Apple Refresh Cycles

About 18 months ago I bought a “fully-loaded” MacBook Pro from the Apple Refurb store. It’s a 15″ retina mid-2012 model with 16GB RAM, 768GB SSD, and a 2.7 GHz quad-core i7 chip. It kicks ass!

I was wandering around Fry’s Electronics the other day, which I don’t do as much as I used to, and I noticed there are lots of these “4k” monitors starting to appear. Their prices aren’t very good, typically over $500 still. But I was curious how many 4k monitors my “fully-loaded” MacBook Pro can handle.

I did a bit of research and ended up getting into an online chat with someone from Apple and discovered, much to my dismay, that my “fully-loaded” MacBook Pro cannot drive more than 2250¬†x 1080 resolutions, excluding the built-in Retina display. ūüôĀ

The day before that, I’d bought a router from someone on eBay that was billed as an AC1200 class router, with the expectation that it would give me faster data transfers via WiFi. I thought, 802.11ac Ethernet wasn’t all that new, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

Well, it arrived and I started messing with it. The first thing I did was load up the specs from the vendor’s site, and there I noticed it was not, in fact, an AC1200 model, but an AC866 class model. Sheesh. It also supports N300. Well, son-of-a-gun … the router it was intended to replace is N600. Crap.

Worse, I dug into the specs of my “fully-loaded” MacBook Pro and discovered … it does NOT¬†support 802.11ac Ethernet protocols. Crap. Crap. Crap.

(The Good News is … the new router at least isn’t any slower than the previous one, and even seems to be a bit faster. ¬†Not sure how that works, but at least it’s a Good Sign.)

Then I went onto Apple’s Refurb store and compared MY “fully-loaded” MacBook Pro with the one they’re offering today — which is the “Spring 2014” edition. (They’re “refreshed” them twice since my model was released.) Ok, they appear to be virtually identical, except they no longer offer the 768GB SSD — it goes from 512GB to 1TB. Ok, I’ll suffer with more disk space.

And, yup, there it is … it supports up to two 4k display devices and¬†802.11ac Ethernet protocols as well.

The price? Strange, it’s the exact same price I paid for my device 18 months ago at $2650. I think I still owe $1000 or so on mine, while I noticed they’re selling on eBay for about $1800.

To confirm all of this, I went into the Apple Store this past weekend and asked them about it. They confirmed all of this. But … they also mentioned that the newest refresh of the MacBook Pro has the newest “Haswell” CPU chip in it from Intel, as well as a PCIe interface to the SSD which makes data transfers go 3x-4x faster. SSD is already freaking FAST, but 3x-4x faster would be something to behold. (With the kind of stuff I do, this sort of tech bump can¬†make a big difference! But for the average user, probably not so much.)

Ok, so I’m going to set my sights on “refreshing” my own system¬†by Christmas, and maybe adding one of those 4k displays to my workspace as well.

It’s nice to see¬†that Apple keeps “refreshing” their technologies behind the scenes on a regular basis, even if those refreshes aren’t part of major product announcements.

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