The MacBook That Apple Got So, So Right | iLounge Backstage

Backstage

The MacBook That Apple Got So, So Right

We don’t write much about Macs at iLounge, but I wanted to make an exception today to pat Apple on the back for doing something very right: the new aluminum MacBook. No pictures for this article; you can see the machine here.

Say what you will about the economy, the need for a Mac netbook, and Apple’s iterative approach to new product releases; in quick summary, the economy’s rough, a cheaper Mac would have been really smart, and the company definitely has become Machiavellian about dragging out user-requested feature bumps. If you can look past all of those things, the new 13” MacBooks are staggeringly close to the ideal portable Mac—so much so that three or four iLounge editors have either bought them or are planning to do so as we speak. All of us have Macs, but we never upgrade simultaneously, let alone to the same machine, which should be a sign that Apple has accomplished something amazing with this product.

It is, as Steve Jobs mentioned, the metal 13” that we’ve all been waiting for. It is, as history shows and the economy requires, a lot more affordable than the $1799 PowerBook 12” that people such as us lusted after but never purchased due to price and overheating problems. And it is, most importantly, a totally awesome computer. I’ve been using mine for the last day and completely loving it. The reasons:

Obvious things: the design. I’m not going to tell you that the new MacBook is amazing physically, because Apple introduced most of the new design touches in the MacBook Air, and thus most of this machine’s improvements appear derivative. But it’s obvious that everything about the past MacBook has been vigorously and wisely reconsidered for this model.

In a video, Jony Ive talks about making the machine as simple as is possible. It’s entirely true. The Pro’s old magnetic latch? It was a nifty design trick, but ultimately a non-useful moving part, and worthy of elimination here. The old battery indicator on the bottom? It’s much better on the side of the machine, and looks nicer now, too. MacBook’s IR sensor and sleep light are now subtle, rather than glaring, as are the iSight and microphone. Everything just seems so smart.

Obvious things: the size and weight. The new MacBook is lighter than its plastic predecessor, and correspondingly much lighter than the 15” Pro, which actually got a little heavier with this year’s update. And while the footprint isn’t as small as I would prefer—I could live with a 10” or 12” screen—I’m okay with it.

The trackpad. You would never, ever know that this was made from glass unless someone told you. It feels like a slightly smoother version of the prior trackpad, save for the shift of the button to the pad’s undercarriage, both changes highly welcome. There are issues with the pad—I find that it randomly causes text on web pages to scale upwards in size—but I’m convinced that they can be remedied in software. Multitouch remains a gimmick for now, but fun to play with.

Speed, drive, and screen. I went from a 2.4GHz MacBook Pro to a 2.4GHz MacBook. I haven’t run benchmark tests, but the new machine feels at least as fast as the old one, and has an extra 90GB of hard drive space. While Apple would have hit the hat trick on this machine by bumping the screen resolution up, I am actually very pleased with the glossy display, which I had resisted across several prior purchases and unnecessarily feared would impact my productivity. Apart from the lost pixels, it actually looks better than the screen on the Pro.

Of course, there are a couple of bummers. The absence of any non-USB expandability, namely FireWire connectivity or an ExpressCard slot, will definitely bother some users. Speaking for myself, dragging around the 15” MacBook Pro was so tiresome that I started formulating my escape plans months ago. No more ExpressCards, which I really never liked, and always found hot to the touch on removal. Any external hard disk I bought had to have multiple interfaces, including USB and FireWire. Et cetera. I’m disappointed that I can’t at least make a FireWire 800 connection from my big drives to the MacBook, but I can live. Maybe this Ethernet port can be put to some good use…

The other one is the Mini DisplayPort as a replacement for the old DVI connector. It’s no shock, given Apple’s history of choosing obscure connectors and going for things that are small, but for the time being it means that my 23” Cinema Display is useless, at least until Apple releases that adapter cable. I’m not planning to buy the new LED 24” as a replacement for my 23”, but as soon as Apple gets the 30” out the door—if the price is right—I’ll be there.

