Why I'm Waiting to buy a MacBook Pro.....

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sethypoo, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. sethypoo macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    When Apple announced their first Intel based laptop, I was extremely excited. No, I was ecstatic! Finally, the rather stagnant PowerBook line would see a worthy update. And that's just what we got, the MacBook Pro, an incredible leap in the right direction. I must say that for those early adopters who have already ordered their MacBook Pro's: congrats and good luck! You'll be getting a great machine very soon.

    However, there are a few things I'm waiting for. Although the MacBook Pro is a leap in the right direction, I'd rather not buy until I see where that leap lands. There are some technologies that are soon to be the latest and greatest things that the MacBook Pro does not yet have. They are as follows:

    Blu-Ray disc technology
    802.11n Wi-Fi capability

    The DVD is on its way out. Within the next year, quite possibly less, I think that we will see a Blu-Ray disc drive in a revision of the MacBook Pro. Most of us know that Apple is a partner in the Blu-Ray Disc Association, and that the kind of storage Blu-Ray discs (BD-ROM's) have is amazing. I mean, 25GB on a single layer disc? 50GB on a dual layer disc? Compared to a dual layered DVD's maximum of 8.5GB, this is a staggering leap in technology. And I want it in my MacBook Pro.

    The new 802.11n spec is the next big thing in wi-fi communication. Currently, the fastest standard is 802.11g, aka Airport Extreme. Airport Extreme tops out at 54Mbps. This is plenty fast for surfing the Internet even on a T1 line, but it can't hold a candle to what the future holds for "fast" high speed Internet and home networking. Also, and this is the big reason, you can't stream HD content wirelessly with Airport Extreme. 802.11n can stream HD content, since it allows wireless speed of up to a theoretical 540Mbps. Also, an 802.11n signal can go farther from its base station than a 802.11g signal.

    These two technologies I very much want to see in the second, but more likely third or fourth revisions of the MacBook Pro line. When they do appear, I'll be there to buy. So, here's what my ideal MacBook Pro would be:

    * 2.0Ghz Intel Merom processor
    * 120GB SATA 7200RPM hard drive
    * 1GB DDR2 SD-RAM
    * 1Ghz front side bus
    * 15.4" display with 1440 x 960 resolution
    * 8x Blu-Ray disc drive, able to read and write BD-ROM's, DVD's and CD-ROM's
    * 802.11n/b/g Airport card

    Again, this isn't coming anytime soon. Give it a year or less, but I really do think we will see something very close to this.
  2. .Andy macrumors 68030


    Jul 18, 2004
    The Mergui Archipelago
    Geez you don't want much do you sethypoo ;). That would be a sweet machine though - as for 802.11n interesting but is it a greenlighted spec yet? Although from memory didn't Apple did pick up g somewhat prematurely?

    I'd like to add to your list somewhat superficially:
    A 12" model.
    A case redesign - a little more in the departure in asesthetics for the G4's.
  3. Morn macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2005
    This is quite reasonable prediction of specs the next macbook pro revision.
    Is a Blu-Ray drive able to read DVD's? If not I'd rather stick to DVD, it'll be while before blu ray has every movie that dvd does.
    I presume it will be possible to upgrade to one if you can buy a blu ray slot drive seperately.
  4. sethypoo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    I know, I only ask for what is cool. :cool: :D :cool: :D Heck, I'm paying close to $2500 for one of these, so I want it to be amazing!

    802.11n is expected to be ratified next week, according to this article. And yes, Apple did push through 802.11g a little prematurely. I think that at the time everyone knew it was going to be ratified.

    A 12" model would be neat for those who want the portability. Me, I've had enough of my 12" PowerBook G4 rev. A. Time for more screen real estate!

    And a case redesign would be awesome, but I don't want Apple to depart too far from the PowerBook case design. What I'd like to see is for Apple to keep the basic anodized aluminium look (silver), but also have a black anodized aluminium option. They could also make the glowing Apple on the top of the LCD a little bit larger to show a difference between the PowerBook and the MacBook Pro lines.
  5. sethypoo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Blu-Ray drives are widely expected to be completely backwards compatable with all forms of DVD and CD-ROM media. You can read a very thorough FAQ right here.

