Apple Gives MacBook Pros a Boost, iPhone Lust Builds, and More

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Apple Gives MacBook Pros a Boost, iPhone Lust Builds, and More

Faster, more powerful MacBook Pros: Apple pumped up its MacBook Pro line today, basing the new models on Intel's Santa Rosa platform, expanding RAM and graphics capabilities, and changing out display technology for mercury-free, power-saving LED backlighting, which contributes to longer battery life and - reportedly - richer colors. Every MBP now features an Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB of shared L2 cache, an 800MHz frontside bus, and 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory, expandable to 4GB. And, yes, for you sharp-eyed readers, the difference between an 800MHz frontside bus and 667MHz DDR2 RAM is a bit of a choke point, but it's a fairly common configuration around the industry, and shouldn't be much of a problem unless you're pushing your new 17-inch MacBook Pro to the max when editing HD video in Final Cut Studio 2. Speaking of FCS2, Apple claims that the updated machines can run pro apps such a Final Cut Pro 6 and Logic Pro 7 more than 50 percent faster than they could before. Meanwhile, the form factor of the notebooks remains the same: an aluminum (and scratch-prone) case that's just one inch thick.


The new MacBook Pros feature NVIDIA's GeForce 8600M GT graphics processing unit (GPU), which should appeal to graphics pros, gamers, and people who use their notebooks as portable video players; Apple includes 128MB of video RAM in the low-end 15-inch MacBook Pro and 256MB in the higher-end 15-incher and the 17-inch MacBehemoth. The 8600M GT may not be an absolute screamer of a graphics chip, but its performance is perfectly respectable and a vast improvement over the MacBooks' Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of RAM shared with main system RAM. Also, as Ars Technica's Infinite Loop reports, the 8600M GT supports the HDCP copy protection that's required to play HD-DVD or Blu-ray content via HDMI or DVI output. "But there's no word on whether the additional component or components to actually implement HDCP are there."


Infinite Loop also points out that even with the processor uptick and with the same battery as before, Apple is reporting an increase in "imaginary" battery life for the 15-inch model from 5 to 6 hours. That "should translate in 30 to 40 more minutes of real-world battery life." Just enough time to watch one more episode of The Office on your next cross-country flight.


The MacBook Pros are shipping now and available in three basic configurations (with upgrades available - such as larger or faster hard drives - for each): A 2.2GHz 15-inch model for $1,999, a 2.4GHz 15-inch model for $2,499, and a 2.4GHz 17-inch model for $2,799.


Despite this relatively sunny (though perhaps a bit anticlimactic) upgrade news, that hasn't stopped some from worrying that Apple's losing its vice grip on quality control, especially when it comes to portables. Meanwhile, others are looking forward to MacBooks sporting 64GB flash drives. Personally, we here at Mac|Life admit to being a bit underwhelmed ... so far, at least, it hasn't been that exciting a year for the company that once had the word "computer" in its name.


We all want an iPhone: And the news sites know it. They'll stop at nothing to get you to click on their iPhone articles and blog posts, including writing headlines like: "Apple iPhone reviewed: How the iPhone scores in usefulness and coolness." Which, to most people, sounds like Blogging Stocks got their hands on an iPhone and, well, reviewed it. Uh, no. It's just another random guy's take on what we already know about the iPhone. Ah, the declining standards of journalistic integrity.


Even if naysayers' predictions that the iPhone won't reach its sales goals come true, some believe that Apple's mobile phone will pave the way for capacitive touch screens on 25 percent of all mobile phones by 2009.


In other news: In a head-to-head review by Laptop magazine, Mac OS X Tiger kicked Windows Vista's behind - hard. Are you ready for a brushed metal iMac? The EU has given Apple more time to respond to allegations that it violated antitrust regulations in Europe. Students and teachers can get a free iPod nano or a discount on a new iPod with a qualifying Mac purchase, through mid-September.




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It was inevitable. Literally a MONTH after I got my MBP, they upgrade it. Sigh. Well, I wouldn't have waited...

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