The New Hotness

By John Conway | January 6, 2009 2:25 pm


I want one, I want one! A new, totally tricked-out 17″ MacBook Pro with solid state drive:

2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM – 2X4GB
256GB Solid State Drive
SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Antiglare Widescreen Display
Backlit Keyboard (English) / User’s Guide
Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
iWork ’09 preinstalled
Aperture preinstalled
AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Pro (w/or w/o Display) – Auto-enroll

All for just $5,875.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Computing, Gadgets
  • Meng Bomin

    Well, it’s your money. Personally, if I had $5,875 of loose change lying around, I would look elsewhere, since such a computer wouldn’t give me much satisfaction over a $1,000 laptop and such laptops would cost about 8/47 the price. Plus, tablet-laptops are much cooler.

  • exa

    And no backspace key, no way to connect to a HDMI large screen, no way to change to all the fonts to very large for vision impaired people (apart from changing the resolution to something very low or individually setting all the application fonts) and I’m sure there will be a few other things it doesn’t have that most other laptops or OS’s have as standard :)

  • bigjohn756

    “…just $5,875”

    Meng, I agree. This is why I don’t even consider an Apple when I purchase a computer. I simply cannot afford it. I can get a laptop suitable for my needs for $5,000.00 or so less than this one.

  • Dr William Dyer

    Ah, I’ll pass too.
    Or if I end up being given one, I’d resell, buy something else, and pocket the difference. Most likely a Thinkpad Tablet would be my switch to computer.

  • John

    Tina, I guess I meant my post at least in part as satire, but perhaps that was lost on the unwashed masses…sigh. And there is more to life than physics (really!) Read the right hand column for the scope of our blog.

    On the other hand, it is amusing to see what the absolute extreme state of the art in laptop hardware looks like and costs. In a few years we’ll be using SSDs routinely but for the moment the improved performance costs a bundle.

    exa: you need to check out Mac OS X accessibility options – they are pretty good. For example you can zoom in the desk top to some desired level, without loss of resolution, if you are visually impaired, and with a single keystroke zoom in further or back out.

  • Pat Durrell

    Not that I have the kind of money for that computer, but I needed to add that I think that computer is cool! I have a rather old 17″ Powerbook, and I would not trade it for a $1000 laptop on any day…
    And having had a number of hard drives fail, the idea of a SSD sounds great to me. Expensive (now), but nice.

  • Sili

    I’m a stubborn git, so I’d prolly rather go offline and get some of my 200+ unread books read. My macfag friends are simply too insufferable about their computers. It’s a tool, dammit. No more, no less. (Of course, I may occasionally be equally proselytising when it comes to Opera, but that just means I’m a hypocrite).

    Yes, I guess there’s some added value to leatherbinding and a fraktur print and the whole smell of mustiness, but in the end the point of a book are the words in it.

  • Sili


    But of course, I guess we should be grateful for the gadgetophiles. If there wasn’t anyone to buy the SSDs now, there’d be less money for develpment and scaling, so we mere mortals would have to wait longer for the price to drop.

    I’d assume. I’m no economist.

  • rob

    And when the battery’s dead, you have a perfect excuse to stop working, since it isn’t user-replaceable.

    Also, most of that cost is in the ridiculous 256GB SSD. If they weren’t Apple, they’d use a 32GB SSD, allow people to keep larger files on a portable external, and sell the thing for $1500. But they are Apple, so they don’t.

  • archdave

    There is some buzz on the intarwebs that these high ssd speeds go away once the ssd has been filled once, because that is when the ssd must start deciding what may now be overwritten.

  • John

    Actually, rob, the base price is $2799. The extra 4 Gb memory costs a lot – $1200. The SSD adds “only” $900 but it’s much, much faster (30x perhaps!) than a spinning hard drive and much less prone to failures. For some professionals that can translate directly into productivity, which can make it worth it. The rest of the cost is in the faster processor, the service contract, and a couple software goodies I added on.

