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Apple's new MacBook Pro falls short



Apple hosted it's annual love-in with the developer community last week in San Francisco, the WorldWide Developer Conference has become for Apple the biggest press event of the year. It's one where new products are often announced, usually during the highlight, the keynote presentation which kicks things off.

In the past, these keynotes were hosted by the now departed Steve Jobs, and they showcased Steve at his absolute best - in front of a group of smart, committed fans - showing them Apples, and by extension, their own future.

Tim Cook now has the helm of the good ship Apple, and he has them firmly following Steve's last course.

This year, the keynote showcased some MacBook Air upgrades, talked about the next version of Apple's OSX desktop software and gave a long-term peek at iOS6, for the mobility club.

The star of the show, however, was the new MacBook Pro Retina, the first Apple computer to boast the stunning new retina display (higher resolution than the best HDTV on the market)

While the new MacBook Pro (15-inch) is a beauty to behold, I think it is case of one step forward and maybe even two back for Apple.

I am not saying that this new Mac is not a beauty. It is. A spectacular display sets off a light (four pounds) cutting-edge notebook with power to spare, long battery life and no moving parts (SSD instead of optical drives).

What concerns me about this new MacBook Pro is, firstly, the design allows for no user upgrades. Everything is proprietary and either glued or soldered in.

No memory upgrades are possible, you can't change out the SSD Drive. If the battery goes kaput, go to Apple, and they will fix it.

While this is fine for iPads and other "consumer" level products, and even is mostly OK for the MacBook Air, this is not an Air, it is a Pro, and in my mind that designation means that the professional user should be able to tweak the computer to suit their own needs. Some need more RAM, others more storage and others more power.

Nope, not in the Apple universe anymore.

I am pretty sure that this locked-down state turns this MacBook Pro into a consumable rather than a tool.

At the end of it's useful life there is no plan B, no way to upgrade it for a few more serviceable years, and that is I think at the very least irresponsible.

Apple will tell us a ton of reasons why this has to be. The components are custom, smaller lighter and possibly more reliable, so they are necessary to meet the weight, power and, ahem, price ($2,200 base).

I retort: then don't call it a Pro. Call it what it is, a beefy MacBook Air, a terrific netbook.

For me, this WorldWide Development Conference was more about what Apple did not say and do rather than what it did say and do.

Calling the new MacBook a Pro and not really meeting the pro's needs, and at the same time ignoring the high end of the pro market - the MacPro's have not seen a significant upgrade since 2009 - tells us Apple is indeed focused entirely on the consumer market, and their new definition of "Pro" is probably just rich consumers.

Steve Dotto is host of Dotto Tech, 6 p.m. Wednesdays on AM650. Email your questions and comments to questions@ Visit him online at or at