Apple today refreshed its MacBook Pro line in a long-awaited update, moving the Apple laptops in line with recent advancements in Intel CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs. There are some caveats when you pull apart the line, however – the 13″ models miss out on the new CPUs in this lineup, at least – and you’ll pay to get some of the better improvements. Of course, a Mac is a Mac; for many readers, it’s the reliability of the combination with the Mac OS that is likely to be the deciding factor.

The best news is, the 15″ and 17″ models are getting new Core i5 and i7 processors, which boast significant performance boosts and improved battery life. That’s a plus both for number-crunching audio production power and for keeping your battery going while you’re running Ableton on the trans-continental coach flight. These aren’t huge changes, though – and, at the risk of igniting some flame wars, there are competitive PCs that use the same technologies. But if you were waiting for this refresh to get a new Mac (or pick up an almost-new Mac at a discount), today’s your lucky day.

You can read the full specs from Apple, and Engadget has even done an unboxing of the top-of-the-line i7 model, but here’s a quick overview of how the models compare.

13″
$1199-1499
Core 2 Duo (2.4-2.66) – not the newer Core i3/i5/i7 (yet)
Integrated graphics (NVIDIA 320M, similar to the 310M – think a new generation of the previous 9400M)
1280 by 800 graphics
Up to 10 hours battery life
Two USB 2.0, one FireWire 800, one SD card slot

15″
$1799-2199
Core i5/i7 (2.4-2.66) CPU
NVIDIA 330M discrete GPU switches with integrated graphics for better battery life
1440 by 900 graphics
9 hours battery life
Two USB 2.0, one FireWire 800, one SD card slot

17″
$2299-2499
2.53G Core i5 ($200 more gets you the 2.66 i7 as a custom option, not listed in the specs)
Three USB 2.0, one FireWire 800, ExpressCard/34 slot

The good news: As always, Apple’s machines have some lovely standard features. All of the models have standard backlit keyboards – ideal for seeing your machine onstage. They all have MagSafe power ports, multi-touch trackpads, great-looking screens, 8x SuperDrives (for burning and reading), iSight cameras, and lovely aluminum bodies.

Sweet spots: the $1199 machine, if you can live without the fastest processor or GPU, is a pretty solid compromise, especially as a satellite to a desktop. (13″ in coach class and on buses is also a big, big win.) I also like the 15″ models, and as readers noted, you can upgrade to a high-density 1680-by-1050, and choose antiglare. Doing that on the cheaper 15″ could be a good way to go.

If you have the money, the 17″ is the one model that offers the biggest display (antiglare is available, though not listed on the “compare” specs page), and it’s the one with ExpressCard. It remains the best “pro” machine for people who want every option. Why would you want that ExpressCard slot? I expect it’ll appeal for those who want one main product, the UAD-2 from Universal Audio, for fantastic-sounding DSP effects. (The slot is also a way to add e-SATA support for more storage flexibility.)

Note that the standard drive is a stock 5400 rpm drive, but you can upgrade to a 7200 rpm model. RPM isn’t the only measure of disk performance, so I’d have to know more to give solid advice there. (I’m also very curious how the SSD option stacks up. Some – but not all – SSD drives are delivering great performance for audio.)

Hi, I’m a PC. There’s no question that you pay a price premium for Apple. Consider, for instance, that the ASUS U30 reviewed by Engadget today costs just $900, has a newer Core i3 CPU and more ports, and a form-factor and battery life that are competitive with a pricier 13″ MacBook. Or for a more luxurious price, you can get something like the Rain Recording laptops – one tested specifically with a range of audio apps – for the same price as a higher-end Mac, with more amenities in storage and I/O. I don’t expect that is going to sway anyone to switch from Mac to PC, but it means those who do like PC software – including exclusives like FL Studio, SONAR, and video editing app Vegas, or booting Linux – still have a good option.

