New Apple hardware announced today; no more 17″ MacBooks?

An early Apple Mac on display at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, MontrealToday at the opening of this year’s Apple WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), Apple announced updates to its laptop line; the details are outlined in much greater detail here:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/11/wwdc-2012-keynote-roundup/

Some of my observations and questions:

  • I suppose I could see getting rid of the 17″ MacBook Pro if it didn’t sell very well, but it still looks a bit odd to not offer a laptop in this size.
  • Basically, there’ll be three laptop lines: the entry-level models (the MacBook Air), the mid-level models (MacBook Pro), and a high-end model (the new MacBook Pro model). Oddly, the mid-level models will keep their optical drives, while the other ranges won’t have any. Given the optical drive’s days (as standard included PC equipment) are probably numbered, that “ultrabooks” seem to be the new trend for laptop making across the board, and that Apple itself has shifted away from relying on optical drives for software (even its own operating system no longer comes distributed on a CD/DVD), I wonder why they didn’t just kill optical drives now. Apple’s never been shy about killing off still-widely-used tech in the past; see 1998 and the first-generation iMac (with no floppy drive). I suppose the mid-level MacBooks being the “workhorses” of the line might be some justification, but there’s always external CD/DVD drives.
  • The spec bumps in screen resolutions and the new “Retina” display on the deluxe MacBook Pro model should please the growing number of people online increasingly vocal about 1366×768 resolution laptop screens.
  • A slight price drop on the entry-level Air models should make those more appealing, especially for back-to-school purchases this fall.
  • While laptops are Apple’s main computer hardware money-maker, they seem to have ignored their desktop line. Nothing was announced about the iMac or Mac Mini, while the Mac Pro (despite being their top-end machine) got a very anemic spec bump.
  • iOS version 6 was also announced, with more features that sound useful, such as the “Do Not Disturb” feature to handle incoming messages/notifications while one’s busy.

While my next laptop will be a PC running Linux (as usual), do any of you have an interest in buying the new MacBooks?

Update (6/12/12): It looks like the Mac Pro will see some substantial update (or overhaul/replacement) after all, per comments by Apple CEO Tim Cook. However, this won’t come until late 2013, which is quite a ways off in technology (or not losing the high-end ground to PC makers)…

 

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