Apple announces king-size MacBook Pro, less DRM for iTunes

How many exciting new goodies did Apple have in store at its latest Macworld keynote? Not too many, apparently. Phil Schiller announced only one notable hardware product this morning: the 17″ MacBook Pro, a bigger and badder version of the 15.4″ model that came out in October.

The 17″ MacBook Pro has a 1920×1200 display with a 700:1 contrast ratio, and Apple offers a matte finish option for an extra $50. Aside from that, the $2,799 starting price gets you a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, GeForce 9400M integrated graphics, GeForce 9600M GT discrete graphics, and a battery Apple rates for up to eight hours of run time. As you’d expect, the machine has the same aluminum design as the other new MacBooks, too.

You can already pre-order the 17″ MacBook Pro from the online Apple Store, although Apple quotes a three- to four-week delay for shipping.

Earlier in the Macworld keynote, Schiller also made some noteworthy announcements related to iTunes. The online music store should now include DRM-free songs from all four major record labels (not to mention countless independent labels), and in April, Apple will switch to a flexible pricing scheme. Instead of the perennial 99 cents per track, songs will be available from 69 cents to $1.29. Oh, and iPhone 3G users can now purchase songs from the iTunes Store via their carrier’s 3G connection, as well.

Last, but not least, Schiller announced new versions of Apple’s iWork and iLife software suites. iWork ’09 users will also be able to share documents online using the new iWork.com beta. For complete coverage of the Macworld 2009 keynote, check out the liveblogs at both Engadget and Ars Technica.

Comments closed
    • blacksteel
    • 11 years ago

    The new 17″ Macbook Pro is essentially a large iPod Touch. want to remove the battery, to bad, you are SOL.

    It’s for professionals, well why does professionals need 2 graphics cards. Personally I’d rather have a removable battery, able to add another hard drive like a lot of other laptops out there and able to swap out the CD/DVD drive later to a Blue-Ray.

      • Skrying
      • 11 years ago

      Huh? The two graphics card units don’t operate at the same time, this is not the SLI you’re thinking of in gaming systems. You use the unit suited for your needs. For instance when on the go you can use the integrated part and save on battery life. Say you’re at home or a desk plugged in then you can use the more powerful part for whatever you might need it for.

      This is already in numerous consumer PCs and will quickly become commonplace in non-shit 15.4″ and up models.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      All you have to do is read a friggin product page. Two GPU’s aren’t really two GPU’s. One is the GeForce 9400 integrated graphics (nVidia speak: mGPU) built into the chipset that can be used for lower power consumption, and the other is the GeForce 9600M GT that’s used for higher-powered GPU processing like Core Image-intensive apps (Motion, Final Cut Studio, Aperture, whatever).

      This ain’t Windows – Mac apps have had a framework for more than THREE AND A HALF YEARS to allow the GPU to help accelerate work where it can.

    • srg86
    • 11 years ago

    I’ve ditched itunes more because it’s a resource hog than anything else. Appart from a few tracks unavailable, I’ve moved totally to Amazon’s mp3 store.

      • indeego
      • 11 years ago

      I think iTunes will change engines soon. The product is unwieldy when used with large music collections. Adding video/phone/ringtones into the mix hasn’t helped it muchg{<.<}g

        • Thresher
        • 11 years ago

        Tell me about it. I have around 12,000 songs in my library and the thing handles like a pig.

      • blacksteel
      • 11 years ago

      The DRM free thing is just a way for Apple to make more money. I have to use iTunes b/c before I knew about Amazon having DRM free songs I bought a huge library of iTunes songs.

      The other thing I totally hate about iTunes is upgrading it, it’s not simple, usually involves downloading the whole program instead of just upgrading it to the newest version. Yes it’s huge resource pig too, you would think Windows Media Player would be a resource hog, nope.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 11 years ago

        You could always just….stop using iTunes!? for new music at least. Then rip all your iTunes music and put it back as regular old mp3s. Done!

          • derFunkenstein
          • 11 years ago

          yeah, burning a lossy format to CD and re-ripping to another lossy format never makes the audio sound worse than the original. What a fantastic idea.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            No, it wouldn’t make it any worse than it already is. Ripping to a CD (or I’m guessing there’s a hard drive hack) from iTunes just archives the tracks DRM-free at the same bitrate then it can be copied off the CD/HD as-is. I suppose I shouldn’t have written ‘rip’ the first time but anyone familiar with iTunes, or even just vaguely so like me, knows what I’m talking about but apparently you don’t.

