What else to expect from WWDC besides the 3G iPhone?

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With the WWDC a few scant weeks away, the updates and rumors posted to cryptomacology blogs have come so fast and furious that some have simply blinked out of our reality, having consummated their union with the Speed Force. Over at Wired’s Gadget Lab, Charlie Sorrel has approached the current slate of Apple rumors with a level-head. No surprises here: the most likely new products from Apple will be a 3G iPhone and a new MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro is almost exactly the same in looks as the original PowerBook G4, announced back in January 2001. It’s time for a change. We expect a big multi touch trackpad, the new chiclet-style keyboard, an almost bezel-less screen (which should bring the overall size down despite still having a 15″ screen) and perhaps some 3G connectivity (Apple has so many deals with cellphone networks now that an international rollout of an always-on connection is feasible). We’ll probably see a version without an optical drive, too, perhaps with a second hard drive filing the space. And after all the whining about the MacBook Air being a little wussy in its specs, it could be time for Apple to drive home a powerful, well endowed twelve-incher.

You know, I was hot for the new MacBook Pro, but in a recent conversation with Beschizza, I realized that my current MBP is pretty much the perfect form factor for a serious work laptop. The MBP’s exterior still a svelte, sophisticated and attractive chassis… the only things I find myself wanting are silly things like more USB ports. I’m not really sure anymore that the MBP does need an overhaul: how much better could it really look? A bezel-less screen would certainly be hot, a higher resolution would be lovely, and Apple can make pretty much anything thinner, but I’m not sure that a new MBP design is the “must have” for me I was convinced it was a scant few months ago. The MBP’s pretty much perfect as is.

What To Expect From Apple At WWDC [Gadget Lab]

Image: Mac Rumors

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10 Responses to What else to expect from WWDC besides the 3G iPhone?

  1. Saks Russell says:

    I finally got my first laptop after years of fighting it. I didn’t want to take work home with me and I could drag files from the office to the home machine with no problem. Now I am working on the road as a reporter and having a notebook is mandatory to keep up and stay connected with my editors. I picked up a PB G4 12″ that I love dirt cheap on Craigslist. $250 and all I had to do was replace a defective HD and max out the RAM. I’d love to see the 12″ form factor back with a better display, Superdrive and cooler running. Since I am primarily taking pictures (photojournalism), I have to haul around a ton of kit. Having a small laptop is a blessing. Although, too small and you wind up trying to watch movies on an iPodish unit. There is a minimum limit to size that is still appropriate for doing real work.

    I don’t think that I’ll ever see a keyboard worth a darn. I took a stone age IBM anvil of a clickity keyboard and modified it for USB and it’s the absolute bomb for doing some serious writing. If I can find more of those at a swap meet, I may actually document the refit and stick one in my luggage to plug into the laptop.

    It’s always worth keeping an eye on Apple. The design staff keeps coming up with the stuff we didn’t realize we had to have.

  2. Matthew Walton says:

    You’re dead right, the Macbook Pro doesn’t need a substantial overhaul. A few tweaks here and there perhaps, but it still looks fab.

    It’s rather like the ThinkPad, in my opinion. I’ve seen a lot of reviews lately complaining that the ThinkPad design looks antiquated and clunky, but there are loads of them at work (they’re our standard laptop) and I still think they look fantastic, tough but not stupidly bulky, simple and capable. Again, tweaks only.

    What is it with an industry where people demand a complete overhaul every few years even when some manufacturers are approaching an ideal design?

  3. mikeryz says:

    You can have my SuperDrive…when you pry it from my cold dead fingers!

  4. zuzu says:

    I realized that my current MBP is pretty much the perfect form factor for a serious work laptop. The MBP’s exterior still a svelte, sophisticated and attractive chassis… the only things I find myself wanting are silly things like more USB ports. I’m not really sure anymore that the MBP does need an overhaul: how much better could it really look?

    Sweet merciful crap, Apple needs to replace the keyboard in the MBP! My WPM has been halved by the unresponsiveness of the keys in the current MBP line; something like the keyboard in the old 12″ PowerBook would be a vast improvement, or perhaps even the “chiclet” keyboard like the Air and desktop USB keyboard.

    Another huge improvement from the Montevina chipset would be official support for more than 4GB of RAM. OSX is RAM hungry and I do something called multitasking that just from web browsing, IM, email, iChat, Pages, Keynote, iTunes, Photoshop all running at the same time I’ll easily start swapping out to disk. (The people who ask “Why would you ever need more than 1GB of RAM?” are living in a fantasy world as far as I can tell.) To say nothing of if you use Parallels to host a VM of Windows, Ubuntu, OpenSolaris, Dragonfly BSD, Plan 9, or whatever. Of course, Apple’s software authors could also help by finally having OSX use a swap partition instead of a swapfile, so that “free space” really means “free space”, not “10GB of space that you need to keep clear for the swap file to grow into”.

    Ideally Apple would offer the quad-core Penryn as a BTO in their Montevina product line upgrade, but I’m not holding my breath on that.

    A second mini-PCI-e slot for EVDO or HSDPA connectivity would be greatly appreciated as well.

    Oh, and if Apple is keeping an internal optical drive, it’d be nice if it also did LightScribe.

    I’d also like to see the Fujitsu AES-256 hardware full disk encryption (FDE) as a BTO option as well, perhaps integrated with FileVault on the software side — supporting some kind of token-based private key storage the way dm-crypt does with USB flash drives (e.g. the Imation Atom).

    Oh, and remember when people thought the Macbook Air would support an instant-on booting of OSX thanks to its SSD? …like the Amiga KickStart ROM. I’d still like to see that feature become a reality.

  5. RyanH says:

    What would I want out of my MBP? Smaller bevel would be nice, but hardly major. Bigger trackpad? More USB ports, or at least two on the same side so that I can use the two prong USB cords that some external HDs need.

    Wouldn’t mind a better screen. The current one is nice, but something with higher DPI and richer colour would be a good upgrade.

  6. zuzu says:

    What would I want out of my MBP? Smaller bevel would be nice, but hardly major. Bigger trackpad? More USB ports, or at least two on the same side so that I can use the two prong USB cords that some external HDs need.

    Actually, the problem is that sometime after the Titanium PowerBooks Apple reduced the power output of the USB ports. AFAIK, only the MacBook Air has a high current USB port now. I concur, this would be another much needed improvement to the MacBook Pro line: USB ports with enough current to drive external slimline optical drives and hard disk drives.

  7. adamrice says:

    I don’t see where Apple would find the room to overhaul the design significantly. All laptops converge on the size and shape of the screen, and the MBA has converged pretty closely. Maybe it will converge a little more. Maybe the edges will be bevelled like on the MBA. The only way I see to significantly alter the design is by adding superfluities, which ain’t going to happen, or by changing the materials, which might.

  8. mistercharlie says:

    I’ll be ordering a MacBook Pro the day of the WWDC. My MacBook isn’t enough for me anymore (plus my girlfriend steals it constantly). If Steve gives us a new model, great. If not, I’ll be going for the current one.

    Maybe it won’t be so different. The PowerMac line also looks the same as it has for years and that doesn’t look like changing any time soon. And thanks for the link, John!

    Charlie Sorrel

  9. teamshadowboat says:

    I would like products that are inexpensive and do not burn my balls.

  10. lia says:

    I love my 2006 MBP a lot, I’d only really like it to be thinner and lighter, run cooler and have a better screen. If they go and change the keyboard to match the one on the Air, I will be PISSED—no Chiclet keys, please!

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