Overall, I’m extremely satisfied with the new MacBook. Having owned a number of Apple laptops in the past, starting with (seriously) the Macintosh Portable, I think it’s the company’s best portable computer ever. Check back with me in a few months and we’ll see if anything catastrophic has gone wrong, like the hard disk or video card problems (yes, a faulty nVidia 8600M processor, it seems) I’ve been dealing with in my MacBook Pros, but I have a really good feeling about this machine.

« In the Labs: Altec Lansing’s Expressionist BASS

Apple + AT&T’s iPhone Antitrust Class Action Smackdown »

Related Stories

Comments

1

I see no reason why Apple couldn’t have included a FireWire 800 port on the MacBook.  It would’ve been a great selling point on a consumer laptop.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on October 16, 2008 at 10:00 AM (CDT)

2

Apple doesn’t blindly remove features before they gauge how much they will be missed. They obviously did research that said “a ridiculously small number of people use Firewire” on their MacBooks. Firewire 800 isn’t really necessary for a consumer product either, as consumers generally don’t need to transfer data at that rate, unless it’s video. In that case, they’d probably need a MBP to edit video anyways.

Posted by Alex on October 16, 2008 at 10:09 AM (CDT)

3

iMovie still ships on Macbooks and has been a centrepiece of iLife and Mac advertising going back several years. Removing Firewire, especially in the absence of FW-USB or FW-Ethernet adapters, is puzzling.

Posted by mike in boston or toronto on October 16, 2008 at 10:15 AM (CDT)

4

#1/Galley: Agreed, however, I can live without it, and FW800 is just not a mainstream standard right now. If it was more popular, I’d imagine they would have included it, but so few consumers care about FW800.

#3: AVCHD and similar flash-based cameras are becoming increasingly popular for movie making, and tend to use USB for connectivity. I’ve personally shifted over to AVCHD and use iMovie, so again, the FireWire omission doesn’t impact me. If I was using a HDV camera with FireWire, there might be an issue. Between the LED Cinema Display dropping FW, the MacBooks, and the Air all doing so, you can bet that Apple is considering the standard unworthy at this point.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on October 16, 2008 at 10:59 AM (CDT)

5

I think Apple made a careful decision not to include Firewire on this model.  It definitely makes the decision on whether to purchase a MacBook or MacBook Pro easier.  Fact is, MiniDV seems to be on the way out.  The new camcorders that are hard drive or flash-based use USB to transfer.

Posted by sumo on October 16, 2008 at 11:09 AM (CDT)

6

My digital stills camera takes better video than my old miniDV video camera could. The stills camera is file based, so although Firewire would make me feel “comfortable” it’s not entirely necessary for me. Sucks for miniDV users though, of course.

Posted by Mike Peter Reed on October 16, 2008 at 11:35 AM (CDT)

7

I don’t see what people like about USB.  It’s awful.  USB 2.0 is slower than FireWire 400.  It’s a shame that the better, faster protocol is losing out.  Using USB for Video is really painfully slow, hell it’s just slow in general. Transferring 8GB of flash takes forever. Whatever.

Posted by dggraphics on October 16, 2008 at 12:44 PM (CDT)

8

“Multitouch remains a gimmick for now, but fun to play with.”

Multitouch is no gimmick. For one thing, I find it extremely useful to be able to navigate back and forth through web pages with a simple swipe of the hand (rather than using the keyboard or having to precisely locate a back arrow on the screen interface). And I think people will soon begin to understand there are ergonomic advantages as well.

Posted by Oz on October 16, 2008 at 12:56 PM (CDT)

9

#7: It’s not “like.” It’s “accept.” The difference between FW400 and USB is noticeable but not so huge that the average person will care. FW800 is a different story, but few devices use it and almost none are being bought by average consumers.