The issues that I think may be more relevant to Mac users:

The bad news: The only machine that allows you to add an ExpressCard slot is the 17″ model. I/O remains limited: you get 2 USB ports on all but the 17″ model and 3 USB ports on that device. FireWire 800 can be used with FireWire 400 devices, but 800 is all you get, which I know still bothers some Mac customers. And there’s no eSATA port, a useful connection now commonly found on PCs.

Snap judgments: So, what do readers think? Already, a few gems from our Twitter friends:

[asked about PC options and cost] “skulpture: nope wud never swap back to Win. I’d rather buy an old MacBook pro.” Fair enough. And, of course, the very-nice previous-year MacBooks are about to get cheaper – look for open box or refurb models, especially. The same user, on FireWire: “well apple have not brought back fw400 so as far as I’m concerned they have shot themselves in the foot- again!” (You can use FW400-to-800 adapter cables. I have heard some users complain about compatibility problems, though I haven’t been able to verify them – anyone?)

“autoy: I think the pixel density for the 15” optional HD display and battery life are the killer features.”

“chaircrusher: new MBPs — faster than the old ones, and expensive.”

That’s not Apple.com’s headline, but I think it’s fair.

The biggest remaining question to me is really the details on the disks – if there’s an 8MB or 16MB cache, for instance, and how the SSDs perform. More on that soon.

Far be it from me to start a platform war, but I’m curious – is anyone considering a PC laptop? Are you committed to one platform or the other, or do you compare? How many people are running Windows in Boot Camp for music production, or Linux on the Mac? After all, at the end of the day, it’s all music. (Some of the feedback I’ve gotten again and again is that choosing a PC – given wildly variable quality and complex options – can be challenging for audio. I hope CDM would be informative whatever platform you choose, so I’m working on good ways of gathering more info on this. Stay tuned. And likewise, if there’s more you want to know about the new Macs, just ask.)

Updated: An early version of Apple’s comparison specs I believe listed the entry-level 13″ computer without an iSight. I don’t have a screenshot, so I can’t verify whether that was an Apple mistake or my mistake, but the current specs verify that the iSight is standard, which makes more sense.

  • Craig

    I'm not at all sure where you got the idea that the 13" doesn't come with an iSight camera – Apple's tech specs clearly state that it does.

  • http://truechip.org Peter

    Im tempted to get a mac because the great majority of my apps are cross platform, and Im getting constant tweak fatigue. But that price.. yuk.

    Bu numerology looks rad! :D

  • Jake

    Speaking as someone who brought a new macbook pro (a 2.4 15" with expresscard) when the last refresh happened (and therefor is quite happy and wont be buying during this round unless a disaster happens) I can't see myself going back to windows because of all the little things that come with OSX that just speed up my workflow:

    Multitouch gestures

    IAC midi

    Spotlight

    Aggregate Audio

    All of the above, while minor features do make audio work far easier in my eyes. Yes things like IAC can be replaced by applications available for windows, but its the fact that these are all in built features of the OS.

    To be honest what I don't get is why Microsoft haven't implemented similar features. I know that audio is a minority sector, but its worth thinking about the impact of all those touring musicians on stage with glowing apples increasing the brand awareness in the public conciousness (similar to the dominance of the MPC in hiphop, or the prevalence of Ibanez guitars in certain areas of metal).

  • DumaisAudio

    The lack of two Firewire ports is something that bothers me, but I can see that they're not going to bring it back. On the other side of that, it's the same FW bus, so daisy chaining devices isn't out of of the question. I'm very happy with my Mid-2007 MBP, the "old" model before the unibody. I'm very happy to have both Firewire 400 and 800 ports. Even though it's all the same bus, it's nice to have both ports so I can use my Ultralite and a FW800 Hard Drive. I'm going to hold on to this one until it falls apart. The new ones are nice, but I just prefer the form factor to my older model.

