Product categories come and go, grow and wither, revolutionize the world and then slowly fade into a state of cold, quiet, everlasting obsolescence. It happens all the time, sometimes over the course of just a year or two (see: netbooks) and, while companies have made billions by establishing truly new categories, rarely has anybody rocked the world by splitting the difference between two very closely aligned ones.
That’s exactly what Apple is trying to do here. The company’s MacBook Pro line is one of the most respected in the industry for those who need an ostensibly professional laptop. Meanwhile, the MacBook Air is among the best (if not conclusively the best) thin-and-light laptops on the market. Now, a new player enters the fray: the MacBook Pro with Retina display. It cleanly slides in between these two top-shelf products, while trying to be simultaneously serious and fast, yet slim and light. Is this, then, a laptop that’s all things to all people, the “best Mac ever” as it was called repeatedly in the keynote? Or, is it more of a compromised, misguided attempt at demanding too much from one product? Let’s find out.
We’ve already seen Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt reinvigorating the MacBook Pro line, so it’s only logical for the MacBook Airs to eventually follow suit — presumably they’ll pick up Sandy Bridge’s 17W mobile processors to match the current 10W and 17W Core 2 Duos. So when can we expect this to happen? Well, according to DigiTimes’ sources within the supply chain, Apple may receive shipment of the refreshed Airs in late May ahead of a June or July launch — this echoes earlier reports from Apple Insider and CNET that cited the same time frame. Additionally, DigiTimes says Quanta will continue to assemble Apple’s ultra-portable laptops, with Simplo Technology and Dynapack supplying the battery packs. As always, we shall remain open-minded about such rumors, but you’ll know the real deal as soon as we do within the next couple of months or so.
This time last year, HTC had two Android smartphones for the mainstream: the 3.7-inch Desire, outfitted with the latest and greatest, and the 3.2-inch Legend, which was humbler in specs but offered the novelty of an aluminum unibody construction. After seeing that strategy pay off handsomely, the company’s come back in 2011 with a similar proposition. The 4-inch Incredible S is now the higher-end device, while the 3.7-inch Desire S is the smaller, aluminum-shelled handset. What’s curious this time, however, is that the Desire S has exactly the same 1GHz Snapdragon inside it, the same graphics, same WVGA resolution, and the same 768MB of RAM as the Incredible S. Throw in the fact it comes with Gingerbread preloaded and a few new tweaks to the Sense UI and you’ve got to wonder if this might not be the more, um, desirable of HTC’s new Android duo. Only one way to find out, right? Full review after the break.