Last year at the iPad introduction Steve Jobs announced that Apple is a mobile device company. Just last week Steve returned to introduce the iPad 2 and point out that the majority of Apple's revenue now comes from products that run iOS. The breakdown is as follows:

AAPL Revenue Sources—Q1 2011
iPad iPhone iPod Mac iTunes Store Software/Services Peripherals
Percentage 17.2% 39.1% 12.8% 20.3% 5.4% 2.9% 2.2%

Just looking at iPad and iPhone, that's 56% of Apple's sales. All Macs put together? Only 20%. Granted 20% of $26.7 billion in sales is still $5.3 billion, but the iOS crew gets most of the attention these days.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that when Apple launched its 2011 MacBook Pro lineup last week that it did so with little fanfare. There was no special press event and no video of an unusually charismatic man on a white background describing the latest features of the systems. All we got two weeks ago were a few pages describing the high level features of the lineup, a short outage on the Mac Store and five new configurations available for sale.

Apple tends to not mix architecture updates and chassis changes. The 2011 MacBook Pro lineup is no different. These models fundamentally implement the same updated unibody shell that was introduced in 2009. The term unibody comes from the fact that the base of the chassis is machined out of a single block of aluminum. There's no way to gain access to the MacBook Pro's internals from above, you have to go in from below. As a result there's absolutely no chassis flex or squeaking while you pound on the keyboard, use the trackpad or just interact with the part of the machine that you're most likely to be touching. Apple has been shipping unibody MacBook Pros since 2008 and from my experience the design has held up pretty well.


From top to bottom: 13-inch MBP (2011), 15-inch MBP (2011), 15-inch MBP (2010)

The biggest letdown in the design has been the hinge connecting the display to the rest of the chassis. I haven't had it fail completely but I've had it become frustratingly loose. Even brand new, out of the box, the 15-inch MacBook Pro will have its display move by a not insignificant amount if you tilt the machine 90 degrees so that the display is parallel to the ground. A number of readers have written me over the years asking if Apple has improved the locking ability of the hinge in each new version of the MacBook Pro. It doesn't seem to be any better with the 2011 model—sorry guys.

Other than screen size, ports and internals, there's nothing that separates the 13-, 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros from one another. They all feature the same excellent backlit keyboard (keyboard size is constant across all models) and a variant of the same high quality display. All of them have the same front facing 720p camera and the same large glass-covered trackpad.

Battery capacity hasn't changed compared to last year, although power consumption on some models has gone up (more on this later).

2011 MacBook Pro Lineup
13-inch (low end) 13-inch (high end) 15-inch (low end) 15-inch (high end) 17-inch
Dimensions
0.95 H x 12.78 W x 8.94 D
0.95 H x 14.35 W x 9.82 D
0.98 H x 15.47 W x 10.51 D
Weight
4.5 lbs (2.04 kg)
5.6 lbs (2.54 kg)
6.6 lbs (2.99 kg)
CPU
2.3 GHz dual-core Core i5
2.7 GHz dual-core Core i7
2.0 GHz quad-core Core i7
2.2 GHz quad-core Core i7
2.2 GHz quad-core Core i7
GPU
Intel HD 3000 Graphics
Intel HD 3000 + AMD Radeon HD 6490M (256MB)
Intel HD 3000 + AMD Radeon HD 6750M (1GB)
Intel HD 3000 + AMD Radeon HD 6750M (1GB)
RAM
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 (8GB max)
HDD
320GB 5400 RPM
500GB 5400 RPM
500GB 5400 RPM
750GB 5400 RPM
750GB 5400 RPM
Display Resolution
1280x800
1440x900 (1680x1050 optional)
1920x1200
Ports
Gigabit LAN, Firewire 800, Thunderbolt, 2x USB 2.0, SDHC slot, combined audio in/out jack
Gigabit LAN, Firewire 800, Thunderbolt, 2x USB 2.0, SDHC slot, separate audio in/out jacks
Gigabit LAN, Firewire 800, Thunderbolt, 3x USB 2.0, separate audio in/out jacks, ExpressCard 34 slot
Battery Capacity
63.5Wh
77.5Wh
95Wh
Price $1,199 $1,499 $1,799 $2,199 $2,499

The new MacBook Pros are still equipped with DVD drives and thus Apple still distributes OS X and the application preload on a pair of DVDs. I was hoping Apple would go to an all-USB distribution starting with the MBA but it looks like we'll have to wait for another generation of Pro systems before we see that.

Turbo and the 15-inch MacBook Pro
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  • Wolfpup - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    Just LOOK at that. Visually it just makes things look worse...looks like it's taking up space for maybe two more cores, or a fifth core and more cache, or something.

    The only good thing about it is it may help AMD get back in the game. Assuming Bulldozer ends up relatively competitive, AMD's going to be able to have more cores or cache in the same die space, or else have a smaller CPU with the same performance.

    Personally I'm a big fan of Intel's rock solid stability, but it feels like AMD gets better and better with that, where they feel like a real competitor now, and I'd love to see them get parity with Intel or even surpass them!

    To people who have called the higher end config's GPU "high end", it's not. It's a decent mid range part. For the price it ought to have better...maybe that on the low end config and an 800 core part on the high end config (or a Geforce GTX 460), but at least it's a big jump up from the last gen models.
    Reply
  • Belard - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    UH... and what reliability issues are you talking about with AMD? What, intel never screws up? I buy, own and sell both brands. Reply
  • Wardrop - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    To be honest, I'm somewhat surprised that Apple don't offer a solution for reducing cable clutter, given their minilast design of the iMac, etc. A docking station sounds like an obvious solution. I'm sure Apple could come up with a really elegant way of docking your Macbook, or otherwise, just connecting all your cables via one main connection.

    I envisage a magnetic solution. You could either have a docking station, where the Macbook sits on something (a stand would be nice). Otherwise, a breakout box type of device, where you plug all your audio, USB and display cables into it, and then attach the breakout box to a single interface on your Macbook, whether it be a plug on the back, the side, or even a magnetised strip on the bottom of the notebook?

    I use my Macbook Pro primary as a desktop. It goes through my desktop KVM, to which my Windows desktop is also connected. I try to avoid unplugging my Macbook from my desk however, simply because it's a hassle. I not only have to unplug the cables, but I have to eject my external time machine drive. One of the most annoying things I find however, is that because the screen resolution on my MBP is significantly lower than my desktop monitor, it often screws up all the windows. I find I need to spend time resizing all my windows for the 13" MBP display, and then have to do the same when I connect it back up to my 24" desktop monitor. When you've got 10+ windows all perfectly arranged to suit your working style, it's a major pain, hence I avoid taking my MBP off the desk.
    Reply
  • tzhu07 - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    I was thoroughly unhappy with the current offerings for a docking station for my late 2006 macbook pro, and so I decided to go to home depot and build one myself. And I made it super elegant and wirefree. Also helps that my monitor is connected to an arm, keyboard wireless, and also mouse is wireless too.

    http://www.majorindulgence.com/file_exchange_data/...

    ahhhhhhhhhhh.....super clean
    Reply
  • bronze5420 - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    this is definitely the best computer review i have ever read. very informative. answered all the questions i had and then some. keep up to good work. and does anybody know if OSX Lion will feature TRIM support for third party SSD's? Reply
  • 13579abc - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    First let me echo the sentiment of gratitude expressed throughout this forum. AnandTech really is a cut above other tech sites.

    Second, if I may add my two cents, heat and noise are such an important part of the mobile experience that they might deserve a little additional attention in this review, particularly given that apple tries to differentiate itself from competitors in these areas. This review touches on the surface temperatures of these new Macbook Pro models, but I wonder if there are any plans to more thoroughly examine surface temperatures in different areas of the notebook (i.e. palm rests, keyboard, bottom surface…). Also, does AnandTech have any comment on the effect of inappropriate quantities of thermal paste reportedly used in the notebooks? Some forum posts report amazing thermal improvements resulting from properly applying new thermal paste, but to be honest I have some doubts regarding the validity of these posts and think that they might be misleading.

    Along similar lines are there any plans for a quantitative analysis of the noise output from these new models.

    Again,thanks for a great review.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Seconded, some numbers on thermals and decibels would be nice. Reply
  • Balfa - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    I've just bought the new 17" that I use mainly for software development but even at 1920x1200 it is a little on the cramped side. So at home I connect it to a Cinema Display 27'' via mini DP cable to the new combo TB-MiniDP port. And the monitor cable use also a Magsafe connector and lastly a usb2 for camera, sound and 3 usb ports at the back of the monitor like most folks already know likely.

    Now what I really wish for the future Apple is extends that paradigm of a monitor-docking station with a new 27'' monitor with only the Magsafe and one Thunderbolt cable. At the back of the monitor implements every ports that could be needed: USB3, FW800 (1600 maybe why not), eSATA (unlikely I know). And lastly add a powerful discrete GPU in the monitor itself with a quick access door to upgrade it if needed. That way you could remove the one in the MBP for lower cost and better battery life and still have a powerful GPU solution at home for gaming, transcoding and the like.

    I think the monitor is the best place for docking a laptop, not needs for a separate device. I already put all my external disks behind it anyways (I place my monitor in the middle of the desk so there's a lot of empty space behind) and it will be the shortest route to plug them, less clutter that way. Gee it's a great idea isn't it!
    Reply
  • MrBrownSound - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Once again anandtech pulls off a amazing review. With this information I can cofortably say I will wait for Lion to come out. Reply
  • ProDigit - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    None of these machines is worth their price!
    The 13" has a price of a 16" laptop
    Reply

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