  • Karl P

    I was an Apple fanboy of about 15 years ago (bought a powerbook 3400c for $5.500 which was completey obsolete 2 years later), switched to PC and never looked back. Using an HP nx8220 since 4 years+many live gigs without a problem (Ableton Live). Currently in the market for an HP 8540w with some nice features: USB3.0, 2nd Harddrive Bay, FX1800 graphics, 1920×1024 display, 8GB RAM, eSATA, Firewire 400, VGA out without Adapter, Expresscard Slot for my RME Multiface, etc…

  • genjutsushi

    I switched to Mac from years as a PC user because Logic was so good. With my educational discount my iMac (24"!) and Logic cost the same as a similarly specced PC with Cubase.

    I wouldnt go back to PC – not because im an unthinking fanboy, but because the software is so good. People buy Elektron Drum machines, or Mackie Control surfaces because they are just that bit better… same with Apple products. Yes you can get cheaper… but youll get less as a result!

  • Cody

    Can anyone verify the sata io? The SSD should use sata 3…

    I'm an Apple fan, but HP (envy 15) has had a product better than this for about six months at about half the price.

    Whatever, I like my iPad.

  • http://fatmilk.tv Al

    Thanks Peter for the useful writeup.

    I know this is CDMusic but, anybody else see the graphics card memory as pretty slight? I mean, any purchase beneath $2200 gets 256MB or less, if I'm not mistaken. How offset is that by chipset architecture?

    Price of an i7 Lenovo running Ubuntu is what, $1K?

    Granted, I'm not locked out of the Apple platform since I have a machine in reasonable condition. So mine is a soft abandonment. But I do feel squeezed.

  • Kris

    I sold my 2 year-old MBP a month ago in anticipation of this release, and outside of the price point I'm pretty impressed with the specs. Will definitely be opting for the higher res display and the 7200 RPM drive though.

    As far as OSX vs. Windows goes, the biggest argument from a hardware perspective is how well Core Audio works. Developer support from Apple, epecially for anything related to the audio pipeline, is years ahead of Windows and undoubtedly contributes to better applications. Getting programs talking to each other and hardware with full driver support on a PC can STILL be a pain, even with Windows 7, and latency isn't uniform between applications. OS X just lets me get to work making music.

    I also love that the display port now supports audio output to HDMI, and the battery life will be fantastic.

  • kadath

    The $1799 price tag for the base 15" MBP makes me cringe, but I'm quite tired of most Windows notebooks having some serious letdowns. All of the Windows laptops I've looked at had displays that were pretty much garbage compared to the MBP displays, for instance. Never mind the MBP's better chassis, trackpad and battery life. Plus you get the real reason to buy a Mac: OS X.

    $1799 is a lot of money for many people, myself included. But I have no doubt that there will be no regret when I buy this MBP this weekend.

  • http://www.mathonmusic.ch re:Pete

    Since OSX this is a great OS which can not be found on other platforms! The hardware is just implemented right und fits as well with the software like Logic and even with other great software not from Apple like Ableton Live and Numerology. Never had troubles with the hardware here and enjoyed working not configuring! OSX is easy to use and apple makes great hardware in a great quality matter…

  • http://www.marcotuliothrash.blogspot.com Marco Tulio Thrash

    I get the impression that the 15" basic model has increased in price, wasn't it reduced to 1699 when they extended aluminium designs to the 13" models?

  • Axel

    My 3.5 year old 15" MBP is still running nicely and its 2.19 core 2 duo is anything but slow. It even has an express card slot. The battery is finished though and that's the only thing that would tempt me to get a new machine if I had the money which I don't. 10 hours (make it 6 when doing serious audio work) of battery life sounds like a real improvement. But hey, what became of Moore's law!?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Craig: You're correct. iSight across the whole line. That was either an early misprint on Apple.com, or I read it wrong. Probably the latter. ;)

    @Jake: I hear you, but just some minor corrections/notes:

    1. Multitouch gestures

    2. IAC midi

    3. Spotlight

    4. Aggregate Audio

    1 – Most recent PCs now have multitouch gesture support. In fact, I believe both Apple and the PC vendors with this feature are using Synaptics as their touchpad vendor. It may not be as well-integrated on the Mac, although I give Windows extra points for other features, like better integrated support for multitouch and multi-mouse input, and the availability of hardware with touch and stylus input. (Now, if someone would just ship a machine with those features I actually want. I'm hopeful that may change this year.)