    • dustyjamessutton
    • 11 years ago

    I always am behind on finding things I guess. I’m not an aggressive enough shopper to find bargains. Though I did find that you can get pretty good used CD’s from Hastings online. I bought a used cd from them online and when it arrived, zero scratches. They probably polished it or something, but still, can’t beat a scratchless cd. As far as downloading music from iTunes and similar music services, I love the convenience and instant gratification, but I am sort of an Audiophile, and I love my music to sound as good as it can. I used to have a pair of Bose 901’s, but donated them to a church to reduce my clutter. Still have my Bose 5.1 accoustimass speakers though, pretty good for music and movies, still waiting on a new Denon receiver I ordered from crutchfield to arrive. I’m getting off track. On a good set of speakers, I can definitely tell the difference between downloaded music and a cd. Too bad Sony’s SACD or DVD-AUDIO never took off. I had a few DVD-AUDIO disks and they sounded totally excellent. I would gladly pay a buck or more a song if they provided it in a 24-bit, 192khz download. But that will NEVER happen.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 11 years ago

      I don’t think it’s really a big deal that higher sampling rates never took off. I really doubt most music is even recorded at anything close to 192 KHz. I can think of a lot of extremely high end AD converters off the top of my head (I am talking thousands of dollars per channel here) that are 96 KHz, max. The possibility exists of introducing radio interference beyond that.

      People would just compress it, anyways. I know I would, because there’s no way in hell I can tell in my car if a song is a proper VBR MP3 or the actual CD.

    • FireGryphon
    • 11 years ago

    So, how can they sell DRM-free music and hope that people won’t pirate it?

      • muyuubyou
      • 11 years ago

      People who want to pirate music don’t even bother looking at iTunes.

    • tesla120
    • 11 years ago

    eh ill get the 80 gig MacBook wheel…

    • dustyjamessutton
    • 11 years ago

    Craptastic! Now I shalt purchase DRM free music! Can anybody say, no more authentication? I hopeth anyway!

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      I’ve always gotten DRM-free music, it’s called CDs from Amazon (even supposedly copy-protected ones are rippable by Exact Audio copy.) Most of them are less than buying the equivalent at 0.99 per track anyway.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 11 years ago

        That always kills me. I used to buy CDs for $7-8 shipped from places on the internets.

        And it’s not stuck in their dumb, compressed format, either.

    • no51
    • 11 years ago

    Why oh why does this thing have no number pad?

      • DASQ
      • 11 years ago

      Because then you would lack design uniformity and cohesion.

      Plus it might be common sense, so that’s out the window obviously.

      • leor
      • 11 years ago

      they actually use the space to out fit them with pretty awesome speakers, for a laptop anyway.

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        Cool, now I can hear bass as low as 800 Hz instead of 1730, and I only have to give up a useful keyboard facility.

      • Voldenuit
      • 11 years ago

      Because Mac users don’t use numpads, numbnuts. :p

        • derFunkenstein
        • 11 years ago

        Sure they do. There’s a ton of playback controls built into Logic 8 that use the numpad. I think the same is true for Final Cut studio.

    • Decelerate
    • 11 years ago

    Argh!

    I was waiting for the imac and mini refreshes… now what to do… 🙁

    The current lineup is now obviously too expensive (6+ months on the imacs, over a year for the mini?) and I was supposed to provide a user-friendly machine for computer-challenged relatives with minimal maintenance needs (anti-virus, firewall and whatnot…)…

    Dammit 🙁

      • bozzunter
      • 11 years ago

      Same for me. I was eventually hoping to buy a few more Macs (Mac Minis) for my office without spending a million but nothing, still the same Mac Minis which are basically a joke of a computer. Not to mention that the only system which lets you use more than 4 GB, apart from the new 17” MacBookPro which nobody will buy, is the Mac Pro. 3000$ to use more than 4 GB, that’s a great deal.

      • glynor
      • 11 years ago

      Patience, grasshopper. They’ll come (and the Mac Mini). Apple wants to do it on their terms and not be forced to have these big yearly releases always timed to the (non-ideal business-wise) early-January deadline.

      I suspect the huge MobileMe fiasco (which was announced and released before it was ready) taught them a lesson… No launching products that aren’t ready based on an arbitrary timeline. That means, you can’t keep these arbitrary “need to have something for the MacWorld keynote” deadlines up forever. They want to have the control over the “when”, and this is their move.

      Makes sense…. Must have been terrible to work for Apple and never get a Christmas vacation because of stupid MacWorld in January. I’ve heard that the engineer grumbling was loud and constant.

        • Decelerate
        • 11 years ago

        I can see your point, but a mini refresh is not as close as coding snow leopard, and it’s over a year old (2?). At least lower the now-ridiculous price.

        Imo the fact that it was the last Apple Macworld presentation is enough of a statement of the change in direction.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 11 years ago

          I can see the need for a price cut for the current model.

          If you want a cheaper mini, you can alwasy check the Apple Refurb page. They look like new and are packaged with everything a “new” Mac comes with – including the same 1-year factory warranty and eligibility for the same 3-year extended warranty.

