At last week’s MacWorld Expo, Apple announced they would be shipping a new 17-inch MacBook Pro laptop near the end of January. Rumors had been circulating prior to the announcement that Apple would be announcing a quad core processor laptop, but this was not it. The new MacBook Pro is built around a “unibody chassis”, that is, it is carved from a single block of aluminum. Pricing will start around $2,800.
The big news was its battery life. Apple states its battery is rated to last “up to” 7 or 8 hours on a single charge, and that it may be recharged up to 1,000 times. (Compare this to other laptops which may only hold a 3 or 4 hour charge with a recharge life of 200 to 300 charges.) You can watch Apple’s video regarding its battery design below.
Apple rates the battery for 200 charges per year, so at 1,000 charges the battery will need replacing in 5 years. Of course users who frequently save to the hard drive will have to charge the battery more frequently. If you use your laptop on weekends, you may find yourself recharging the battery for than 200 times per year, too.
Still, this is a pretty big boost in battery life, but, once the battery’s lifetime ends, you won’t be able to change the battery yourself. You will have to take it to an Apple store or authorized reseller for replacement. This might be difficult for owners who live in remote areas. The battery costs about $160.
Admittedly, not everyone runs on their batteries every day. Deskbound MacBooks will find themselves plugged into a wall outlet.
The 17 inch MacBook Pro is also one of the heaviest MacBooks on the market. With its battery being 40% larger than previous batteries, and its block of aluminum chassis, it weighs a full pound more than the 15 inch MacBook Pro, but is still within the same weight range as other laptops in its class.
MacBook fans who were hoping for a Blu-ray DVD drive for high def video or data storage will have to wait a little bit longer. There is no Blu-ray in this MacBook, and there is no option available for one as at upgrade at time of purchase either (at this time).
Solid State Drive
The $2,800 model has a standard 320 GB (gigabyte) Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive, but two solid state drive upgrade options are available for $500 (128 GB) and $900 (256 GB). Though smaller in capacity, the solid state drives (SSD) provide greater durability and shock resistance over the standard SATA drives. Standard drives have moving parts, but sold state drives have no moving parts. Solid state drives are similar to the flash memory chips found in the digital cameras, or to the drives found in some iPods.
The Apple MacBook Pro 17-inch model comes with a full 4 GB of RAM, and can be upgraded to 8 GB of RAM for an additional $1,200. So if you add the large solid state drive and the full 8 GB of RAM your new MacBook will cost about $5,000.
Most people will find the 4 GB of RAM sufficient, but for the frequent traveller I would recommend adding the solid state drive for its sheer durability. More on the 17-inch MacBook Pro below:
|17-inch Tech Specs
Height: 0.98 inch (2.50 cm)
Width: 15.47 inches (39.3 cm)
Depth: 10.51 inches (26.7 cm)
Weight: 6.6 pounds (2.99 kg)Display: 17-inch (viewable)
LED-backlit glossy widescreen
1920 by 1200 pixelsBattery: Built-in lithium-polymer
Up to 8 hours of wireless productivityConnections and Expansion:
MagSafe power port
Gigabit Ethernet port
One FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
Three USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)
Audio line in
Audio line out
Security cable lock slot
Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard