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Time Capsule to ship; new wireless bill; MacBook Pro benchmarks

Apple appears poised to make good on a promise to ship its new Time Capsule backup appliance by month's end. Meanwhile, a new draft wireless bill threatens to disrupt the bond between Apple and its exclusive iPhone carriers. And just how much of an advantage do the company's new MacBook Pro notebooks hold over their predecessors?

Time Capsule

Thanks to all the readers who wrote in over the course of the day with word that their pre-orders for Apple's new Time Capsule backup appliance have been prepared for shipment.

"I just checked Apple's web site and my Time Capsule order has changed to 'preparing to ship,'" one reader wrote. "Historically that usually happens the same day products I have ordered from Apple ship."

Said another, "My credit card was charged this afternoon by Apple for my Time Capsule. I assume that means the unit will be shipping today or tomorrow."

Time Capsule was one of four major product introductions at last month's Macworld Expo. Essentially a 802.11n AirPort Extreme router with a built in server-grade hard disk, the device works in conjunction with Apple's Time Machine software to perform complete wireless backups of one or more Leopard-equipped Macs.

Apple is offering Time Capsule in a 500GB configuration for $299 and a 1TB configuration for $499. Readers who've been hesitant to purchase a Time Capsule thus far may want to check out AppleInsider's in-depth review planned for next week.

Wireless bill threatens iPhone exclusivity

The House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet held a hearing today on a new draft law by Rep. Ed Markey that would require every mobile provider to offer subsidy-free wireless customer equipment, effectively breaking the exclusive relationship between Apple and AT&T over the iPhone and allowing all owners of that handset to subscribe to a wireless carrier of their choice.

The bill, titled "Wireless Consumer Protection and Community Broadband Empowerment Act," would establish new rules for wireless carriers that include offering unsubsidized service as well as disclosing rate plans to customers in a "clear, plain, and conspicuous manner."

As part of the draft law, carriers would be obligated to provide more detailed maps of their network coverage areas, and would be forced to allow customers to cancel contracts for any reason without penalty within the first 30 days as well as prorate any fees associated with leaving a contract early.

MacBook Pro Benchmarks

Apple's new line of MacBook Pro notebooks introduced on Tuesday offer marginal performance gains at best when pit against their Fall 2007 predecessors, a series of Geekbench 2 tests conducted by Primate Labs reveal.

"The processor in the new MacBook Pro @ 2.4GHz (T8300) has less L2 cache than processor in the old MacBook Pro @ 2.4GHz (T7700) which explains the slight drop in performance," the software developer said.

"However, when you consider the new MacBook Pro 2.4GHz is the base model, while the old MacBook Pro 2.4GHz was the mid-range model, the small drop in performance comes with a significant reduction in price. Plus, the new Penryn processor uses less energy than the old Merom processor, which means a cooler laptop with increased battery life."