the Internets lit up today with picture leaks showing the specs of the new 13″ MBP. it features Intel’s newest Sandy Bridge processors and a snappy new graphics card. ditching the 320m means the Final Cut Suite comes in full to the 13″, if you like tiny tiny workspaces for video editing.
UPDATE: actually, after really going over the specs, the new Intel HD 3000 still uses shared memory, so i’m guessing the MBP is still crippled (i.e., little Motion, no Color). so… i guess nevermind on that one. sorry (post title/permalink updated as well).
UPDATE 2: according to this article (via daring fireball), Thunderbolt uses PCI Express, which iOS devices do not currently use, so I’m probably wrong on that as well (read on below if you want to see my nutcase prediction/hope anyway). we’ll see if there’s anything interesting atop the iPad 2 in less than a week!
but perhaps the most interesting addition is that of Thunderbolt, Apple’s company lingo for Intel’s Light Peak technology (daring fireball links one and two). more interesting is the fact that it seems to be interchangeable with the newer mini-display ports on the latest gen MacBook Pros and iMacs. if you’re like me, you’d never heard of Light Peak, much less Thunderbolt, until the last week or so (or today, if you’re EXACTLY like me, God help you). Intel has been working on it for a few years, apparently.
as soon as i saw the leaked pictures of the Thunderbolt port, i made an immediate connection â€” one i haven’t seen anyone else guess at. some leaked pictures of possible iPad 2 cases show a hole at the top that doesn’t line up with anything on the current iPad form-factor (rumors such as this). some have speculated this could be for a mini-display port. seeing pics of the mini-display-shaped Thunderbolt port leads me to think Thunderbolt might make more sense on the new iPad than a mini-display port alone.
so this is my total speculation but my guess is iPad 2 (to be announced/demoed March 2) may have Thunderbolt.
but the question then is… why? Thunderbolt is supposed to replace virtually every connection interface (USB, FireWire, SATA, SD), so it opens it up to a world of peripherals. still, Apple has never been excited about adding an SD slot or USB port to the iPad, and i have never needed either one as a daily iPad user.
however, waiting on Thunderbolt may be a more credible reason than Apple’s just assuming no one will use a USB/FireWire/SD slot, etc. that is to say, why put SD and/or USB and/or HDMi on a device that Apple already knows is going to eliminate those techs in its second phase? plus with one port, think about how many dongles are dead once the tech world begins migrating to Light Peak. anything could connect to it. iPad 2 would be the most promiscuous little tablet on the market.
but even that quality still feels a little weak to me. as i said, i’ve never desired to connect anything to my iPad, and no one has been crying out for Light Peak on their mobiles. plus, the whole point of iPad is its portability, not its power and versatility. if i need to carry around a bunch of peripherals with my iPad, then it’s not any different from a laptop at that point, which is far more versatile than my iPad.
that’s why my guess, given the supposed location of the port at the top the iPad, is that Apple is positioning Thunderbolt as a replacement for the classic 30-pin connector, which is maybe the only iPod family feature that has remained virtually unchanged since its introduction. having both the 30-pin and Thunderbolt allows for a transitional period for iPad owners, since Macs featuring Thunderbolt don’t even hit the market until tomorrow.
but they do hit the shelves tomorrow, and expect to soon see refreshes to iMac and the rest of the MacBook Pro line… heck, just put every Apple device on that list except maybe Apple TV (it is just a hobby after all). and because of the popularity of the iPad, expect to see a flood of Light Peak devices and peripherals hitting the common market very soon. my guess is that this is the special tech Apple has invested in of which Tim Cook spoke during the latest earnings report conference call.
i don’t speculate much, and only write about it when my guesses are fairly nutty (i.e. no one else that i saw is saying anything similar), but thought i’d throw in my 1.4 cents on this one (after Apple’s 30% cut). we’ll find out March 2.
oh, by the way, is anyone in the market for a slightly used iPad 1…?