Over the past week, Apple released a full version upgrade to Mac OS, Mac OS 10.7 Lion. Roars, apparently. They also released new computers and an updated, Thunderbolt-enabled display. There are new Mac Minis, and a very impressive and aggressive update to the MacBook Air. Apple’s pretty proud of themselves over it and they have a right to be.
“According to benchmark tests performed by Wired, the new 11-inch MacBook Airs increased their speed performance by 149% over last year’s model. Their tests put the 11-inch MacBook Air on par with last year’s 17-inch MacBook Pros. The power behind this beautiful machine is incredible, especially when you consider that it’s 2.38lbs is nearly half that of my old 13-inch MacBook Pro…” – Cult of Mac, Sleek and Powerful, the New 11-Inch MacBook Air Will Blow You Away, Again
After a spate of rumors, simultaneously with releasing the new Macbook Airs, Apple did actually EOL and discontinue the MacBook. Not TOO much of a surprise. It’s consistent with the current ark of Apple’s relentless thinking different… and relentlessly forward. Still, It does raise the eyebrow a bit.
The once popular little white beasite got squeezed out between the impressive MacBook Air update at the same $999 entry price point, and sales have been fading. Laptop users have been also taking on the small up-sell to MacBook Pros with their better specs and performance. The writing was on the wall on this one.
Jim Dalrymple at The Loop gets some of Apple’s thinking with a Conversation With Apple Execs:
“Thunderbolt makes the MacBook Air a high performance citizen,” David Moody, Apple’s vice president of Hardware Product Marketing, told The Loop. It gives the Air more I/O options than it ever had before.”
With the release of the new MacBook Air came the demise of the white MacBook. Apple said it made sense after seeing the trends of its customers.
“One of the things we saw is that the MacBook Air was simply more popular than the MacBook,” said Moody. “It does more in half the weight and in half the volume.”
I am now wondering how long the Optical Drive on the MacBook Pro, or even the iMac has to live… not to mention Firewire ports. But they’re gonna go, folks. Get used to the idea. Nice that the new Thunderbolt Display has all the ports, Gigabit Ethernet, Firewire 800, audio… to plug the Macbook Air into, but unless I need the display too, $999 is kind of pricey for a dock, however “ultimate” it might be.
And it’s still a glossy screen, but that’s a separate rant.
Along the same lines, the future of the Mac Pro lies hidden behind the walls of Culpertino, but professional users do seem to be sweating a bit. As seen by the Final Cut Pro X release, Apple’s attention is not necessarily focused on the needs of professional users in favor of the much larger and lucrative consumer and “prosumer” market.
[Update!] Since I wrote this I have learned a bit about what’s up with the Mac Pros. Intel is suffering a delay in releasing the Sandy Bridge E5 series Xeon CPU chips most likely to go into the next generation of the Mac Pros — not expecting to launch till 1st Quarter of 2012. So I wouldn’t expect new Mac Pros before next spring. My best guess suggests we’ll be seeing CPU bumps, more SSD options and likely reasonably, if not spectacular Graphic Card updates, and of course Thunderbolt Ports. I think the Optical Drives and Firewire Ports should last at least one more generation, unless Apple revises the case design and revisions the Mac Pro entirely. But your rumors are as good as mine. Essentially guessing based on Apple’s behavior.
It’s obvious that Apple is getting out of the pressing discs and boxed software biz as fast as possible in favor of an all-streaming all-download age. (and that’s your answer to the blu-ray question too, dream on ) I’m not pulling this out of thin air, check this: Macrumors: Apple Kills More Boxed Software In Favor of App Store.
Apple is headed for the (i)Cloud and taking you there whether you’re afraid of heights or not. And if you don’t have a broadband connection, Apple doesn’t want to know you. The Mac OS X 10,7 Lion release is 4GB and download only from the online Apple Store. But for that $29, they ditch millions of dollars in pressing discs and months of prep in packaging and moving them. (They are offering Lion on a USB stick in August at a bit of a “physical media tax”) If you’re using Tiger or plain Leopard, Apple doesn’t want to know you. Snow Leopard is required to access the Mac Store. Using an ancient Power PC machine? Apple really doesn’t want to know you. You don’t fit into Apple’s vision. You’re not one of the cool kids.
So stick a crowbar into your wallet. Get upgraded, get wired, and get with the program. The page is turning, folks.
Do try to keep up.
Cult of Mac – Sleek and Powerful, the New 11-Inch MacBook Air Will Blow You Away, Again
Wired Gadget Labs – MacBook Pros, Hit the Bench: The Air Is Gaining Muscle
Jim Dalrymple, The Loop – , Conversation With Apple Execs
Macrumors – Apple Kills More Boxed Software In Favor of App Store.