          However, right this moment there aren’t any Minis on the refurb page. 🙁

    • glynor
    • 11 years ago

    The announcement was that ALL iTunes tracks were going DRM free, not just a subset and not just the $1.29 tracks. The deal announced is:

    1. 8 million tracks DRM free today.
    2. Remaining 2 million tracks going DRM free over this quarter.
    3. Conversion complete by March and iTunes store will be 100% DRM free for music (presumably, video wasn’t mentioned).
    4. Existing customers will be able to convert their existing library to DRM free “easily”. No word on if there will be a fee (though the rumor is no).
    5. Tiered pricing was the sacrifice Apple had to make to accomplish this (though they were able to limit it to 3 fixed tiers rather than the sliding scale the labels wanted). Tier has nothing to do with quality or DRM status.
    6. All tracks will be sold in the higher quality 256k AAC format (once they are DRM free).

      • glynor
      • 11 years ago

      They’ve updated their page. Upgrades to existing tracks WILL be $0.30 just like before. Apple claims that is to cover their cost for you to re-download the file (iffy on the truth here) but whatever… You get what you pay for. That’s why I never would have purchased DRM-infested tracks in the first place!

      Interestingly, Apple.com also mentions: “Music video upgrades are 60¢ and entire albums can be upgraded for 30 percent of the album price.”

      Music Videos? Perhaps video IS also going DRM free in some way or another.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 11 years ago

        r[

    • leor
    • 11 years ago

    this is still not that much better than my 2.4ghz with 4gb and an 8600GT.

    better battery though, but i hear it’s not removable. I’m gonna chill with my mine will they release a quad core with blu-ray.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 years ago

    Existing iTunes users get the “privelege” of spending an additional 0.30 per song to get DRM-free versions of their entire purchase history.

    Which is kinda nice for me, since I lost some of those tracks and never could figure out how to re-download them.

    iLife salvaged this keynote from being awful. Forget the giant Macbook Pro – hardly anybody buys those, right? 8 hours of battery life is sweet, hopefully they find a way to get that through their entire line.

      • Vandyl
      • 11 years ago

      Personally, I’m tired of itunes telling me that I don’t have the proper DRM for songs THAT I BOUGHT FROM THEM!!

      I hate Apple and wish I’d never gotten suckered into buying an ipod. Worst…investment…ever.

    • Inkling
    • 11 years ago

    This post causes Britney Spears to appear on our front page. Doesn’t anyone else have a problem with that?

      • eitje
      • 11 years ago

      LUDA!

    • SpotTheCat
    • 11 years ago

    Wow… that’s retardedly expensive for what it is. Maybe if it had a bluray player it would be “worth” that much money.

    Maybe I just don’t get the appeal of 17″ lapcrushers.

    • toyota
    • 11 years ago

    /[

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Where’s the refreshed Mac Mini? Goddamnit Apple is being so retarded.

      • eitje
      • 11 years ago

      SSID IS ON F’ING POINT!!! >:(

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        thanks for the back, e. This is seriously Eff’d.

          • eitje
          • 11 years ago

          you got it, g.
          it just makes me mad as H.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 11 years ago

            IDK, my BFF Jill?

    • 2cans
    • 11 years ago

    seams a little pricey??? for those specs

    • Skrying
    • 11 years ago

    Yet jacks their prices up and knifes users in the back on going DRM free. $1.29 for a single song? I thought the attraction to theser services was price. How is Amazon able to maintain their system, DRM free all along, and Apple can’t pull this for their users?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      Clearly the privilege of buying from Apple makes the file more valuable.

      • ltcommander.data
      • 11 years ago

      The reason Amazon is able to maintain their system DRM-free all along is not because Amazon is good or Apple is bad but because the Record Labels were deliberately trying to screw up iTunes.

      Apple and iTunes was probably the first major online music store to offer DRM-free music. Steve Jobs had an open letter in February 2007 specifically asking the Record Labels to allow DRM-free music to be sold on iTunes. EMI allow their songs to be sold DRM-free on iTunes in April 2007. Both these moves were made before the Amazon MP3 Store even opened in September 2007.

      The point is that up to now the other Record Labels have refused Steve Jobs’ request to allow more iTunes songs to be DRM-free and have only allowed Amazon and other music stores to be DRM-free. The Record Labels wanted to try to reduce/control iTunes market share by giving other online stores an advantage. Clearly this plan didn’t work since iTunes market share is still dominant. In the end the Record Labels used DRM-free music as a bargaining chip to get Apple to offer tiered pricing.

      It may look like a conspiracy, probably because that is what it really is. Apple couldn’t offer more DRM-free music up to now, even though they’ve said publicly they wanted to, because the Record Labels wouldn’t agree. Apple now offers tiered pricing, even though they’ve publicly said they were against the idea up to now, because the Record Labels wanted tiered pricing.

      • TheShadowself
      • 11 years ago

      All the songs are DRM free — even the 69 cent songs.

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