Apple Thunderbolt

Seems like almost one year ago I was writing about the merits of Intel’s Light Peak technology, a promised fiber-optic based interconnect that enable fast connectivity to a variety of bus interconnects.
Thunderbolt Logo
Finally, Light Peak is here, however it has been rebranded as Apple’s Thunderbolt technology and the current infrastructure in the launch is still…copper. :(, yeah big frownie face. Essentially what they’ve done is rebrand their Mini-Displayport interface port as a an all-in-one Thunderbolt interface. Good news is this means that existing cables and accessories that use this port can continue to be used, and in theory more bits can be pushed down that port. The bad news is…well…there aren’t any devices yet to take advantage of this port and its boost in speeds.

I’m also thinking that this could be a big boon to new, incredibly fast serialized devices that push standards forward. Apple helped pioneer the FireWire port back in the late 90’s– I’m hoping they can do something about how long it takes me to dump 250 gigs of data to my external hard drive.

And yes…I’m a wee bit jealous about those new fast 17″ MacBook Pro’s.

One area that I didn’t touch on in my last post was the increased bandwidth available for audio applications such as Pro Tools or Logic. Most of this stuff comes in FireWire now, and while I haven’t really seen anyone complain about a bandwidth crunch on the bus while doing recording, I’m sure having more lanes to cram more bits down can’t really hurt.

main_image_1993Finally, Intel also reports that Apple has a one-year head start on using the technology. I’m assuming that means that Apple will have one year of exclusivity before the technology starts being available for use in other competing devices. I’m not sure what that gets Apple considering there aren’t any peripherals currently that can really take advantage of this. If I were to hazard a guess, you’ll start seeing manufacturers support the port during CES 2012.

MacBook Pro: One Week Later

I’ve now had my MBP for one week of semi-active use. My primary machine at work has been a 4-year old Dell 17″ Insipron loaded with Windows7 x 64. Over the past week I’ve found a lot to love about my new Mac, notwithstanding the abiliity to actually run the iPhone Simulator in a resolution that actually fits it on the screen. I’ve loaded Parallels 5 and it’s really taken care of the necessary evil of running PC apps on my Mac. It’s seamless, reasonably fast (once the VM is running in my session) and it totally took the Win7 install perfectly.

I’ve also loaded some of the Pro Apps, lamely Logic. I’d like to spend a bit more time with it but I just haven’t had the time. I’ve cheked out some of the tutorials over at, but I haven’t purchased anything yet. Some big changes are coming in my career that should allow me the time to do some of those things. For now I’m settling for ramping back up in the iPhone SDK (OS4 baby!) and following along with the StanfordU classes. Now that I’ve got a legit machine hopefully I’ll be submitting something to the App Store soon.

Bought a new 17″ MacBook Pro!

I took the plunge after Apple finally updated their (300 day old!) MacBook Pro line. I’m excited on many levels: this is the first laptop I’ve ever bought for myself first off. I’ve always had access to desktops that I built myself or with my dad as a kid. My most recent machine is the 4-core i7 from last year with HT, 8 processors showing up in Win7. Its been my beast but I haven’t had a whole lot to use it for. I packed it with an insane (at the time) amount of RAM, and a high-end video card to play games with. To my astonishment I ended up playing games from yester-year via Steam; Unreal Tournament, Descent 3 or games that didn’t require a whole lot of graphics complexity. Soon after my attention began to shift.

In March I picked up a Dell Mini 9 on a one-day sale for super-cheap. I’d become interested in iPhone AppDev and needed a machine at home to do it on. The Mini9 became the perfect Hackintosh for me to learn, love and eventually decide I wanted to try this for real. Everything was good until the pre-release SDK of the iPad which ran in a simulator that was larger than my entire display. So, I began waiting for Apple to refresh their line. In early January I made some predictions about what chips would actually be used. Let’s take a look shall we?

Most of the geeks I know and around the web seem to think that the Arrandale chips are destined to be in the next MBP’s. Based on what I’ve seen so far of package sizing, I’m projecting the following:
17? MacBook Pro Core i7-620M (2.66 Ghz -> 3.33 Ghz Burst) @ 35 watts in the rPGA pack
15? MacBook Pro Core i5-520M/540M (2.4/2.53 Ghz -> 2.93/3.06 Ghz Burst) @ 35 watts in the rPGA pack
13? MacBook Pro Core i3-350M (2.26 Ghz No Burst) @ 35 watts in the rPGA pack

I was definitely right about the 17″ and 15″s and power consumption requirements. The 13″ sadly did not see an upgrade, but I’m surmising that’s due to the high power consumption with the i3 chips and maybe even no real reason to go further. I also have this hunch that we’ll see the end of the 13″ MBP; it should have remained just a standard MacBook.

So back to my config:

2.66GHz Intel Core i7
500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400
SuperDrive 8X DL
MBP 17″ HR Glossy WS Display

I figure once I get Logic Pro installed I’ll be using an eSATA card on the EC slot and dumping my media there. I’m really excited; I can’t wait to see this thing on Wednesday!