Shiny things for the easily distracted


— 1:31 PM on March 10, 2011

In the last two weeks, Apple has announced two major, according to them, revisions of major product lines that the majority of tech pundits have drooled over to the strains of Bowie's "Space Oddity." Kudos to the three of you who get that very mild joke.

First up, on February 24, was the long-awaited, somewhat-overdue updating of the Macbook Pro lineup. The MBPs became the first of Apple's products to sport Intel's Sandy Bridge line of i-whatever quad-core processors (unless you go cheap on the 13-incher and are left with dual cores). They're fast. Really fast. Various sources show Geekbench scores over 10,000. Which is 1,500 to 2,000 geeks higher than my Hackintosh. Sweet. They also include the new Thunderbolt (formerly Light Peak) interface that sounds pretty cool, but I'll reserve judgment until I'm forced to buy a bunch of adapters. Hopefully from Monoprice.com. New AMD Radeon graphics chips have up to one gig of VRAM. Oh, and the FaceTime camera now does 720p for those who like their Chatroulette surprises in sorta HD.

What the new MBPs don't have are:

  • A new case.
  • A more ginormous trackpad made of glass handblown at Silver Dollar City.
  • An SSD for OS files to speed booting and waking from sleep.
  • More lasers (have to begrudgingly count the one in the optical drive).
  • Retinal scanning
  • A toaster slot for Pop Tarts.

In other words, it's a failure. Call me when it has autololcatting.

The other big reveal, assuming you ignored every Mac-related site out there, was the iPad 2. Sporting a new, dual-core A5 chip and an even thinner case design, the latest iPad was deemed by all but the most hypnotized of Xoom lovers to be quite capable of doing the Electric Boogaloo. Blah, blah, FaceTime, front and rear cameras, blah, blah. But the best news is that it a white version will ship from day one. Which is tomorrow. Or not if you're reading this after March 10, 2011. For some reason the white iPad reminds me of "A Clockwork Orange," so I don't think I'd opt for it. Your droogian desires may differ.

Back when the iPad 1 came out in what seems like the early 90s, I said I wouldn't buy one because it duplicated too much functionality of my iPhone and Macbook Pro. I stand by this assertion even the face (perhaps a fisheyed version of my own if running Photo Booth) of tablet sexiness that is the new iPad. Which doesn't mean I don't want one. I still can't justify the cost in the wake of family members who insist on ingesting actual food over tweets. Layabouts.

In the end, the new Macbook Pros and iPad 2 are impressive. But they're stopgaps until real re-engineered models emerge over the coming year (hopefully). The MBP line is due for a decent overhaul, and people keep hoping an iPad will show up with a Retina display. I also can't wait to see how fast a Sandy Bridge Mac Pro will be. I'd like to devote at least six cores to autololcatting.

And don't pretend you don't want to, either.

Later,

Fox

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