    I looked at the highest-end Lenovo and Sony laptops, and I don’t see anything there that is quite as impressive as this solid-aluminum-chassis MacBook Pro. It’s not for nothing that Apple has garnered 10% of the market. (In my field, it’s closer to half, but largely because OS X is Unix I think.)

    And no, I don’t have the six grand to throw at this one just yet. Or, more precisely, there are other more pressing needs for those funds.

  • Low Math, Meekly Interacting

    I’m a MacBook owner, so this is obviously way above my pay-scale as well.

    The thing that really worries me is the integrated battery. I would never consider paying for Applecare except for my iPod, because the crap battery my first one had essentially bricked it, and rather than shell out the huge amount of dough to replace it, I bought a new one…with the extended warrantee, of course. My last laptop was an iBook, and that also had absolute crap for a battery. The thing started off great, but degraded rapidly. After the first year, I was down to about 45 min a charge. So I got a new one. After 18 months, I was down to 30 min. a charge. Which, while seriously annoying, wasn’t a disaster in a pinch, because I could just swap out a spare.

    No reality distortion field known to humankind can blind even the most fervent Apple partisan from the expanse that sometimes exists between what Apple quotes for the battery life of its products, and what they deliver in The Real World. Which is not to say that Apple is even a conspicuous violator in this regard, but when you take away the ability to simply swap the battery if it goes bad or you can’t charge it conveniently, that ought to give anyone pause. 8 hours? No way would I trust that figure for a second unless professional notebook abusers put this thing through its paces for a year and report back.

    Which would all be moot, because there’s no way I’m ever buying a 17″ MacBook Pro. Except…what if this spreads across the whole line? I’d never even consider the Air, but what if user-swappable batteries go away for the MacBook and 15″ Pro? That’d hurt, bad. Might even be a total deal-breaker. Here’s hoping it never happens.

  • John

    Laptop batteries are a consumable, like it or not. If you are going to use your battery a lot you’ll buy one per year or so. I don’t buy the 8 hour figure either, under normal use. Sure, if you are doing almost no CPU-intensive work and have the screen on the lowest brightness (which can be okay on a plane) then the battery will last quite a while.

    They have traded the ease of changing batteries for weight reduction and structural integrity… This is certainly not a show stopper for me, but overall I think for a portable you want to be able to change the battery if you need to. I am not sure how they made that decision.

    I am sure glad they added the anti-glare option for the display though!

  • djangone

    Shiny toy! Not that any laptop couldn’t do this, but the best thing my MacBook Pro does for me is simple. It lets me play Sean Carroll’s ‘Dark Matter / Dark Energy’ lectures whenever and wherever I feel like being humbled.

  • James

    Will someone explain to me why someone would want to buy an apple compluter these days?

    This seems to clearly be an examle of (badly judged) style over content?

    Get a cheap lappy and put Ubuntu on it! (Then buy a kid’s paint set and make it look nice…)

  • Low Math, Meekly Interacting

    Even if these new Li-polymer batteries last through two years of heavy use, it’s a tough pill to swallow that you have to crack the case to get a new one in there. We all could probably do it, should the part be available, but if you even think about it vividly it voids whatever warranty you have, and those now might be a must, depending on what a replacement would set you back for. “Extended warranties! how can I lose???” is no longer a funny joke if you’re the proud owner of one of these puppies.

  • Low Math, Meekly Interacting

    The thing is gorgeous, though…really…gorgeous…what was that I was saying about reality distortion fields?

  • Eugene

    The solid state drive is really nice.

  • Brett

    Guys, he’s obviously pointing out the TOP high-end configuration.

    I bet not a single one of you really needs that much. I do but then again i’m not the average mainstream, tsk tsk tsk.

    Just get a standard configuration if you can’t afford the total top end config for 5k+ – That will be more than enough for you to browse websites, porn and sorting your photos.

  • Brett

    The 8GB Ram and the SSD drive alone are 2k+!

    Just get a standard config MacBook or Pro version.

  • Low Math, Meekly Interacting

    Huh. A very new blurb on AppleInsider says extended charges and durability aren’t due to some new generation of Li-polymer tech, but rather charging tech and just sheer size, made available by ditching latches, lids, etc. required for removability. They’re apparently getting 3x the lifespan of a typical battery by smarter recharging of the component cells, and 8h charges because it’s just plain big.