    2 – IAC MIDI, as you indicate, is available in the form of LoopBe1, MIDI-Yoke. I agree, it's nice having it integrated, but these solutions *do* work well, so the end result is the same.

    3 – Spotlight… wasn't really a fan of this technology, but Windows Desktop Search works similarly. (I actually find it slightly more customizable / controllable.) For app launching, there's Launchy. Preference could still guide you either way, though.

    4 – I believe there are ways of aggregating devices via ASIOx, ASIO4ALL, but agreed here — no real comparison to having it as a built-in feature.

    So, #1-3 I have to score as a tie; I don't notice the difference so much as I switch platforms. #4 is a big win for Mac OS, as is the general ease of use of Core Audio. And I think it's a win having robust JACK support on the Mac and easier inter-app audio / audio interfacing. Linux has JACK and it works beautifully, but the Linux audio configuration isn't as easy as the Mac, either.

    Of course, the question hinted at in comments here is whether hardware flexibility can outweigh that. And there are plenty of other data points, too, depending on your needs and preferences. But I think these are pretty quantifiable, objective things – no argument.

    The PC for me comes down to whether you have a particular laptop you like. And if you really like a Mac-only or Windows-only app, that obviously makes a huge difference.

  • Bill

    I use a 800-to-400 adapter with my MOTU 828 and it works fine.

  • Radiophobic

    *Sigh*

    I ended up "investing" in a mac around this time last year. After a few months, I couldn't stand the restrictions mixed with the fact that it was just as reliable as the two year old PC I swapped for it. Not to mention the fact that it was the same speed as said PC, and it cost me twice as much to buy.

    I sold it, lost about $500 in the transaction, and built a ridiculously powerful i7 rig that ended up costing $400 less than the cost of the mac. Couldn't be happier.

    As much as I understand that different os's are better for different users, whenever I see mac update their lines and look at the price to feature ratio, and see all the mac users raving about them, I can't but help feel sorry for them.

  • salamanderanagram

    my $500 HP has similar specs to the $1200 model but with a bigger screen and larger/faster harddrive.

  • J. Phoenix

    My only temptation to get a Mac is to avoid the strange conversations I sometimes have after gigs about why I'm not using "the most stable computers for audio, dude" (paraphrased aggregate quote).

    There is definitely a perception among (some) musicians that if you're going to use a computer onstage, it should be a Mac, or you're not really "Professional" or "Roadworthy".

    I do have to admit, those aluminium unibody's are very tempting. So is higher pixel density.

    Its just knowing that the difference on the motherboard itself is not so great as the price point increase.

    On the other hand, I'd save a good 15 minute discussion about OS's, computers, and why I'm still using Windows XP while packing up after gigs if I just had a Mac to begin with.

  • http://www.grahamthorne.co.uk skulpture

    Quoting myself "well apple have not brought back fw400 so as far as I’m concerned they have shot themselves in the foot- again!”

    I know you can use fw800 to fw400 but the physical connections are not as stable in liver performance environments. My fw800 cable often slides out or twists on an angle whilst the 400 has the little 'dimple'.

    Sorry to bring up old arguments but I really think the 'pro' in 'Macbook Pro' is slipping. Yes more ram, better processors but why get rid of a very popular fw400 port and not replace it with something else? If you are going to get rid of a feature, then (I believe) you need to add something else… hope that makes sense!

    Also, Why should we pay extra for yet another cable, why pay another £69 for a display port cable, why pay more for a little remote… just annoying!

