MWSF: Is Apple HW Losing it's Edge?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Rend It, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. Rend It macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2003
    United States
    I'm not trying to start an "Apple Sucks!" thread, but I was sort of disappointed by the recent MWSF. When I bought my Al Powerbook G4 three years ago, I was super-excited about the product, and it serves me surprisingly well, even now. At that time, I wouldn't even consider a Windows-based laptop. But, with the release of the MacBook Pro, the difference between Apple's offerings and those of run-of-the-mill PC vendors is becoming less and less clear. Here's some thoughts I've had recently:

    1) Apple overtly emphasized the speed change over the previous model, but we all knew that the G4 laptops were way behind their Centrino competitors. We had 167MHz bus speeds for how many years? So, of course there should be a huge difference in performance, especially since many applications will take a hit due to the Rosetta translation.

    2) There was and is absolutely no mention of battery life. If performance-per-watt is the new modus operandi, I think that should have been an integral part of the presentation. It would have been easy to measure the power consumption of the new and old Apple laptops as they were doing the two SPEC tests. Then they could have given us the ratio of the performance numbers to the power drawn.

    3) If the 17" PB is 1" thin, and the new MBP is 1.02" thin, then why does the 17" have an 8x dual-layer Superdrive, but the MBP only has 4x Superdrive, without DL support? What happened?

    4) The Intel transistion is primarily a good thing. But, shouldn't Apple leave the door open to use the best chip available at any given time? From a cursory look, I don't see the new Core Duo (Yonah) processor offering any significant advantages over Freescale's 8641D.

    Maybe all this will be revealed in the coming months, but it just seems that Apple's releases are becoming more and more underwhelming. Mac OS X, iLife, and all of their other software just keeps amazing me, but what happened to their hardware innovation? Is that the price we pay to use the OS? I thought for sure the new MBP would have used Intel's virtualization tech to run Windows simultaneously (i.e., w/o re-booting), as well as the Robson caching and NAND memory to provide instant-ON capabilities. I can't help but feel that those techs were available to Apple, and they dropped the ball.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    1. What's your point? The G4 days are over, and the MBP has great performance.

    2. The new MBP has a much brighter screen than a PB G4, and everyone knows turning the screen brightness down always improves the battery life of a laptop a great deal. My theory is Apple didn't want to give battery life figures because the battery life sucks at full brightness, and is roughly the same as the PB G4 at comparable brightness levels.

    3. Apple said that the MBP is actually slightly thinner than the 17'' PB G4. Moreover, there may be something on top of or below the optical drive in the MBP that was beside the drive in the 17'' PB G4. It's also possible that it's just a cost cutting measure, but that seems unlikely.

    4. All of the apps Apple is going to release in the foreseeable future are universal binary, so Apple could theoretically switch back to PowerPC any time they wanted. It's not going to happen though. It seems very unlikely that PPC would catch up with x86, and Intel has a lot of non-processor technologies such as WiMax and Viiv that Apple is dying to take advantage of.
  3. ortuno2k macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2005
    Hollywood, FL
    I agree with a few points.
    Why remove the DL SD on the new model?
    Why no mention on the life of the battery?

    The rest, it really doesn't matter much. I trust Jobs on his decisions, and I guess he knows what he's doing and why.
    Everything will settle down and fall right where it belongs, just give it its proper time. This is a BIG change, from PPC to Intel.
    I think they've done great so far.
  4. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    Definitely. Apart from MacOS there is really nothing much that distinguishes the MBP from the rest of the PC world, now considering that they have the same guts.

    The backlit keyboards are definitely nice, and I wonder how good the screens are (bleigh, there goes my dreams of bleeding edge OLED displays on Apple laptops!), the new magnetic power core is definitely interesting, but apart from that it is all.... kinda pathetic.

    I really hope they have some speed bumps on this line soon.
  5. Rend It thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2003
    United States
    1. My point is that the new MBP is required to have stellar performance compared to the G4, because as you said correctly, the G4 days are over. But, they were over more than a year ago. A more meaningful comparison would be MBP vs. last year's average Centrino laptop. Of course, I realize the difficulty of comparing the two when you're right in the middle of having 3rd party SW vendors write universal binaries for the new processors.

    2. I'm actually thinking the same thing. Battery life isn't that difficult to test, and if the figures were good, Apple would have talked them up.

    3. According to Apple's specs, the MBP is 2.59cm, which is 1.02". As unlikely as it might seem, I think it was a cost-cutting measure.

    4. I love what Apple represents, so I hope the Intel transition proves the right choice. But, I still can't help but feel that they have a special feature in Mac OS X's ability to run on different processors. That means if SW vendors continue to write code for PPC & x86, Apple can use whatever chip yields the best performance. Then again, maybe PPC is on its way out....

    I still don't have any reason to go back to Windows, but I just miss the big "wow" factor that used to come out of Apple's computer hardware. Time will tell...I just hope the comparison tests of 3rd party, cross-platform software vindicate Apple's transition and its claim that Intel's processors are "bored" with Windows. :rolleyes:

  6. DaveP macrumors 6502


    Mar 18, 2005
    I guess I'm a little confused? Are you saying that poor hardware was something that helped differentiate Apple laptops? And now that the hardware has caught up the Windows world that is a bad thing?

