Last year at the iPad introduction Steve Jobs announced that Apple is a mobile device company. Just last week Steve returned to introduce the iPad 2 and point out that the majority of Apple's revenue now comes from products that run iOS. The breakdown is as follows:

AAPL Revenue Sources—Q1 2011
iPad iPhone iPod Mac iTunes Store Software/Services Peripherals
Percentage 17.2% 39.1% 12.8% 20.3% 5.4% 2.9% 2.2%

Just looking at iPad and iPhone, that's 56% of Apple's sales. All Macs put together? Only 20%. Granted 20% of $26.7 billion in sales is still $5.3 billion, but the iOS crew gets most of the attention these days.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that when Apple launched its 2011 MacBook Pro lineup last week that it did so with little fanfare. There was no special press event and no video of an unusually charismatic man on a white background describing the latest features of the systems. All we got two weeks ago were a few pages describing the high level features of the lineup, a short outage on the Mac Store and five new configurations available for sale.

Apple tends to not mix architecture updates and chassis changes. The 2011 MacBook Pro lineup is no different. These models fundamentally implement the same updated unibody shell that was introduced in 2009. The term unibody comes from the fact that the base of the chassis is machined out of a single block of aluminum. There's no way to gain access to the MacBook Pro's internals from above, you have to go in from below. As a result there's absolutely no chassis flex or squeaking while you pound on the keyboard, use the trackpad or just interact with the part of the machine that you're most likely to be touching. Apple has been shipping unibody MacBook Pros since 2008 and from my experience the design has held up pretty well.

From top to bottom: 13-inch MBP (2011), 15-inch MBP (2011), 15-inch MBP (2010)

The biggest letdown in the design has been the hinge connecting the display to the rest of the chassis. I haven't had it fail completely but I've had it become frustratingly loose. Even brand new, out of the box, the 15-inch MacBook Pro will have its display move by a not insignificant amount if you tilt the machine 90 degrees so that the display is parallel to the ground. A number of readers have written me over the years asking if Apple has improved the locking ability of the hinge in each new version of the MacBook Pro. It doesn't seem to be any better with the 2011 model—sorry guys.

Other than screen size, ports and internals, there's nothing that separates the 13-, 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros from one another. They all feature the same excellent backlit keyboard (keyboard size is constant across all models) and a variant of the same high quality display. All of them have the same front facing 720p camera and the same large glass-covered trackpad.

Battery capacity hasn't changed compared to last year, although power consumption on some models has gone up (more on this later).

2011 MacBook Pro Lineup
13-inch (low end) 13-inch (high end) 15-inch (low end) 15-inch (high end) 17-inch
0.95 H x 12.78 W x 8.94 D
0.95 H x 14.35 W x 9.82 D
0.98 H x 15.47 W x 10.51 D
4.5 lbs (2.04 kg)
5.6 lbs (2.54 kg)
6.6 lbs (2.99 kg)
2.3 GHz dual-core Core i5
2.7 GHz dual-core Core i7
2.0 GHz quad-core Core i7
2.2 GHz quad-core Core i7
2.2 GHz quad-core Core i7
Intel HD 3000 Graphics
Intel HD 3000 + AMD Radeon HD 6490M (256MB)
Intel HD 3000 + AMD Radeon HD 6750M (1GB)
Intel HD 3000 + AMD Radeon HD 6750M (1GB)
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 (8GB max)
320GB 5400 RPM
500GB 5400 RPM
500GB 5400 RPM
750GB 5400 RPM
750GB 5400 RPM
Display Resolution
1440x900 (1680x1050 optional)
Gigabit LAN, Firewire 800, Thunderbolt, 2x USB 2.0, SDHC slot, combined audio in/out jack
Gigabit LAN, Firewire 800, Thunderbolt, 2x USB 2.0, SDHC slot, separate audio in/out jacks
Gigabit LAN, Firewire 800, Thunderbolt, 3x USB 2.0, separate audio in/out jacks, ExpressCard 34 slot
Battery Capacity
Price $1,199 $1,499 $1,799 $2,199 $2,499

The new MacBook Pros are still equipped with DVD drives and thus Apple still distributes OS X and the application preload on a pair of DVDs. I was hoping Apple would go to an all-USB distribution starting with the MBA but it looks like we'll have to wait for another generation of Pro systems before we see that.

Turbo and the 15-inch MacBook Pro
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  • zhill - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    Hmm... so I mostly disagree, but the fact that there is some confusion is problematic as well.

    I assumed (the need to assume is the problematic part) that the main battery life tests (Web loads, etc) were run with OSX doing whatever it wants. The point of the gfxCardStatus tests was to specifically point out the difference in power consumption with each card being used. The only way to expose that behavior explicitly is to manually enable/disable the dGPU.

    So, I think the methodology makes sense, but I agree that Anand should make it clear in the general battery-life section that OSX is managing the GPU in stock form with no gfxCardStatus inferference.
  • 7Enigma - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    I ran the numbers. The values (in minutes) that were reported in the 1st and 3rd charts of page 15 which correspond to the light and Flash-based web surfing are dead on the bottom of page 9 numbers where the discrete GPU has been TURNED OFF.

    It is so bad that after running the numbers if you were to use the data from page 9 the 15" MacBook Pro would be so far in last place on the Flash-based chart (at 177minutes) that the next highest is over an hour and a half LONGER.
  • zhill - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    I believe he's using Safari in the web and flash web tests, and mentions:
    "Another contributing factor is the new 32nm iGPU which is active full-time under Safari. " When discussing the Flash problem (on pg 9) he specifically mentions Chrome + Flash activating the dGPU.

    So, the question is: what is the dGPU behavior for other browsers? Do Firefox and Safari only use the iGPU or is the dGPU activation only in Chrome? It needs to be addressed in the article more fully for no other reason than clarity and so users will know that choice of browser may impact battery life very significantly.
  • 7Enigma - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    That is a good point (missed the Chrome/Safari switch), but it is also puzzling that the numbers from both charts match up perfectly. I would have expected a bit of difference between Chrome and Safari even if the dGPU issue is taken away just due to coding differences, but if you divide the minutes by 60 from the earlier page you'll get the EXACT same number of hours posted in the later battery numbers. The only way to describe this without it being the same number would be if they are comparing numbers from 2 different browsers in the same chart without labeling as such which I find very hard to believe.
  • 7Enigma - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Seriously not a single reply from one of the authors?
  • IlllI - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    theres hardly much difference between the 13in model and the 17in. so basically you are paying $1000 more for 4 inches.
  • alent1234 - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    i5 to i7, discrete GPU, more hard drive space

    almost same price difference if you went with dell/hp
  • khimera2000 - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    Just so you know looking at the recommended configuration of hp envy cost 1932, a maxed out 3D vision dell xps 17 cost about 2480 but has a sell that brings it down to 2244 (dual HDD no SDD) where as the base configuration of the mac cost 2500. so..,. no even if you throw in the discreet, I7 increased harddrive space your still over the mark when you compare to windows notebooks.

    How did i find these numbers? opened up the web sight for each respective company and looked at what they had as of 5:00 PM 3/11/2011 applicable to US customers (after all they where the US versions of the sight) except for dell no others where offering an automatic discounts.
  • jed22281 - Friday, March 11, 2011 - link

    Should've done the 13" and then jumped up to the 17".
    Is there some reason you're not interested in the 17" versus the 15"?

  • jed22281 - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Anand, Brian, or Vivek?


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