  • http://www.quikphix.org xonox

    Multi touch on my pc isn't very good. I use it all the time on my mac, yet on my windows machine i feel it's rather crappy. I wonder if better laptops have a different model of Synaptics touchpad than my netbook.

    If you want and pc and multi touch, you might want to try it out to see if it suits you.

  • Jim

    I use both; Windows desktop where I do most of my composing, and Mac laptop for playing live. I would probably go all Mac if price weren't an issue. For me, features and software are secondary to reliability.

    For people for whom Windows works well, great, but my desktop is always giving me problems. I use Windows XP and programs crash, things need fiddlin' to work, and other assorted issues. Nothing too major, but just minor inconveniences. With my Mac, things just seem to work better.

    I think that Windows computers are just more risky. Macs seem like more of a known quantity to me. I had an old Windows laptop before my mac, and it was even worse than my desktop. I can definitely empathize that choosing a pc can be hard.

    I am 95% sure I will continue to buy Mac laptops, but if I do go for another desktop for music, I'm 70% sure I'd go for a Windows computer. I am scared of Windows 7 though, so I don't know. I appreciate the flexibility of being able to build my own desktop and basically only pay for features I want. For instance, I have a really cheap graphics card and no internal sound card. When playing live isn't a factor, and I'm just going to use the computer at home, I am more inclined to go for more raw power for less money and skimp on reliability.

  • flip

    Can't wait to see some benchmarks using the 500GB SSD. I've been waiting for that option for years now…

  • http://music.cornwarning.com chaircrusher

    A laptop for me is a Web Browsing machine + an Ableton Live Machine. And I'm used to dealing with Windows quirks. So my next machine will probably be a well-equipped ASUS, which will match feature-wise at $1200 with a MBP at $2000+, and if I want to get a UAD2 I'm sorted.

    Apple machines are nice — I spend 40+hrs a week with a Dual Xeon box. OTOH I didn't pay for it — the University did, with a steep educational discount.

    My current laptop is a Dell 9300 which runs Ableton Live just fine on Windows 7. It's nearly 5 years old. I will probably wait for it to break to get a new laptop.

  • Damon

    I feel pretty good about these new macs. I paid the same price for my old macbook as you pay for the new macbook pro. Yes, I realize the scale is supposed to slide that way, and we would all prefer cheaper sliding, but when you consider the the mac design and quality overall, you do feel like you are getting something special. I like windows too, but macs are just less stressful on the busyness scale. Taste, yes, but there is no accounting for that.

  • greg

    The only thing that makes me yearn for a mac, aside from OSX, is their build quality. It is nigh-impossible to find as "sturdy" or beautiful computer without going to the semi-ruggedized sort of computers. That said, Asus is pretty lame in that dept. My last laptop I kept for about 6 years, an M6bne. The J key is falling off and the screen started to separate from its hinges.

    I just recently replaced it with a lenovo that I'm pretty happy with, and it's faster than an apple that costs $600 more.

    I run Linux on both machines.

  • http://www.indamixx.com Ronald Stewart

    We can give this a shot!

    Indamixx Pro SL
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Indamixx-Pro-SL-Transmission-

  • Jonah

    I'm super bummed I was really hoping the refresh would get USB 3.0. I guess I'll wait and see what the new macbooks bring.

    I really miss OS X and Logic.

  • Bonopoly

    Its the most boring discussion ever and I was annoyed by my self to even read it, but stubmling on a comparison to the "prevalence of Ibanez guitars in certain areas of metal" makes it all worth it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/casimirsblake Casimir's Blake

    Typical Apple. If you want an Expresscard slot, you have to buy their top model.

  • Blob

    I bought an MPB 2 years ago and am very happy with it, but I'm not really drooling over these updates.

