be for their feature sets, and this week’s new models are physically identical to their forbears.
The big changes come “in the hood” and “under the hood”. All MBPro and MB models now sport power-saving, environmentally-friendly LED backlit displays, which come to life instantly when the sleeping notebook is “awakened”. They also all get Intel’s new “Penryn” 45-nanometer Core 2 Duo processors, from 2.1GHz in the base MacBook to 2.6GHz as an option in the MBPro.
The MBPro’s trackpad also adopts many of the innovative multi-touch gestures you oohed-and-ahhed at the first time you saw them on an iPhone. Creative and scientific professionals will enjoy the MBP’s NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processing unit, available with up to 512MB of dedicated video memory.
You can now get up to a 250GB hard drive in the MB and up to a 300GB hard drive in the MBPro. Pricing? MacBooks are still $1099 for the base model, $1299 nicely equipped, and $1499 for the black model (down $100 from before). The “entry” MBPro is still $1999. $2499 nicely equipped. $2799 for the “flagship” 17-inch monster.What will be announced next Tuesday? My bet is on the iPhone Software Developers Kit. We’ll see.
|© 2008 Peter F. Zimowski|