#8: The prior-generation, pre-“Multi-Touch™” two-finger swiping offered on two-generation old MacBook Pros let you do the same thing, and I agree, scrolling gestures on a trackpad are exceptionally useful. What I was referring to are the more recent, Apple-branded Multi-Touch features such as rotate, pinch, etc that are not yet being exploited to the extent that they eventually should, and hopefully will be.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on October 16, 2008 at 1:55 PM (CDT)

10

As a footnote, Apple’s Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter came in today, rendering the 23” Cinema Display usable again. Works perfectly from what I can see so far.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on October 16, 2008 at 4:00 PM (CDT)

11

OK, when can I expect a new 30” CD with all the new bells and whistles!?

Posted by Dennis Lloyd in Irvine, CA on October 16, 2008 at 4:53 PM (CDT)

12

I disagree with the threads that suggest that not many people need or use firewire. All of my friends and business associates use it for external hard drive storage. Many of the musicians that use garage band also need firewire. Neither one of these qualifies as pro use. It really sucks that you have to abandon old equipment when you buy a new computer. Lastly, get by the reality distortion field and admit that $1,300 is an awful lot for a machine that firwire that machines half the price have and also have blue ray. Charging a premium price for a product should mean full functionality not just that it looks really good.

Posted by Gordon on October 16, 2008 at 9:56 PM (CDT)

13

Ever since it was first introduced, Apple has heavily pushed Firewire as the technically superior and preferred interface for video cameras, audio interfaces, and hard disks.  Video and audio has been one of Mac’s best strong points (certainly one of their most heavily advertised points) in recent history, and the vast majority of video and audio devices in use today are Firewire based.  To now drop Firewire is a slap in the face to loyal Mac users who have invested heavily in Firewire devices based on Apple’s history of strong support for it. 

I personally know more than 20 musicians who I talked into buying Macbooks because of Apple’s consistent Firewire support for audio interfaces (back when many PC notebooks didn’t come with Firewire).  Even if you switch all your hard disks over to USB and throw out your perfectly good Firewire (DV/HDV) video cameras, there is NO VIABLE ALTERNATIVE to Firewire for audio interfaces.

There is no way that my friends are going to pay a $700 premium (especially in this economy) for a Macbook Pro just for the Firewire port, when every $499 PC notebook now comes with at least a 4-pin Firewire 400 port.

Tell me why I should invest in, say, a mini-DisplayPort based device (like the new 24” Cinema Display), knowing that Apple is keen on discontinuing support for popular and currently in-use standards simply for planned obsolescence?

Personally, I think this is one of the biggest mistakes Apple has ever made.  If I was Microsoft, I would now put out a bunch of commercials showing how Apple has castrated its latest Macbooks, which are no longer capable of the core functions which Apple has been advertising them for.

Posted by Jason on October 17, 2008 at 12:41 AM (CDT)

14

What was your top reasons for now going with the new MacBook Pro?  I see that you went from the previous gen 15” Pro and ended up with a 13”.  Please elaborate as I am considering not paying the premium.

Posted by Elijah Nicolas on October 17, 2008 at 2:01 AM (CDT)

15

They obviously pay you guys well. In the UK the new 2.4GHz MB is £200 more expensive than the outgoing model. Just this alone has stopped me buying one to replace my almost 3 year old Core 2 black MB. I could maybe live without Firewire but a price hike of more than 20% for a consumer level product. No thanks

Posted by Nik Gibson on October 17, 2008 at 6:19 AM (CDT)

16

#13: Part of the reason we don’t write about Macs more often is that we’re bothered enough by Apple’s repeated, unnecessary, and “discover it yourself” castrations of iPods that we’ve lost some of our trust in the company—we find it hard sometimes (and have said so) to recommend certain devices and a lot of accessories because of the risks consumers face in buying what could soon be incompatible without any warning.

That having been said, the whole FireWire as key to purchasing argument will be interesting to watch. My posting here indicated that the 13” is a superb machine for my needs (and I am still completely loving it), but that some people would be angry about the FireWire omission. It’ll be interesting to see whether Apple cares enough about the angry people to do anything before releasing the next version of the MacBook six months from now, or whether it just ignores everyone in one of its typical silences.