    Truthfully, any manufacturer of Blu-Ray drives will have the option of creating a Blu-Ray only drive, but since DVD's and CD's are so widely used, no one would buy it. Thus, most if not all manufacturers will make their drives completely backwards compatable. It's a pretty simple fix to install the type of laser that can read and write DVD's and CD's.
  6. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Star-struck and hopelessly optimistic. :p :)

    Read/write Blu-Ray drives in Apple laptops? My guess mid-2007 to mid-2008.

    Reason? Form factor. Apple will probably want to stick with a slot-loading drive if they possibly can and they're a wee way off yet. Even if it was tray-loading, all the recent Blu-Ray drives I've seen pictures of look pretty bulky to me.

    There are also no compelling mass-market reasons for having them onboard yet — they're still too bleeding-edge even for most pros. External maybe but that's a different matter.
  7. sethypoo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Thank you, I'll take that as a compliment. :)

    Form factor you say? Slot-loading too? Look at the drive on the left. Granted, they are "prototypes," and they're probably very expensive, but as more and more movie studios get onboard and start to release more and more of their movies as Blu-Ray discs, we'll see prices for these drives drop. Also, I've noticed that Apple is pretty good about staying on the bleeding edge of technology. Case in point: Airport Extreme, the ExpressCard/34 slot on the MacBook Pro, and the illuminated keyboard.
  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Yes. Eventually. But it's not going to happen this year.

    Mark my words, come back to this thread when the first slot-loading Blu-Ray drive-equipped Apple laptop hits the shelves (not announced)... you and I will have had at least one birthday, if not two, by then.
  9. drbrog macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2005

    It will likely be reader drives only, not writers. When the first Blu-ray writer drives come out (and the individual discs are selling for $30 each), Apple will have announced its planning to switch back to PowerPC.;)
  10. sethypoo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    I dunno, I have a hunch. Perhaps you're right.....the most likely time we will see this happen is at MacWorld San Francisco 2007.

    However, Apple has pulled the rabbit out of the hat before. Let's hope it happens sooner than later.
  11. Tara macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2004
    Arcata, CA
    Yummy. I'm not due for a laptop for a few years, but if they have what you want when I next buy an Apple laptop I'll be set!

    I love you Hunnie and wonderful post!
  12. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    GRRR! I need a new notebook but now I want to wait for one with a Blu-Ray drive!! :mad:
  13. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Jan 17, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    I would have thought the answer as to why you're waiting (thread title) is b/c they're not shipping for another month, so it's b/c you have no choice. But I see we're talking about an even longer wait. If I were in the market, a month would be long enough wait for me.
  14. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Jun 6, 2005
    would a thicker MacBook Pro be a good option?

    This is a great thread. Killer post, Seth.

    Cost and thickness of the drive are likely to keep cutting-edge optical drives out of Powerbo... MacBook Pro, if they are to remain as thin as they are.

    Notice how Apple chose to include a 4x SuperDrive that cannot burn dual-layer discs in the Rev. A 15.4". An Apple representative explained this as due to space concerns.

    But think how the iPod comes in two thicknesses, one that accomodates a larger drive. I think it'd be quite sporting of Apple to offer the same option for their portables.

    Mightn't some, say in media, love to have larger hard drives right inside their Powerbo... MacBook Pro? And since hard drives will likely be around for 3 more years (although I'd love it to be sooner... anyone know what's around the corner?), the higher-capacity drives will _always_ be physically larger.

    And, it would seem, the same can be said for optical drives. They will be thicker than the older technology, and expensive at first.

    So why not make a thicker notebook? One that let's the pros choose options they need. Maybe they could even fit in FireWire 800 (dunno if space was the deciding factor there... it could have been the use of MOBOs that relied heavily on Intel's offerings) and more RAM capacity.

    Let the low end portables be the super-slim cute-as-a-button laptops that will soon be ubiquitous on campus.

    I guess I value pimping options more then how many hairs thinner (!) my laptop is.
  15. itgoesbuzz macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2005
    royal oak, mi
    the reason i am waiting to buy a macbook pro is because the money i have is nill.
  16. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    For some reason, I have the feeling something else is just around the corner. After seeing how fast Apple updated the iMacs, From the Rev. B -> Rev. C-> Intel, another PB, or 12'' and 17'' PBs could be here real soon.
  17. pdpfilms macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2004
    Good point. I could see them easily doing this in the same manner they executed selling combo drives and superdrives in the same Powerbook line. Simply sell a BlueRay model that's .2" thicker, an option that people can consider, and not be tied to if they aren't interested.
  18. asherman13 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2005
    SF Bay Area, CA
    I'm waiting because...

