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Notes of Interest on Thunderbolt and New MacBook Pros

Yesterday, Apple and Intel introduced a new cabling system called Thunderbolt into the new MacBook Pros. As with any new technology, there are a lot of new questions and issues that are raised. Tested.com offers a good overview of the new technology, and Macworld offers a good Frequently Asked Questions about Thunderbolt. We've compiled some of the more interesting notes here.

- First, this Engadget video shows Thunderbolt in action on one of the new MacBook Pros, and does a good job showing the advantages of the faster bandwidth.


- CNet's live coverage reveals that there are no plans to offer Thunderbolt PCIe cards. In fact, Intel says that you will need a new computer/motherboard to get Thunderbolt. That means Mac Pro owners won't be able to add it on to their systems.

10:25 a.m. (Dong Ngo) : There won't be TB PCIe cards it seems. You'll need a new computer.
10:34 a.m. (Dong Ngo) : There won't be add-in TB adapters, you'll need a new computer/motherboard that supports TB.

- CrunchGear notes that while Apple doesn't have an exclusive on Thunderbolt, they have a head start:

At their press release, held shortly after Apples update when live, Intel noted that the developer kit for the interface would be provided to other computer manufacturers this spring, and that they didnt expect OEMs to ship with Thunderbolt until 2012.

- Engadget reports that Thunderbolt will be both backwards and forwards-compatible when it gets the new optical cabling:

...the port you'll find in new MacBook Pros and storage devices can actually take an optical cable when those are cost-effective enough to roll out, because Intel will eventually bake the optical transceivers into the cables themselves.

- Many have noted the new MacBook Pros have shorter battery life specs than last year's MacBook Pros. TechCrunch notes that Apple has been using a different testing protocol to report battery life:

Apple has begun using a new method of battery life testing. And they feel its much more accurate in real world scenarios. Specifically they call this the Wireless Web protocol testing.

We won't know until reviewers start testing them with identical benchmarks how much shorter the new MacBook Pro battery life actually is (if at all) as compared to the previous generation.

iFixit's teardown of the new MacBook Pro shows the same battery capacity between last year's and this year's 15" model. So any differences will be a product of the new CPU/GPUs.