Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

I'm not dead yet! Macbook Pro Predictions...

Every year Apple, hosts several event to announce new products about their new hardware or software.

Go back in time a little bit, 2010 was a big year for Apple across the board in my eyes. They announced the iPad where they are clearly dominating the market. They announced the iPhone 4, with its retina display alone changed the smartphone market. Finally, the redesigned Macbook Air which made that product a solid computer, when before it really wasn’t.

When they reannounced the Macbook Air, I knew that Apple had serious plans for this lineup. It was arguably the sexiest computer out there and, with the addition of the solid state drive, made it one of Apple’s snappiest computers.

Now, prior to WWDC, me and David Burris had a facebook discussion about my predictions:

  • Goodbye 13 inch Macbook Pro.                    
  • 15 and 17 inch MBP to have Nvidia GPU's instead of AMD GPU's
  • Macbook Pros with Hybrid HDD/SDD, or with Intel Smart Caching (SSD + HDD) WITH DVD drive
  • Ivy Bridge on all models
  • USB 3.0 Everywhere
  • Macbook Airs to be the exact same with Ivy and USB 3.0

I made some follow up predictions but I’m not going to go into that here. The obvious predictions were correct. Ivy Bridge and USB 3.0 are in every sku minus the Mac Pro (hardly counts anymore). Macbook Airs had a spec bump. The non-retina Macbook Pro’s did not have a Solid State Drive as a standard option, but I was correct about the Optical Drive. Nvidia’s graphics cards require a lot less power (which Apple cares more about), and has great performance.

The Prediction:

The prediction about the 13 inch Macbook Pro going away was one that I thought might not happen, but a big part of me thought it would. Let’s take a look at last year's Macbook Pro’s.

To me and many tech enthusiast, LCD panels are important. With LCD panels comes resolution. To me, compared to their other Macbook Pro computers and the Macbook Air’s, it is a joke. The 11 inch Macbook Pro has a resolution of 1366x768. Re-read that last sentence. It has a higher resolution than the 13 inch Macbook Pro. To continue beating on that horse, the 13 inch Macbook air matches the 15 inch in resolution at 1440x900. When you hear the word Pro, you think it is a premium product. Comparing all of the Pro models of last year, the 13 inch Macbook Pro is the only model that does not have a dedicated Graphics Card, only has a Dual Core instead of a Quad Core, and has a resolution of 1280x800. To me, the 13 inch Macbook Pro is not very Pro.

Solid State Drive:
The Solid State Drive is worth a section of its own. You saw above how I predicted that all Macbooks would have a Solid State Drive in their machine. The reason is because they are so much faster than mechanical Hard Drives. Everything that you do on a computer touches the Solid State Drive. If you are booting your computer, it cuts the boot time in half. If you are opening a program, it is 2-3 times faster.

I was literally stunned that the non-retina Macbook Pro’s did not have at least a Hybrid Hard Drive. The Hybrid HDD has a small chunk of Solid State cache (memory) to help the computer. It’s a storage device that gives you the capacity of the Hard Drive and the snappiness of a Solid State Drive. If you go check out Anand Lal Shimpi’s article on page 2, you will see some numbers to give you a word picture of what I am talking about:

False Prediction:
My idea was that the 11 and 13 inch computers would be the lightweight computers and have snappy performance. If people wanted DVD drives, it would be purchased externally for easy money in Apple’s pocket. 15 and 17 inch Macbook Pro’s for those who want great performance and do Video Encoding and really push their computer. Pro models are Pro because the Optical Drive, dedicated GPU, Quad Core i7’s, and massive storage (with SSD).

What actually happened:
Everything got Ivy Bridge upgrades and USB 3.0. 17 inch Macbook Pro got the Axe. 15 inch Macbook Pro with retina display is now their best SKU. If it wasn’t for the 15 inch Macbook Pro with retina display, this event would’ve been a dud.

2013 Apple Macbook Predictions:
These are subject to change.

  • Intel Haswell Processors across the board
  • They will actually upgrade the Mac Pros.
  • 13 inch Macbook Pro will be removed this time. If it gets redesigned like the 13 inch Macbook Air, it will be too similar. I think this is the last year for the 13 inch Pro.
  • Likewise, no more DVD Drive. People would rather have lighter and thinner computers.
  • I believe that Retina displays will be on all models. 1280x800 at pixel doubling will make it 2560x1600. That resolution will be on the 13 inch Macbook Air.
  • The 11 inch Macbook Air I think will have a 1920x1200 resolution. They can’t pixel double it more than 2560x1600, so this would make sense to me.
  • SSD’s on every model.
  • Siri integration.

Final thoughts:
I think that most computer vendors will look at the 15 inch Macbook Pro with Retina display and make their own model. If will most likely come with Video and Image Production software like iPhoto and iMovie.

Ultrabooks will be super competitive with the Macbook Air’s. ASUS as a new Zenbook with a 1920x1080 screen on 11 and 13 inch computers. In my eyes if you want an Ultrabook, this is the one to get.

Windows 8 will eventually outsell Android tablets. It won’t be this year, but next year I think it will outsell Android tablets. That being said, it will still be a lot less than iPads.

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