We all knew when mobile Nehalem processors were coming out. I kept referencing Q1 2010 as when you're going to want to replace your MacBook Pro. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing Apple could do to make me recommend anything but wait.

Then this happened:

From the outside it looks like the same unibody MacBook Pro Apple launched at the end of 2008. Look a little closer and you'll realize it's actually a little worse:

The original unibody MacBook Pro

The original unibody MacBook Pro had an easily accessible hard drive bay, a first for Apple's aluminum notebook line. I feel bad for the engineers that worked to make that bay both functional and sleek, because in the updated unibody MacBook Pro it's gone. A brand new feature only sticking around for one generation, that’s gotta hurt. Replacing a hard drive now requires removing no less than 16 screws (10 on the chassis, 2 holding the drive in place and 4 on the drive itself). In the original unibody MacBook Pro it only took five.

The mid 2009 unibody MacBook Pro

The easily accessible HDD bay was a side effect, the point of the sleek removable panel on the elder unibody was to house the replaceable battery. Something that also vanished from the new MacBook Pro.

The new integrated battery (lower right)

Apple did something that no mainstream notebook vendor had dared to do before: kill the removable battery. The rationale was simple: new battery technology allowed batteries to take virtually any shape, and making them fit into user replaceable containers proved to waste a lot of space. Wasted space amounted to larger and heavier notebooks.

It all started with the 17-inch MacBook Pro.

And The Story Begins


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  • The0ne - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    I read the article.

    The battery life is amazing and I like the uni-design. This is however, not worth the $2500 that "I'm" willing to pay for it compare to my Vostro 17". It does what I need. Stating that Anand is a writer and assuming he has to use the laptop without the PS is at most ludicrous. Even on travels I will be able to find an outlet to plug in. Would I want to not have to plug in all the time, sure...but that's a luxury you're paying for.

    Here's what I find humorous of this particular statement by most laptop users. The user gets it into their head that they don't need to plug in even if the environment has the outlets. Do you know how stupid this person looks to me. There are those that don't even bother looking for an outlet when there is one right next to them. I'm not saying you are or Anand is.

    We are talking about 7-8 hrs here. This many hours on battery alone requires a person to be in a specific situation where an outlet is non-existent. Not many people are going to run into these situation. That is unless you do all your "writing" at the beach.

  • Exelius - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    Sometimes it can be very difficult to find an outlet; namely while traveling. Even now, many airports do not have easy to access outlets. Most airplanes don't either unless you're in first class. Given that the average flight is 2-3 hours and the average laptop battery lasts 1-2 hours, that's not very convenient.

    Ideally, you would be able to treat your laptop like your cell phone: run it all day, plug it in overnight.

    But as for the cost... yeah, it is a bit high. But OS X on a mobile computer is really, really good. This OS is wired tight and performs *extremely* well on a 2 year old laptop with 4 GB RAM, even while punishing the CPU by running Windows 7 in VMware, Firefox with 20 tabs open and a Citrix session in another space (spaces, btw, is the single greatest implementation of virtual desktops I've ever used. It's one of those amazing productivity boosters that you wondered how you ever lived without.)

    Too often, Windows laptops suffer from a disconnect between software and hardware. The fact that you don't have to deal with this is why the MBP can continue to command such a price premium. It's fast, has great battery life, good graphics performance and an awesome keyboard. Good luck finding all of that elsewhere. The MBP is the laptop for users who don't want to compromise.
  • ssj4Gogeta - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    Maybe Microsoft should start making laptops too. They can spend some extra resources in making a Windows version customized for the hardware that they use in it, then sell it for half the price of Macs.

    About the battery life difference when running Windows on Macbooks, I think Apple may be buying top-binned processors from Intel that can idle at very low voltages. The idle voltage may be implemented in software which would explain the difference. If that's the case, I wish they implement it in BIOS or something because I just can't sand OS X but I'd like to have a 7 hour battery-life.
  • pcfxer - Thursday, November 12, 2009 - link

    Ppl don't get it and I understand. They are the same people who don't "get" why some people purchase Infiniti's, BMWs, Mercedes, etc.

    "Why would you buy an Infiniti G37? I get 3-4 times better gas mileage and I drive around town like you do in my Ford Focus!"

    Let's compare:
    - BETTER build quality
    - BETTER electrical components
    - BETTER mechanical components
    - Infiniti CARES about sound to let Bose take almost full control of the interior for sound quality and that's just the SOUND SYSTEM.
    - BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE (free oil changes, different experience at the dealership during maintenance, etc.)
    - BETTER systems integration, HVAC, comfort and convenience, driving dynamics (steering, shifting, turn signals, lights, etc.)

    THAT is why you pay "MORE" for an Apple. That is it, if you STILL don't get it then just accept that you never will and continue to enjoy your plasticky, flexible, bargain bin PCBs and PAY SO MUCH LESS FOR THE "same thing".
  • pl1n1 - Thursday, November 12, 2009 - link

    yeah makes perfect sense to me, beautiful design and mediocre hardware. I get the part about design I really do,I just don't get the part about paying $1500 more for mediocre hardware. How about lower the profit margins a bit and try a current gen CPU & GPU in the mix.

    my 2c,

    PS: yeah I run a WINDOWS 7 PC with 0S X running virtualized in VMWARE when I need a walk in the sterile garden of Apple, not that Micro$oft is so much better.
  • michael2k - Friday, November 13, 2009 - link

    You get better battery life. It's like the Atom, right? Sacrifice a little performance, get a huge windfall on battery life. Reply
  • windspast - Thursday, April 01, 2010 - link

    stop comparing Apple computers to luxury cars. They aren't. In cars, there's a reason why BMWs, Mercedes, Jaguars cost more. They're usually better. They have better horse power, more room or just better over all. That's why it costs more.

    Macs aren't even CLOSE to that.

    macs cost more
    -worse performance
    -outdated hardware
    -crappy ergonomics


    That's it. It's not a luxury car at all. All of the important feature Mac lacks. Who cares about how it looks if it can't perform worth squat. I want a COMPUTER, not a damn coffee coaster. I don't need a computer to look good; I need one to perform good.

    The i7 out performs the outdated core 2 duo in every way. I'm not paying twice as much for a crappier machine.

    Macs aren't BMWs. Macs are beat up Hondas with a new paint job and a higher price tag.
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - link

    Hmm... that would be news to all of the people who own Apple products and love the personal attention and top quality support they get from Apple. Reply
  • SirKronan - Thursday, November 12, 2009 - link

    I noticed a gain in battery performance when I upgraded to 4GB in my 13" MBP model. The HD and DVD drives seem to spend less time spinning, and the computer has more memory to do work with, rather than spinning mechanical parts.

    I also upgraded to a faster, larger 7200rpm 320GB drive. Performance did improve, but battery life went a little backwards. In real world usage, which involves typing, editing and printing documents most of the time, as well as a lot of web-browsing and emailing, I am consistently getting over 6 hours of usage, generally at 50-70% brightness.

    I've NEVER had a laptop that I could take into a client's house with 10% of the battery left, and still know I had enough to get the job done. I also own an HP laptop, and it takes TWO much larger, thicker extended life batteries to even come close to matching the battery life of the Macbook Pro.

    Seriously, though. Try the battery life tests with 4GB of RAM on the 13" and see if the times don't improve by at least 20-30 min. consistently.
  • omikun - Thursday, November 12, 2009 - link

    One thing Snow Leopard botched was the screen brightness. At least in my case, turning the brightness all the way down wasn't even close to what half brightness used to be. 10.6.2 fixed that. I would think that would have an impact on battery life (maybe 10%)? Reply

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