2011 MacBook Pros – Possibly the coolest ever?

So the rumors about the new MacBook Pros releasing tomorrow night are definitely super interesting to me.

Let’s first recap how and why there is so much anticipation for this MacBook Pro release, unlike the other speed bump/innards update releases over the past two years.

1. It is now 2011. Apple first introduced the unibody MacBook Pros in late 2008, which makes three years already. And Apple loves to refresh its hardware designs every three years or so (discounting the fateful Aluminum Powerbook/MacBook Pro design). Which makes this year a perfect timing for new MacBook Pro designs. As with all Apple redesigns, it’s a big deal.

2. The release of the redesigned MacBook Air last year (I bought one myself, it’s that good). With the new MacBook Airs there is a very apparent new MacBook design philosophy – the focus on using SSDs, and not just any SSD, but the Toshiba Blade X-gale series that first appeared on the MacBook Airs, because they are much much smaller than a standard 1.8″ or 2.5″ traditional SSDs, and also because they are stock parts, they make way more sense for Apple to use them then to solder flash memory onto the logic boards themselves. And Apple publicly said that the Air will be the basic building block upon which future MacBook designs will be derived from, much like how the original Air inspired the Unibody MacBook Pro series.

3. The iMac refresh last year brought some interesting hardware configurations, namely, that Apple has a build-to-order configuration for a SSD and traditional HDD combination in an iMac, rather than have just a SSD as an option. This configuration allows one to install OS X and all apps onto the SSD and use the HDD for data. Having the OS and apps on the SSD will basically result in super speeding up boot times, application launch times, system response times, and the such, you get what I mean here. Basically it gives you a feeling of a much faster system than you actually own.

4. And that finally Apple probably has to switch to Core i3/i5/i7 series for their 13-inchers, for the Core 2 Duo chips will be out of production soon (or already is).

Macrumors (sourcing from Macgeneration, a french site) released the following rumored specs and info about the new MacBook Pro earlier today;

– no more white MacBook (Apple goes back to two lines of 13″ inchers)
– 16 GB SSD mSATA drives on all models to store the system
– Core i3 and third USB port on the 13″ model
– Matte screen option on the higher-end 13″
– Option to replace the SuperDrive with a SSD on the 15 and 17″ models
– HD screens on all models : 1440×900 on the 13″, 1680×1050 on the 15″
– 200 to 300 grams lighter : 1.8 kg for the 13″, 2.3 kg for the 15″, 2.65 kg for the 17″
– Better battery life : 12 hours on the 13″, 10 hours on the 15″
– 8 GB of RAM on the 17″

This seem to fit in with much of the changes in design philosophy brought about by the updated MacBook Air and the iMac refresh, for it makes use of 16GB of SSD for the system to basically boost overall system response speeds. Core i3 for the 13″ MacBook Pro makes complete sense with Sandy Bridge being good enough. Though personally I’m still hoping for some kind of miracle where Apple will put in a more decent-than-stock integrated/dedicated graphics on the 13″ MacBook Pro.

Matte screen options for the 13″ will finally appease the bunch of silly users who keep insisting that matte screens are better (when they are not) and who had to buy the 15″ because there wasn’t a matte screen option for the 13″, until now.

The screen resolution change isn’t a surprise, Apple switched the resolution starting from the updated 13″ MacBook Air last year, and it makes no business sense for them to keep using a lower resolution screen for the MacBook Pro lines.

And really, besides the introduction of SSD in every model and the increase of screen resolution, the most important part must be the decrease in weight of the whole MacBook Pro lines. With the unibody series the MacBook Pro line was already almost some of the lightest notebooks in its categories (all the more cool when you realised that competitors are achieving comparable weight using cheap filmsy lightweight plastic that breaks when you knock your laptop against your knee). If the 1.8kg weight for the 13″ MacBook Pro is real, there is just simply going to be no competition.

I am really excited, shouldn’t you be too? Especially you, you, you, you, you, you, and you, since you are already planning to buy your first Mac in the next two months.

This is really exciting.

P.S. And then there’s Light Peak. Shall not comment on it until we see it tomorrow.

P.S. again. It seems that new last minute-rumors have appeared to dispel some of the more cooler rumors including case redesigns and weight reduction. Check it out here. If true, will be much less ambitious and exciting than originally hoped for.

P.S., yet again. Cool my arse. The rumor mill could have never been more wrong. The 13″ers are totally lousier upgrades compared to the previous generation, which has better graphics and longer battery life (10 hours vs the current 7 hours)

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MacRyu is the Mac Blog by Singaporeans and for Singaporeans. It was started in April 2007 as a side project of the then President of the Official Mac User Group of NUS, Ryu, and grew to become possibly one of the most popular Apple-related sites based in Singapore. MacRyu hopes to provide you with more Mac-related info, thoughts and stuff, from the Singaporean perspective.

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