Thursday, January 08, 2009

New Apple Macbook Pro 17”: The Battery is Not the Real Concern!!!!


Yesterday Apple had their last Macworld address and while the releases were moderately interesting, one of the most controversial  is perhaps the announcement regarding the non-removable battery for the newly announce 17” Macbook Pro. Now, I don’t imagine too many livePA artists are using 17” Pros to do their live performances because lets be honest, the things are huge. But this non-removable battery could very well be setting a design standard that we will all see trickle down into the 15” and 13” models come the next revision.

So in this new Macbook, Apple is claiming to have developed a super long batter that lasts up to eight hours and can have over 1000 charge cycles. Interesting, but I think we all honestly can admit that the real world charge life will last probably around 50%-70% of that claimed by Apple. So, 4-6 hours roughly. While the main crux of this debate and disappointment from many people comes down to the fact that business users cannot change batteries when on a long flight and so forth, I think there is a much bigger and more important issue here that most people are failing to discuss. That issue is of course the lack of accessibility to the internals of the machine itself now.

I personally have never once considered purchasing a second battery for my Macbook and I imagine the vast majority of laptop users out there, even “Pro” users are in the same boat. What I have done though is wanted to upgrade my Macbook as it grew older. Install a new harddrive with a higher RPM, add more RAM, etc.  And while the new 17” Macbook comes packed with a nice 320 GB harddrive and 4GB of ram, this is certainly not the max of what it can handle. A few years down the road even, the cost of putting in a 1TB drive may only be $100, who knows. What Apple has done here though is effectively remove the personal upgrade options of the laptop from the user. No longer can someone really extend the life of their machine an extra few years by adding a bigger, faster harddrive or more RAM. You are now forced to either purchase a new machine or pay the exorbitant amount of extra cost to have the upgrade done at purchase.  We all know that PC manufacturers charge an “arm and a leg” for harddrive and RAM upgrades at purchase.

The upgrade from 4GB of DDR3 Ram on the Macbook Pro 17” to 8GB of RAM costs a whopping $1,200!!!!!!! Admitingly, DDR3 ram is newer to the market and I could not find 2x4GB sticks for sale at either or at the time of this writing, but comparable RAM from both of those sites in 2x2GB configurations runs $200 at the most.

This is a slippery slope that Apple has begun to go down with regards to its customers. It is fairly easy to argue that the consumer market either doesn’t care or doesn’t notice these sorts of things, but I for one would like to think that the “Pro” market that all of us as musicians fall into are much more critical and demanding of our hardware.



Anonymous said...

I think that this article is inappropriate for this blog. Talk about live PA, don't use it as a soap box to rant about Mac.

Will said...

I think that they're not concerned with people upgrading so much because consumers usually choose macs because of their closed hardware and closed software.