Having read a lot of commentary on the new MacBook Pro (NYTimes , arstechnica) as well as comments about the brightness of the backlit keyboard and reports of unbalanced speakers, I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of a unit so I could see it with my own eyes.
And the first thing that hit me?
It’s been totally redesigned to the degree that you look at it and think “They can’t fit a 15″ laptop in there, can they?”
But they have. Gone are the huge pieces of styrofoam that used to protect the Powerbook, replaced by a thinner styrofoam piece with circular indents and MacBook Pro embossed on the bottom. All the accessories (power supply, cable, DVI-VGA adpater) are now contained in the same section as the laptop, though separated into different compartments. First impression is a good one.
A new cloth covering protects the laptop. It’s not quite as durable as it’s predecessor, but I doubt it’ll get used too much after the first week! Clicking the lid release reveals the next new feature.
The screen catch. The single latch from the Powerbook has been replaced with a double catch system, very similar to the one seen in the 17″ Powerbook. Presumably, this has been introduced to make room for the iSight camera.
Which leads me to the top bezel.
It’s big. Very big. Probably about twice the thickness of the side bezels. It looks a little odd really, or maybe i haven’t quite gotten used to it. Personally, I would have preferred a thinner bezel and no camera, but hey……..
Minor point here.
The MacBook Pro logo at the bottom of the screen.
Why is it reflective? What possible function could having the midday sun emblazen “orP kooBcaM” across my face have?
Seriously though, I find it really distracting to have that little twinkle everytime a move my head slightly. Admittedly, I do have my back to a window when sat at my desk and am probably more likely to have a machine in direct sunlight, but i shouldn’t have to worry about such things when working on a portable computer.
The screen is lovely. A vast improvement over the last 15″ Powerbook revision which had nasty horizontal lines across it. It’s sharp. It’s bright. The light and colour are consistent. It’s just lovely!
The other new feature that has been getting some press recently is the MagSafe connector for providing power. Basically, the power connector connects magnetically to the machine. There are no pins sticking out, so when someone trips on your cable, it disconnects rather than dragging your machine to the ground. And it works too! It’s a lot stronger than I thought it was going to be, and it’s invertible. Status lights are provided on both sides so you can see when it’s charging or when it’s charged. Cool!
So far, pretty good.
A few points though.
The dual layer Superdrive has been replaced by a single layer drive. I believe this is due to a problem with the form factor of the laptop, which is slightly thinner than previous versions. Because of this, Apple had to use a thinner optical drive. unfortunately a dual layer Superdrive was not available in this configuration. I have heard rumour of their existence recently, so maybe it’s only a matter of time.
The lack of modem has had some people up in arms. Not really an issue for me. Dialup is effectively dead with the advent of fast and cheap broadband, though I do accept that some hotels are not exactly passing this saving on to their customers!
Performance? OS X feels quicker and more responsive on an Intel Mac. This is true of all the new Macs. Apps launch quickly and behave as expected.
I will have to wait to see how it performs in the real world.
I’ll keep you posted.
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