No New MacBook for Me at WWDC
by Alan Zisman (c) 2012
published in Low End Mac
12 June 2012
My Mac-of-choice at the moment is a Late 2008 Aluminum Unibody 13"
MacBook - the design that evolved into the 13" MacBook Pro. The model
first came on the market in October 2008, and I bought mine in December.
So right now, it's a bit over three-and-a-half years old.
I'd upgrading it a bit, beefing up the original 2 GB memory to 4 GB and
replacing the original 160 GB hard drive with a 512 GB model.
Overall, it runs fine; I've got the current OS X 10.7.4 Lion installed,
along with all the software I need or want. With photos, music, and
video, the hard drive is just over half filled.
There are some scratches in the aluminum of the cover, the letters E,
R, and T on the keyboard are fuzzy, and the optical drive reads discs
fine but intermittently fails to write discs - even after being
replaced. I've replaced the battery - the new-ish battery only gets
about two-and-a-half hours to a charge - much less than the 5-7 hours
promised for current Apple laptops with larger batteries made possible
by a non-replaceable design.
Current Apple laptops have newer processors, faster and more powerful
than the 2 GHz Core 2 Duo in my model. But I'm more aware of feeling
cramped by the number of pixels on the screen: 1280 x 800.
Prior to Apple's announcement of new laptop models at this week's
Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), I'd felt like none of Apple's
then-current laptop models seemed like must-have upgrades to me. I
prefer the smaller-sized models (13" or less), but the new 13" MacBook
Pro continues with the 1280 x 800 pixel display of my original.
The MacBook Air line features higher resolution screens: 1366 x 768 on
the 11" MacBook Air and 1440 x 900 pixels on the 13" Air. Those models
feature solid state (SSD) storage, offering quick boot times,
application start up, and document loading. But storage topped out at
256 GB - barely enough to hold everything on my current drive, but with
no room for anything else.
At the WWDC keynote, Apple announced updates to the MacBook Pro and
MacBook Air lineups. Much of the publicity focused on the new MacBook
Pro with Retina Display.
That model's 2880 x 1800 pixel display is certainly higher resolution
than that on my 2008-era MacBook. But it's also a larger 15" model -
larger than I want to tote around. And the price - Cdn$2,229 (US$2,199)
is out of my price range. That includes a 256 GB SSD. A model with a
512 GB SSD (and a somewhat faster CPU) is Cdn$2829 (US$2799).
Sorry, Apple, no sale.
The smaller 13" MacBook Pro remains on sale, with models at the more
affordable Cdn$1,229 and $1,529 price points - but while these have
gained a bit of CPU speed, faster USB 3 ports, and other modest
improvements over the previous generation, they keep the same 1280 x
800 pixel screen resolution of my older model.
Improvements over mine - but again, no sale.
The MacBook Airs also got modest performance improvements along with a
$100 price drop on all but the lowest-priced model. And a 512 GB SSD is
now available as an option - which would provide me with enough
storage, and fast storage at that.
But that option adds $800 to the cost of an 11" Air (stepping up from a
128 GB SSD), bringing the cost to Cdn$1,929 or $500 to the cost of a
13" Air (from a 256 GB drive), bringing the cost to Cdn$2,029.
I think I'll keep my 2008 aluminum MacBook in operation a while longer.