    As a live electronic musician, the only 2 main reasons for forking out almost $2000 on an MPB would be Logic (great DAW) and OSX's relatively greater stability (essential for running Ableton Live, Max or Pure Data). When I switched from my XP / Ubuntu machine to mac 2 years ago, the Windows Vista disaster was an important factor in my decision. System stability is a must, and the dust is now apparently settling with Windows 7.

    In my opinion, this basically means that if you don't need to use Logic, and if you can work around some of Windows' bugs and issues, any decent laptop (Toshiba, Dell?) with 4Gb RAM will do the job these days. Also this update lacks USB 3, so if I really wanted a new Mac, I'd probably wait for next year…

  • Blob

    * sorry for the typos, MPB should read "MBP" (as in MacBook Pro) :-P

  • a other greg

    It is the most boring discussion ever, indeed:)

  • Geoff

    Couldn't see an option for a matte screen I really detest the glossy screens for long hours of work. Other than that they look good. The screen is a big pain for me though.

    Geoff

  • netch

    I don't know what to think either, I've been looking to upgrade my 3yo MBP to run Live and VJ software on one machine.

    I've been doing it on this one albeit the 128mb GPU and some sweat, and everyone at Apple in november telling me to wait for the "next big thing"instead of the 3.06ghz with matte screen…

    As usual I don't know what to think anymore. Always this freaking giveandtake Apple strategy.

    annoying – and boring discussion

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Wait, the discussion is boring because the MacBook Pro refresh is boring?

    That's definitely out of my hands. ;) And to some extent, sorry, even out of Apple's hands. Don't forget, when it comes to making Macs, Apple is a vendor of Intel PCs. Almost every major component in there is a standard, commodity part.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Side note: I'm just glad this didn't become an exciting flame war. ;)

  • bliss

    Updates are fine for me. Are WAY better than what I have now. No complaints from me. Will absolutely upgrade to top of the line. And then I'll wait another 5+ years to upgrade. [Though I am curious to know what the Mac Pro refresh will look like.]

  • griotspeak

    just bought a 17" i7

    i would have been pleased with a quad core, but i am sure this will be fine. i was using a core duo 17" before without complaint. school and a dying logic board are the only reason i am upgrading.

  • http://thomaspiperjr.com Tom Piper

    They should have made quad i7 Macbook Pro. HP has them i guess i'll be waiting a little longer cause i'm maxing out ableton 8 with my MPB 2.4 core duo

  • http://www.DharmaLab.com Christian K.

    I wouldn't say I'm committed to a single platform per say, but I find the hardware options on a Windows platform more important to me at this point (and the last 10 years or so of making/performing music) than anything Apple has been able to offer me.

    I'm one of those people who will try many different pieces of hardware until I find something just right, or that 'clicks' with me.

  • http://ifnotwhynot.me DJSDive

    sigh .. was hoping for USB3 and 16GB ram support … sigh sigh .. seems like digital music artists do not have much supporters at apple .. or why else limit the number of USB ports and drop the expresscard slot (which was the best way to add those missing USB ports).

  • HEXnibble

    I don't get the complaints about lack of USB3 or additional USB ports. How many USB3 devices do you have? Plugging in USB2 devices into a USB3 port will still give you USB2 speeds. As for more ports, that's what usb hubs are for.

  • Radiophobic

    HEXnibble;

    When you buy a computer, you shouldn't look at what your going to be using now. Consider it a relationship you are going to have for three years or more. If a new standard has been introduced, which will most likely become the normal in a years time, you are going to want to be able to use that. Likewise, when different companies start to release interfaces and DSP boxes that require a USB3 connection, a lot of the people who have current generation macs are going to be SOL.

    Same thing applies to apple overlooking equiping their new products with blue ray drives. Not everyone has a need for blue ray now, but in a year DVD's are going to be as relevant as CD's.

    Its designed obsolescence. In a year their new models are going to be released with both these features, and a bunch of users are going to feel forced into buying a new model because the ones they bought now aren't up to par.

    Kind of a malicious business practice.

