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Disappointing new MacBook Pros  

Like many other MacBook Pro owners I’ve been waiting for the October 14th event with some excitement. The highlights include:

  • Stronger aluminium block casing
  • NVidia dual graphics for low-power or high-performance
  • Glass multi-touch/multi-press trackpad

But the downsides are also worth noting, all of which make me think when I replace my 2.6GHz 17″ MBP in a year Apple aren’t going to have something I want to replace it with.

  • No 17″ model
  • 4GB RAM limit
  • Glossy screen only
  • 1440×900 resolution
  • Firewire gone

Keith Combs has some similar observations in more depth while AppleInsider is suggesting a January refresh for the 17″


13 responses  

  1. Firewire is still there on the MacBook Pro. Its a FW800 port next to the Ethernet port. I think they said that will be the configuration for their future?

    17″ model will probably come in the near future definitely within a year… Apple tend to update in a staggered fashion for some reason.

    Was there a higher resolution for the 15″ model before?

    I wanted a 30″ LED Cinema Display. I’m quite impressed with the 24″ version though even if a little too expensive imo.

    Damon StephensonOctober 14th, 2008
  2. yeah, i was really hoping for a 17″ mbp refresh thought the last minute rumor was it wouldn’t be update. Now do I buy the 15″ or wait for an updated 17″? Damien, any opinion on 15 versus 17?

    josh – October 14th, 2008
  3. Okay, so they have kept the FW800 but dropped the FW400. Would have been a better idea to turn the FW400 into a second FW800 given the market for these machines.

    There wasn’t a higher resolution than this available on the 15″ but again given the people that really want these machines (designer, programmers, video editing) they should be at the high end not mid-range.

    I couldn’t go back to a 15″ as my 17″ is the only computer I own – it’s my life!


    Damien GuardOctober 14th, 2008
  4. Are these specs available at some reliable source?

    Rik HemsleyOctober 14th, 2008
  5. Damien,

    I think these four things

    # No 17″ model
    # 4GB RAM limit
    # Glossy screen only
    # 1440×900 resolution

    really have stopped me from getting a Macbook Pro. As great as they do look, the 15″ would be too small and the resolution isn’t very god.

    I’m hoping that they will come out with something a little bit more special for the 17″ release – before Christmas would be good but I somehow doubt that.


    Chris HardyOctober 14th, 2008
  6. Ignore me, I didn’t realise it was the 14th. Working too hard is my excuse.

    Rik HemsleyOctober 14th, 2008
  7. @Chris yes, I think the real issue here is that the new machines don’t feel “Pro” in the same way the Mac Pro does and the glossy screen is just a massive no-no for serious users who don’t want glare and distractions when working on art and video.

    Maybe Apple think the Pro crowd aren’t worth the effort now and that the money is to be made in high-end consumers despite their greater price sensitivity.

    Let’s hope when the 17″ gets the new enclosure they certify 4GB modules for 8GB and provide a high-definition matt display.


    Damien GuardOctober 14th, 2008
  8. I’ve just watched the making-of video and while the enclosure is impressive I can’t imagine how people can watch it without thinking “my god that screen is like a mirror” as it is constantly reflecting shine all the way through.


    Damien GuardOctober 14th, 2008
  9. At first: I’m not Apple user at all (until recently I even disliked Apple), but because I’m considering buying a Mac Pro next year I was following the live blog of Engadget yesterday.

    As far as I understand they will not change the glaas screen and they will refresh the Macbook Pro “. Taken from

    – 10:57AM Q: What’s up with the 17-inch?
    A: Tim: It’s being refreshed today as well.

    – 11:01AM Q: Concern about the glossy screens. Are you going to offer another option?
    A: Steve: We’re going all glass — we won’t offer another version. Phil: You offset the reflection by the brightness, and consumers love it. One of the great things about a notebook is you can turn it however you want!

    I’m using a Dell Inspiron 9400 with the TrueCrystal/TrueLife/TrueWhatever glassy screen and I actually don’t have much problems with reflection.
    But as I said before: I don’t know Apple’s products so well, so there might be a difference between these type of screens.

    The 4 GB RAM limit is indeed a drawback! At this time of fancy-pansy OS’es, multi-tasking and virtualization (need Fusion for VS.NET :p), such a limit is not right.

    Niels R.

    PS: Love your Envy R font!

    Niels R. – October 14th, 2008
  10. I had a glossy laptop for years before switching to a MBP and at first I hated going back to a non-glossy screen. I’ve got used to it now.

    Yes, glare can be an issue with the glossies but the colour reproduction is much more consistent. Matte screens, no matter how good, always alter the colour of the light depending on the angle you’re looking at it, and it’s almost impossible to get a uniform perceived colour across the entire screen, something that is easy with a glossy. So it depends on your perception of ‘pro’ user – if colour acuracy is important you’re probably better with a glossy and just figuring out how to align it so you don’t get glare. Personally if I had a window behind me I used to use my own body to block the light. But, it’s easier with natural / simple lighting setups (like I have – working from home has benefits), if you’re in a huge office with a ton of flourescent strip lights, it’s certainly a lot harder.

    SteveOctober 15th, 2008
  11. Not sure why they went completely glossy as the matte always outsold glossy screens. What high end monitor is that glossy? If you had a good monitor how you going to connect it? Know anyone that uses a mini connector? Have an adapter? Less ports then the older macbook pros but this is better right. No more firewire 400 but this is an upgrade? ESata? Guess I wait for next round.

    Paul GubaNovember 9th, 2008
  12. I bought mine a little while ago and I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m disappointed with my purchase. I might consider myself a little less enthralled than I had expected to be. I find the performance to be quite good, but the overall feature set (especially the expectation that some current features would be upgraded) is somewhat lacking. Overall 7/10.

    Mark – December 9th, 2008
  13. 17″ MBP’s now shipping, Also addresses every con you posted ;)
    Do you ever change your battery often though… I don’t so it’d be nice to have in the 13/15″ models too for me ;)

    Damon StephensonJanuary 30th, 2009

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