    I don't know if they can dual/triple boot, and it couldn't hurt for me to get some more money so I can get iWork and/or .mac with it, right?
  19. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I'm waiting because I want a 12" model. That's all I really care about.
  20. verb macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2004
    What the future will hold...

    I'll summarize and add "64 bit processor" and "WiMax" to your list so it comes to:

    • Blu-Ray
    • 802.11n/WiMax
    • 64 bit processor

    Currently Blu-Ray is all about HD movies. I know you can read/burn data to them, but what does a machine with a 100GB hard drive need with 50GB discs? I'm sure there are contrived situations where this could be justified, but not many. If you really want to be able to watch 720p movies (1080i is too high res for anything but a 23" and 30" cinema display) on your laptop, then wait. If you want to be able to work with HD video, get a desktop since you need a much larger hard drive. If your laptop is a desktop replacement, you can always get an external Blu-Ray burner.

    Two points here.
    1) Airport express can stream HD movies just fine. H.264 is 6mbps for 720p (which is all you can view on even the 17" powerbook). Even with interference and stack overhead you can easily get a steady 6mbps over 802.11g (max 54mbps). http://www.apple.com/quicktime/technologies/h264/ points out that even 1080p is only 8mbps.
    2) If you really find yourself needing 802.11n or WiMax, buy an ExpressCard. That expansion port offers 2.5Gbps...plenty of speed.

    64 bit processor
    There is really not enough room to properly address this. For most people, if you don't know that you need a 64 bit processor you don't need one and probably will not especially benefit from one. 64 bit processors can process larger numbers and address more RAM. If you can say "yes" to any of these questions, a 64 bit processor would help you:
    "Do you deal with numbers larger than 2,147,483,647 often?"
    "Do you need to keep track of numbers to the more than 38th decimal place?"
    "Do you need more than 4GB of RAM?"
    "Do your friends impress easily or fall prey to techno jargon?"

    Perhaps this is a little unfair since Merom is supposed to have microarchitectural changes as well, but I counter that with the fact that Intel doesn't always hit a home run with new chips. The Pentium 4 architecture is conceded as a failure of marketing over engineering (being optimized for Ghz ratings instead of true processor speed) and has dropped off their roadmap. Just to add a little FUD to the mix: Merom might
    • Be significantly delayed (one or two quarters)
    • Never be released
    • Be worse than Yonah

    The one thing we can almost know for sure is that there will never be a performance jump like this one for Apple laptop users until we get to portable quantum computing. Merom will be evolutionary, not revolutionary.
  21. sethypoo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Yes, Blu-Ray is largely about movies, movies that I want to be able to watch on my MacBook Pro. And Blu-Ray has everything to do with data storage. I would love to have a rewritable Blu-Ray disc to save many of the Final Cut Pro movie segments I work on. I don't even want to get into how many photos I'd like to back up on a single disc. Also, I want to be able to easily back up my 100GB hard drive to a single 100GB four layer Blu-Ray disc

    802.11n is not called WiMax, WiMax is 802.16. There's a difference. Regardless, both offer advantages of increased signal strength at longer ranges, and the ability to stream 1080p from one's MacBook Pro wirelessly to your HDTV. It doesn't matter what I can view on my MacBook Pro itself, it matters what I can stream to my entertainment system.

    Yes, I want to be able to use more than 4GB of RAM.
    2,147,483,647 is a pretty number, but it's the wrong number: the correct number is 2,147,483,648 :rolleyes: Seriously though, you're splitting hairs. Numbers don't matter here, only sheer performance matters, as in what the user can see.

    You can't say that a 64 bit processor is only used for caculating some obscure number of decimal points. That's not the point of 64 bit computing. The point is to be able to address large amounts of memory quickly and efficiently. The point is to have your applications run faster and encode quicker.

    That's a lot of mights, and that list of yours is also assuming that Intel is going to make the same mistakes they made with the Pentium 4. I don't think a company as large and as filled with brilliant minds will let that happen again.

    Out of your entire post, this is the one thing that makes sense to me. Well put, we will see a true revolution with quantum computing. Let's hope it happens in our lifetimes!
  22. SiliconAddict macrumors 603


    Jun 19, 2003
    Chicago, IL

    Fair enough. But consider this. 2006-2007 are introducing new techs that are all only now starting to bake but aren't ready to pull out of the oven. Blue-Ray while a good tech is going to be insanely expensive for the first half year or more of its life. As such I don't expect to see Blue Ray in anything until the PowerMacs show up late this year. Then you have 802.11n. When it shows up you will probably be able to upgrade that card in the PowerBook* because that is all that it is: a card. And the hard drive can be upgraded at a later date. You just need to go through the Apple store to get the upgrades to avoid voiding your warrantee (which I consider stupid since I service laptops for a living.)

    Also if you think DVD media is on the way out I think you need to look again. DVD players are just NOW starting to ship as standard in most low end corp hardware. Actually that started about 2 years ago. Up til then CD drives were still the norm. Until BR hits critical mass don't expect DVD hardware to go anywhere. Until you can take your BR disks and be at least (random number here.) be 60% sure that the client you are sending the disk to is going to be able to play it all it will be is a very expensive archive medium that can be done on a DVD drive albeit with more disks. In point of fact I fully expect HD-DVD vs. BR wars to drag this out until late 2007. During which time you are going to see both camps start throwing their wares out to OEM's. Its going to be a standards nightmare for years. All the while DVD is here NOW.

    Now here is the reason why I'm upgrade beyond the fact that I don't have a Mac at present and the system this is upgrading from is a Toshiba 800Mhz, 256MB, 32MB GeForce2Go dieing piece of crap.
    My reasoning is simple. There are some impressive technologies on the horizon. These technologies will most likely be out within the next 2-3 years. This includes larger OLED displays, eink(this is already out but its really primitive right now.) flexible displays, hard drives with insanely large caches, OLED keyboards, positional sound, holographic storage, among other things. Merom is impressive but it's only the tip of the iceburg. Intel has some scary things down the road. Things that will make Merom eat dust. So while this falls PowerBook* refresh are doubtlessly going to kick the snot out of this first generation of the Intel PowerBook*
    It’s what is going to be showing up in two years is what is really exciting. It's like comparing a point release to a version # change. The differences between these two PowerBooks* is going to be small enough that it doesn't bother me because I know when I trade up in 2008-09 it won't matter what I have now. Core Duo or Merom will be smoked either way. In the mean time I will be kicking along for an extra 5+ months on a fast Core Duo. It's been mentioned before but you can wait forever for the perfect time to upgrade. While this is true I think that time happened last week. Such an event of just a generational leap isn't going to happen again for a while. And that event isn't going to happen with Merom or even with a case redesign (Which I expect with Merom.)
  23. Subliving macrumors member


    May 31, 2005
    Leeds, UK
    I'm personally going to wait until we have portable cold-fusion powered laptops, measured in tHz. I can see Apple doing this, it's just around the corner... honest...

  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Then expect a very thick laptop. I'm talking about 1.5 to 2 inches. They don't make the laptop-appropriate drives yet, especially ones that can burn. They won't have those for awhile. You'd be better off getting an external BR drive when it's released.

    I think Seth is right when he says that a BR drive will be available, but it won't be in 2006, and it won't be in a laptop. Think MWSF 2007 for desktops/PowerMacs, and possibly MWSF 2008 for laptops.

    Apple has pulled rabbits out of the hat before and amazed us all (as Seth put it), but seeing as how they don't make the drives themselves, and when they first come out, they're supposed to be very expensive, and the laptop version will be several thousand dollars more expensive than that, they have no choice but to wait until the price drops dramatically.

    Hope you're prepared to wait until late 2007 at the earliest, Sethypoopoopoo
  25. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    There is. The 12" and 17" models are obvious, so lets not mention those again. They're coming soon.

    There's something else that we haven't thought of yet, which Wired mag has already mentioned, but we don't know what.

    If I were to wait, this "unknown product" is what I would be waiting for, and not this "Blue-Ray in a laptop in 2006" that some folks are dreaming up.

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