    I’d guestimate 6 hr. real-world discharge with lightweight tasks, and knock that down to 4 hr. for heavier-duty stuff, especially running a guest OS (Fusion+WinXP=2.5 hr. tops for my “5 hr.” MacBook battery, and I’m not playing games, but running relatively svelte dedicated apps I need to extract data generated by instruments for which no Mac-native software exists to handle the output). Well, if that really can go on for 3x as long as expected, maybe that’d be tolerable. For a long flight, though, no spare is still an issue. I predict the market for external solutions to that problem could be brisk.

  • Tobi

    Check out this new Apple laptop: The MacBook Wheel

    I really love this satire video, summarizes my picture of typical Apple users pretty well 😉

  • Tobi

    Oh, and one more: The Mactini

  • greg

    Frankly, the only really worthwhile thing that came out of Macworld was DRM free music on iTunes.

  • joulesm

    So people complain about the cost, but you can’t argue that it’s pretty :) Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, but prettiness definitely matters sometimes, even if I would never be able to justify this purchase. so my response to this post is *droooooool*

  • Neil B

    Heh, the “new frugality” means you aren’t supposed to want that thing …

  • T

    I love the “does the same thing for cheaper” argument for the PC. It’s the same argument people with volkswagens probably mutter in front of ferraris.

  • Phil

    That is not even close to analogous.

  • Brian Mingus

    That is pure hotness. But me, I’m holding out a few years for an 8 core / 64 GB Ram / 1 TB SSD Macbook Pro in the sub $3,000 price range.

    Sooner than you think.

  • T


    So you must be a PC user or a volkswagen driver :)

  • Phil

    Eh I think it’s more likely that you are simply a Macwhore. I had a macbook in college(still have it actually). PCs really can do everything macs do(and more!) at a much lower premium. The performance of a volkswagen does not even approach that of a ferrari, however. I do not really fault people for buying macs, they generally are very slick, aesthetically appealing machines. The mentality that the extra money you are paying is somehow going to pay yield dividends in terms of performance is just demonstrably false, however.

  • NDomino

    SSD’s time will come but until prices come down to be competitive with HDD they will only be for tech enthusiasts.

  • wds

    I think most people buy macs for the fit and finish really. I am happier with other laptops – I load some flavour of linux on them anyway – but the craptastic way most laptops are put together has always bothered me. You pick it up and it just feels like it’s going to fall apart (and frequently does). That’s one thing Apple really does do right, but then they go and ruin it by patting themselves on the back about it all the time.

  • T

    Oh Phil. Phil Phil Phil. I sure love you guys. You had better hope your little Volkswagen doesn’t run Vista. The blue screen of death may mean so much more to you.

  • Moody834

    Showed my MacBook to our office’s geek-in-residence. She’d not looked at a Mac since Apple was promoting OS 8. She looked at OS X, looked at the computer’s specs, heard about the full Unix compliance, and deemed it very good indeed. Why? Because it’s a good tool, and it’s pretty, and it plays well with others.

    Now, I don’t even need to dream about the new breed of laptops coming out of Apple. However, I am fairly sure that it’s a good indicator of where everyone will be headed in the next couple of years. Is it overpriced? In this economy most things are overpriced, or seem to be. Don’t get the TotL package. You’ll still be getting a hella nice computer. Then, when you get bored or feel experimental, you can install the excellent Ubuntu OS on it, and when you need to or have to you can install Windows on it. Me, I use OS X and don’t worry about all that stuff. The MacBook runs a lot of nice software for science geeks, and it runs it very well. That’s all I need to know. I don’t need my computer to be a gaming platform, really, and I have another computer for Ubuntu: one of the old candy colored Macs.

    As far as I can tell, there is no real OS war going on, whatever else the Windows people are saying on AOL and MySpace. ;-p

  • ropata

    what, no Blu-Ray?

  • Andrew

    Get the Intel X25 SSD, not the one that Apple ships.


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