Speedy laptops revealed, headed to BU bookstore

By Stephen Strobbe

Apple announced a new version of its popular MacBook line of computers that will soon be available to students and introduced a new input/output technology developed by Intel called Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt is a revolutionary new I/O technology that delivers an amazing 10 gigabits per second and can support every important I/O standard which is ideal for the new MacBook Pro,” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, said in a press release Thursday.

Thunderbolt was developed by Intel Corp. under the code name Light Peak and allows transfer rates of 10 gigabytes per second, in comparison to the popular USB 2.0 that reaches approximately 60 megabytes per second and Firewire 800 that achieves around 400 megabytes per second.

This means Thunderbolt is capable of a transfer speed increase up to 12 times faster than Firewire and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0. Even USB 3.0, capable of speeds up to 5 gigabytes per second, can’t compete. Intel said that by using the Thunderbolt technology and a high-speed storage device, a full-length HD movie could transfer in less than 30 seconds.

The technology is bidirectional, shares common connectors for all Thunderbolt devices and is capable of “daisy-chaining” up to six devices (connecting computers together in a series, one after the next).

Many are hoping Thunderbolt will become the next industry standard for high-speed input/output technology.

The Baylor Bookstore is anticipating a high demand for the new line of MacBooks and intends to have them in stock as soon as possible.

“There is a pretty big buzz about the new computers,” said Rick Busby, trade and computer department manager for the bookstore. “I know that one thing with the Thunderbolt port is that with that and the video card and everything else in these computers, you are now able to edit video in real time.”

However, the store only learned about the new computers last week along with the rest of the general public with Apple’s announcement.

“That’s just Apple in general. They typically don’t release anything to anybody early,” said Billy Nors, store director for the bookstore.

Busby said the bookstore has placed orders for the new computers, which will come in at the same price that they were sold at before. The bookstore has some remaining stock of the previous models, leading to some significant price cuts, Busby said.

“We are an Apple Educational Retailer so we typically are going to be below the retail price, but this puts us even farther below that price,” Busby said. “It varies per model, but the 13-inch MacBook Pro retailed for $1,399 with the academic price on it; they dropped it to $1,099.”

Nors warned this stock will not remain too terribly long.

“It was busy this weekend; we had a lot of people on campus and when word got out of the price cuts people were in asking about them,” he said.

Nors said even if the old stock of computers is out and the new ones are not yet in, the bookstore can place a special order for the computers.

Nors and Busby are optimistic about receiving these computers with the revolutionary I/O port shortly.

“The orders are being processed now, and the bookstore will have them in as soon as feasible,” Busby said.