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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  • dagamer34 - Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - link

    I doubt the chipset needs to be actively cooled. And plus, TDP is meant to be a "maximum", not an average. Plus, a higher concentration of power, means more heat, which means more cooling is necessary. I don't see Apple adding more fans to facilitate cooling. Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    If, like in the new iMacs, they move to a 16:9 ratio they may be able to allow for better spreading and a loner vent in the back. Personally, I am not a fan of the 16:9 for reading on a notebook. I’d rather have them finally get rid of the optical drive to make room for more cooling, an extra 5” for ports and even more battery space. Reply
  • dagamer34 - Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - link

    Oops, I meant 1600x900 for the 15". Reply
  • SocrPlyr - Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - link

    Why doesn't anyone else make a high end laptop like Apple? Hardwarewise, there isn't hardly any (readily available) Windows based PCs that match the specs. As for software, except for a few GUI tricks, Apple still is not capable of writing good software/code. That is clear with pretty much all of their software. They made a good choice for the base of OS X, but as they modify it more and more I can only see things getting worse and worse until we are back at OS 8 levels of garbage (or was it 7 that was so bad). Hopefully they will get things figured out, but I don't have much faith in them. Reply
  • Exelius - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    Um, really? Have you even used a Mac for more than 5 minutes? Snow Leopard is great. I've never used an OS that can remain smooth with uptime numbers like this:

    10:15 up 29 days, 1:49, 3 users, load averages: 0.66 0.94 0.93

    OS X is a terrific, flexible, stable platform. The only drawback is lack of driver support, but even that is changing rapidly.

    Please don't post about things which you know nothing about, it only makes you look bad and discounts your arguments. I'm not some rabid Mac zealot (I'm an MCSE and run Windows 7 on several machines at home, so I know Windows very well) but Apple does have a premium product and OS X is a very good OS.
  • sigmatau - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    Hardwarewise? You mean packaging? You do know their hardware is often a generation or more behind the competition. Not only do you pay a huge premium for the shiny case, you get old hardware to boot. Just look at the processors and video cards available on Macs. Usualy 6months to a year behind the competition. Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    Precisely - I don't understand why Apple gets such an easy ride here especially from a tech site. I've had a Dell Studio XPS 16 for a while with a blu-ray drive and RGB LED screen, even budget laptops now come with blu-ray and given Apple's reputation for graphics use they should have had RGB LED displays ahead of anyone else.

  • michael2k - Thursday, November 12, 2009 - link

    What is your issue? Apple's been shipping LED displays since 2005 on their 15" MBP, and are LED across all laptop systems as of 2008 and all desktops by 2009. Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Saturday, November 14, 2009 - link

    There's a large difference between the two, have a look at the article on this site for the Studio XPS 16 if you're not familiar between the two. Apple currently don't ship any machines with RGB LED backlit displays.

    Although they do offer LED backlit displays on their machines now, they were also slow to adopt this technology. Given the premium price they charge and this being a tech site I'm surprised they're given so much praise while offering basic or older technology lagging behind rivals. Never mind even rivals, many budget machines are using more advanced technology than Apple do although I guess they need to string out upgrades to ensure people keep buying machines.
  • michael2k - Saturday, November 14, 2009 - link

    So you're asking why Apple doesn't offer cutting edge HW?

    Apple does; the issue is what HW it is you're looking for. As outlined in the article it is the battery (and battery life) and the physical case design.

    Look at the new Adamo and Adamo XPS systems. Dell looks to be charging an arm and a leg, too, for cutting edge physical design.

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