Apple show hits the road
The MacBook Pro is just a laptop. But, like everything made by Apple, it has received the usual flurry of hype and excitement.
Like everything made by Apple, it will be copied and imitated. And, it will set the standard for a while; as the slimmer MacBook Air has with ultraportable laptop ranges.
This week there was another of the great Apple showmanship events called the Worldwide Developer Conference, where Apple tends to announce updates to both its OSX computer and iOS mobile operating systems. The updates on both featured much more significant integration of Facebook and ways to work with Apple's iMessage and iCloud storage and sharing system.
The biggest news for the operating system, called iOS6, is that Google Maps have been ditched in favour of Apple's own mapping software, which features 3D maps and turn-by-turn navigation. It's a shot across the bows of Google, who used to provide the excellent maps app on iPhones but are clearly the enemy in the Apple versus Android ecosystem war that has evolved in the last few years as the two firms fight for smartphone ascendency.
What is most interesting though is that the launch of Apple's new operating system, called OSX Mountain Lion, is scheduled for a similar timeframe as Microsoft's new Windows 8 in October.
The last time Microsoft had a big launch, Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs sneaked in an OSX update just before it and stole its thunder.
Samsung's timing of its own announcement of its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S3, came at an interesting point, just before the well-publicised Apple conference.
The line between mobile and desktop computer systems is blurring - Windows 8 will run on both laptops and tablets; while the mobile iOS functionality is moving over to OSX. It includes ways to share (including via the Apple TV) and a clever Power Nap app, which updates your e-mail, contacts and calendar.
The MacBook Pro is thinner, lighter and has a better camera - according to the Shapshak's First Law of Gadget Upgrades. While this was formulated for cellphone updates, it is as easily applicable to all Apple products as well as the new Galaxy S3.
The new MacBooks obviously have faster processors, better graphics and more storage; but the most pleasing thing is they now have USB3, which is the much faster data connection that is now standard across Windows computers.