    I'll agree with you about wanting being able to run Windows simultaneously, but I have no idea how difficult that would be and maybe we'll see it not too far away.
  7. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    Apple's not really doing anything less wonderful than what they used to, you have just learned to expect excellence. :)

    "Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." -Steve Jobs
  8. Wes Jordan macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2006
    Macbytes just posted an article referencing a new patent that Apple applied for today Jan 12th) called integrated sensing display. The LCD monitor is the camera. Is that innovation or what? Apple has many new tricks up its sleeve and will continue to amaze it. The iPod is not only a great product but it make Apple a whole lot of money--money that can be spent developing new technology for Macs and iPods.
  9. destroyboredom macrumors 6502

    Dec 16, 2002
    Washington, DC.
    I think you have to consider what this transition to Intel processors does down the road. Hopefully you won't be waiting 6-9 months for a new Rev. to come out.

    While it's true the OS and design now has to be the distinguishing factor because the guts are the same, I think that just plays to Apple's strength. Just comparing the MBP to the PC world. A similarly configured IBM/Lenovo is about the same price.

    Now Windows users can look and say, do I want a core duo Windows system or Apple system? They can now compare spec-to-spec and not have weigh out is a G4 1.2ghz faster than an Intel 1.6ghz Centrino?

    As long as Apple doesn't jack pricing, I can't see how they lose here. Having the Intel guts kind of keeps there pricing honest, because we can easily see what other mfg are charging for the same hardware.
  10. -Escher- macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2005
    I just bought my VERY FIRST Apple, a MPB, after a lifetime PC!!!

    I do think that you guys just expect too much and the marketing sorrounding these keynotes and Steve-God-Jobs are overwhelming!!

    I do believe that is VERY uNporfessional and totally anfair with consumerws the lack of information about battery life! A trasnparent company should always say the trouth! Even something like: "We don't know the final time and we are working hard on it. As soon as we get a number it will be released. I can say though it is at least 3 hs." But frankly, it seems another marketing move...whatever...It won't be neither 1 nor 100 hours!

  11. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Aug 27, 2003
    -Escher-, no need to make the text so large. There are those of us with small screens.

    And I think that we are losing more of our "difference" as time goes on. It's not bad, but I don't think a homogeneous desktop processor is desirable in the long run. I wish PPC had stayed. But I like the fact that there are two processor companies fighting over who has the best x86 proc.
  12. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    i can see what you mean. Remember the time when Apple released the G3 iMac? And the G4 iMac after that? And the clamshell iBook? And the B&W PM? etc etc etc.

    Apple's software still steals my breath like it always has. The new features in GB, the whole iWeb concept, they all looked amazing when Jobs demoed them to us. The hardware is becoming more specs- and less artistic-based than it used to be. Which for hardcore users isnt such a bad thing, but now people arent as shocked and amazed when they see a G5 iMac compared to what they were when they saw a G4.
  13. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    My thoughts exactly. Apple hardware has been inferior ever since the G3 trounced the Pentium II. With this change, apple may become the same as PC makers in terms of hardware, but that's a good thing! Previously our great OS and software compensated for underpowered hardware; now, our hardware is as good as anything else out there (don't quibble with me over the .17 Ghz more available on a $3000 Dell - it's the same chip at essentiall the same speeds) and we still have the OS and software!

    Care to clarify? :confused:
  14. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    Have you received it yet?

    We will see when your display is reported to have lines, and your logic board shorts itself out due to blown capacitors, or poor soldering, or any other poor QC "features"

    Till then it is better to withhold judgement and refrain from buying into hype.. 1.8Ghz dual core.. heh, not that there is any hype to start with, it is not even the top of the line processor for "pros".

    Poor pros perhaps.
  15. Rend It thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2003
    United States
    Yeah, the way I framed it, it could seem confusing. Speaking of only laptops, I simply meant that the feature set (processor speed, etc. aside) in PowerBooks seemed more substantial than most PCs. For example, at the time I bought my PB, it had Bluetooth, FW800, backlit keyboard, etc. built-in. And, for most real-world tasks, the speed differences were minimal. A friend of mine bought a Toshiba notebook with similar specs at about the same time. I saw it recently, and was still very happy that I made the purchase I did. Hers was about $200 less, but it just seems very cheesy. So, I guess I mean the feature differential seemed to separate Macs from PCs more back then than it does now.

    Looking at the MBP, it seems it has essentially identical innards to comparable Lenovo or Acer models. They will all have Core Duos, same RAM, same video card, same screens, built-in cameras, and similar optical drives. So, Apple will have to pull something profound out of its hat if it wants to really differentiate itself. It may just be personal preference, but those advanced features I mentioned (virtualization, instant-ON, among others) are more important to me than raw speed. Plus, since Vista is going to have many of the same features Tiger does, even the OS race is getting tighter (C'mon Leopard!). But, hey maybe all of this competition is good, right?

    As an added note, the only complaint I have about my PB is that, even at the 15" size, it seems it could stand to be more structurally rigid. Hopefully they've either fixed that with the MBP, or will soon. I few extra hundredths of an inch in thickness seem like a fair trade for rigidity.

  16. Cuckoo macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2003
    The Netherlands - Utrecht
    Well, just my two cents, but i do agree with you on this point, it lacks a sertain something. It just doesn't do it for me, it's too much like any other PC.

    The alu thing apple has going was nice, three years ago, but it's time to inovate, and they more and more seem to be busy with other things.

    My opion is they are overmilking the ipod, is apple continues on this road, they'll be the comany which makes ipods and some other stuff....

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