  • Pingback: Create Digital Motion » Apple Refreshes MacBook Pro; About Those New GPUs, Visualist Advice

  • Paul

    Radiophonic, I would say that "[not] look[ing] at what your going to be using now" is exactly the OPPOSITE of what one should do when buying a computer. The computer industry is volatile, and there's no guarantee that something like USB3 will ever take off completely, or that we'll have audio interfaces using it, etc.

    (I expect that USB3 will do just fine, for the record.)

    You should buy a computer if need one NOW, for what you want to do NOW. Don't buy now if you don't need it now, since it will be cheaper tomorrow, and don't buy for something you're anticipating tomorrow, because your expectations may never be realized.

    How many devices are sporting mLAN ports?

  • Paul

    Oops, sorry, that was to Radiophobic, not Radiophonic. Sorry about that.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I think I agree with both of you. Yeah, I'm bullish on USB3. Yeah, I understand why Apple isn't doing it yet. (Blu-ray is another story altogether, but I won't go there. Too bad, as I think it's a great format stuck between over-complicated implementation and the move to online distribution.)

    I think what people are correctly perceiving is that this isn't *quite* a generational leap. It's just not where the tech is at the moment.

    That said, we're getting, industry-wide:

    * lower power consumption out of CPUs

    * gradually better integrated graphics, and more competent GPUs *without* taxing power

    * better displays

    So, when you do add USB3 to that, I think it will feel retroactively like a generational leap.

  • ernesto

    These machines do not replace my 3 year old MBP with 4GB ram and 500GB hard drive @ 7200. to invest 3k+ going from a 256 MB GPU to a 512 MB GPU after 3 years AND losing one of my precious FW ports is insane! I‘ll keep the money in the bank, maybe we can get some serious specs next time… or more 256MB RAM iPads…

  • dead_red_eyes

    It still pisses me off to no end that they dropped the Expresscard/34 slot on the 15.4" MBP's.

  • http://routeit.noisepages.com gbsr

    friend of mine got a macbook. everytime he sus it and he accidently touches something in my studio he gets zapped. great.

    but yeah, pay half the price, get more specs, and go hackintosh instead.

    also you wont get zapped with a pc laptop.

  • Linus

    ExpressCard is a great feature, I don't get why they can't have both ExpressCard and SD card slot.

    I use it for adding 2 more Firewire ports and 1 USB. I have four external hard drives and a Firewire audio interface. One port Firewire is not enough…

    When my (non-Unibody) MBP breaks I will get a Mac Pro instead.

  • http://www.warrensirota.com Warren

    I use a 3.5-year old 13" Macbook for music. I feel ambivalent about the Apple platform for music – Logic Studio is fantastic, but you can't use any of those effects or instruments in other DAWs, and that is really a problem for me. Sometimes I have Windows platform envy, believe it or not – there are some excellent Windows music-making programs out there.

    Sure, my MacBook was "overpriced" compared to a comparable PC laptop – but I've never had a laptop last over 3 years before and still be eminently useful. I never had a laptop that actually got FASTER as time went on, thanks to Snow Leopard and 64-bit versions of the music suite. I never had a support plan anywhere NEAR as good as Applecare, which is certainly responsible for the long physical life of this machine.

    Oh, and it's a sweet little, light 13" and is ready to go online about 10 seconds after I open the lid.

    There are a lot of amenities and hidden values to owning a MacBook.

  • login

    Since Apple moved to Intel chips there computers seems getting behind comprable priced pc desktops and laptops.

    I mean, i7 has more than a year that was realesed and apple is charging a premium price for them.

    At these speed doesnt matter that the OS is better, and in that aspect the distance is shortening, PC's will be using so much newer technology that will outperform mac's.

  • Guido

    Getting back to windows is not an option for me.

    Sure, Apple SEEMS more expensive….

