I posted about the recent WWDC a couple days ago with some initial thoughts, and now I have more. Mostly about the new MacBook “Pro” I put quotes around the pro, because there very little that is professional about it in my opinion. Professional machines have always set themselves apart by being more powerful, portable, reliable, repairable, upgradeable, versatile, and more customizable…. Well I think Apple fell short with this version.
I’ll assume you have read my thoughts on the MBP from my recent WWDC post here. If not skip the the hardware section and catchup, I’ll wait…
OK, now that you are caught up I have some more gripes. The price of this machine says Pro all the way. Heck Pro is even in the name of the machine, though they moved it to the bottom of the shell, removing it from under the screen where it has been for ages. SSD (solid state drive) says Pro as well, but it is a propritary interface. This means that it will be mucho bucks to upgrade. It also will complicate data recovery for those people unfortunate to still not be backing up their data. As far as RAM goes you can get 8 or 16GB with your new MacBook “Pro” Well that sounds pretty professional you might say? Sure but how about if you want to start at 8 and save some money now and upgrade to 16 later when the prices come down? You can’t… that’s right, the RAM is soldered to the board.
The screen. Well there is no denying it will be the selling point of the Retina MBP for a while. It is great tech to be sure and will help push all the other companies in the right direction. I repair a fair number of MacBook screens and glass and they are not cheap. Expensive parts and lots of labor to swap the glass or screen. With the new version It just got worse. The display is completely fused together, so instead of a moderately expensive lcd or glass repair you will be replacing the whole top lid which includes the screen, the isight webcam, and the wifi & blue-tooth antennas. That will be a huge chunk of the original cost of the machine.
And finally we have the last piece of the repair unfriendly puzzle, the battery… The battery is no longer held in place with a few screws and the bottom casing. It is now glued in place, so heavily glued in place that it had the folks over at iFixit who do machine tear-downs for a living throwing the towel in with battery removal.
So for those of you keeping score, here is where we are:
+ Faster with the integrated SSD
+ Best screen ever* * – may not actually be the best screen ever, this could just be me wanting higher resolution screens all around. Also they need a matte version
+ Thinner – I wouldn’t really call this a plus as machines are pretty thin anyway and at some point they start becoming less strong
+ Larger battery
+ Quieter – They used some new ventilation and a redesigned fan style to make the fan noise less evident.
+ USB 3.0 & HDMI –finally, Welcome to October 2009 Apple –
– Almost no upgrade path
– No optical drive
– No ETHERNET? REALLY – Can you tell that this bothers me?
– Can’t add RAM
– Can’t add a second drive
– Can’t swap the battery
– Expect to pony up $600-$800 if you need to swap the screen, or webcam.
– Can’t swap out the main hard drive (SSD) it is yet another new propiratary style of drive
So that about sums it up. They have made the MBP even more like the MacBook Air. Are they pushing people to an unannounced unified MacBook Omni that will come in only the 11 inch, 13 inch, and 15 inch models? That sure would help maximize their profits while minimizing production costs. The fact they are becoming more and more of a throw away machine also helps with their bottom line.
We have recently seen a pattern of increasingly difficult to service and repair Apple products, the problem is that they still need repairs at the same rate as the models and products they are replacing. Will we soon have the option to buy Apple products pre-broken? All kidding aside, throw away consumer products should be priced as such, remember disposable cameras?
Now with all this complaining you might think that I’m an Apple hater. The truth is that I am sitting here composing this on my MacBook Pro <— no qoutes here, I’ve got everything that I want in a Professional grade laptop that should reasonably last 4-6 years, A machine that I’ve already added a hard drive to and changed out the RAM on.
I love my MBP. Truth is I love companies that plan out a purpose for their devices and cater to that demographic. Think IBM business class mashines, or DELL latitude laptops, or even the Apple iPhone. Those are products that know their buyers.
I guess my real gripe with the latest offering from Apple really comes down to the name. It is less PROfessional and more show, unless PRO is meant in mass PROduction, or is it as in PROprietary?
No on second thought it must be Pro as in Profit.