    Many people forget the always hassle with windows to get everything working STEADY and RELIABLE. Also apple's setup, workflow and maintenance are unbeatable compared to windows….

    Thats where you earn your many back big-time!

    No, not a shareholder ;-)

  • DumaisAudio

    @Radiophobic RE:

    "Its designed obsolescence. In a year their new models are going to be released with both these features, and a bunch of users are going to feel forced into buying a new model because the ones they bought now aren’t up to par.

    Kind of a malicious business practice."

    It's not just Apple that goes by this business practice, many companies do this. And to be honest, when talking about computers, it's pretty much the norm, and somewhat unavoidable. There will always be something faster, smaller, etc that companies will want to roll out into new models. If you want or need to have the newest thing, then that's your choice; no one is forcing you to buy a new product.

  • http://ghostmagnum.com Zach G

    Hooray, more overpriced crap. Thanks, Steve.

    I'm grudgingly a mac user, only because it was required for my classes. I dual boot windows XP (that's where I make 90% of my music), and will not at any time in the future be giving Apple any more of my money. Not only was thing thing over priced, but they broke the number one rule and placed form over function. Why make the vent so small that even sitting on a hard surface, my hard drive can cook itself to the point of physical damage? Why give me two USB ports if I can't use both at once because they're too close together? Also, their neglect of standards is atrocious — no more firewire 400? Proprietary monitor cables? Bah!

    …Once this MacBookPro dies for good (not that it hasn't tried), I look forward to replacing it with a more capable PC for half the price.

    Also, @Dumais Audio — true, lots of companies take advantage of designed obsolescence, but there are also many that adhere to standards and allow you to upgrade as time goes on. The way Apple locks everything down, you pretty much have to buy a new one.

  • Radiophobic

    Just because its become somewhat standard, doesn't mean its right. If your paying a premium for it, you shouldn't have to make this many compromises. Consumers need to start demanding better, otherwise they are going to continue getting less as time passes.

    Look at what happened with Microsoft. Vista was practically a disaster. Consumers spoke. Now Microsoft has the best operating system available. If mac users don't do the same they are going to have to deal with ever increasing restrictions.

    On a side note, I think apple is shooting itself in the foot by not aggressively pursuing the HTPC market like they have the MP3 market.

  • HEXnibble

    @Radiophobic: "Now Microsoft has the best operating system available."

    Care to elaborate on what you were smoking when you said that?

    Just because the iphone/ipad is a closed environment doesn't mean Apple as a whole or Mac OS is any more closed than Microsoft/Windows.

  • Radiophobic

    I wasn't smoking anything. Well, I had a cigarette a few minutes beforehand. And I was probably on my third or fourth pot of coffee by then.

    I tried OSX for a few months, and hated it more with every day. There are some neat creature comforts, but something simple as batch renaming or managing a group of zip files was a nightmare in OSX. Why do they require that the menu for everything always be at the top of your screen? And why do you need to go into some dodgy running program interface every time you want to access the menu for a different program than the one you are using? Why does everything require about 8 more mouse clicks? I can see why its trendy, but I can't see why anyone would actually want to use it for professional work.

  • HEXnibble

    Sounds more like you're just more used to Windows. Old habits die hard, right? I cannot stand Windows (and I could come up with a long list of things I hate about it) and I try to avoid it if I can help it.

  • http://soundcloud.com/corticyte corticyte

    I hate laptops, but unfortunately I need to have one. I also hate my macbook, but it's slightly less of a pain in the arse compared to a PC laptop.

    I do all my music production and pretty much everything on my custom built PC desktop (windows 7) which is awesome. It had Ubuntu on it (dual boot) for a while but I got rid of it because I was spending 8 hours trying to make anything work that I could do instantly on Windows with no hassle. And it wasn't my fault, i'm talking about massive bugs and hardware incompatibilities.

    I'm sure Linux is great if you use a distro that works with your hardware and has bug fixes instead of adding hundreds of bizarre new features that no one is going to use.