#14: I always wanted a 12” PowerBook but felt that the relative price and overheating issues made it a poor choice for my needs. The new version runs cool and strikes me as reasonably priced given what it offers. I can live with—and wanted—a smaller screen and footprint for use on the road… I would have gone even smaller if Apple had the right product to offer, and considered getting a mini PC laptop if the company once again didn’t bring out what I wanted this year. A second graphics processor and all the extra physical volume of the 15” were not enticements in my book for that model.

#15: Currency exchange and taxes are to blame. You pay a $400 premium over the U.S. price for the 2.4GHz model. Come visit the U.S. and buy here instead; the difference will pay the cost of the airline ticket. :-)

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on October 17, 2008 at 7:57 AM (CDT)

17

Don’t forget that FW800 is backwards compatible with FW400.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on October 17, 2008 at 9:06 AM (CDT)

18

I can’t believe that they got rid of the magnetic power “port.”  I DJ 3 nights a week in club conditions and having a plug that doesn’t “lock into” the machine (but rather connects magnetically and thus falls off without harming it) has saved me so many times!  I’m dissapointed they would remove such a cool feature!

Posted by DynaMix on October 17, 2008 at 10:45 AM (CDT)

19

Apple didn’t get rid of the MagSafe adapter port.  The new MacBooks use the same MagSafe power adapter as their predecessors.

On the issue of FireWire, I think this is the thing that bothers me most.  I have been a longtime Mac user and, like Jeremy, would like to switch from my current and problematic MacBook Pro to the new 13” MacBook.  I have always preferred the smaller machine, but bought a Pro two years ago because the previous MacBooks lacked several features I wanted.  The new model addresses most of the reasons I bought a Pro… aluminum enclosure, backlit keyboard, and non-Intel integrated graphics.  But I do have a sizable investment in FireWire peripherals.  While most also have USB 2.0 interfaces, I do frequently use a MiniDV camcorder.  It seems to me that dropping FireWire is a poor decision on Apple’s part and is really inexplicable as the cost savings are minimal… it looks like a rather obvious ploy to force users to “upgrade” to the more expensive but far less portable MacBook Pro (something Apple has been doing with various features since the first iBooks were released).  I would love to buy one of these new machines, but I am going to have to wait for the next revision and see if Apple addresses the issue at that point.

Posted by Bryan on October 17, 2008 at 11:28 AM (CDT)

20

The reality is that even when the MacBooks included FW400, the FW800 support was one of the main reasons I went with the MacBook Pro.  As Jeremy already noted, the differences between FW400 and USB are minimal, and while it would be nice for some Pro users to “upgrade” to the smaller form factor of the new MacBook now that it has otherwise comparable specs, the reality is that I would never give up the obvious performance boost of my FW800 drive arrays, and even if Apple had deigned to leave FireWire on the MacBook, I wouldn’t have expected a FW800 upgrade at that level.

IMHO, however, this is just another example of Apple’s design decisions being geared toward new adopters rather than upgraders—a trait that they’ve been demonstrating for years with the iPod family: The 5G iPod dropped FW sync and the remote port, the iPod classic did not provide backward-compatibility with 5G games and quite deliberately rendered existing video accessories incompatible, and now the iPhone 3G and majority of the 2008 iPod models have also dropped FW charging.

These are issues that for the most part would not affect a new iPod owner (with the possible exception of the video lock-out, although that would only be due to Apple’s almost complete silence on the issue), but seriously impacting many users upgrading from earlier iPod models to the current versions.

Dropping FW from the MacBook is the same deal. Those upgrading will be most affected, while most new Mac users (and “switchers”) could probably care less.

In the end, I’m not at all surprised by this move on Apple’s part, as the writing has been on the wall for a while, and it’s completely consistent with their past behaviour.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on October 17, 2008 at 4:07 PM (CDT)

21

Dropping the firewire port has killed the MacBook for me.  I’m steamed that I’m going to have to pay $700 for a firewire port.

Firewire transfer mode is an extraordinarily useful troubleshooting tool for techs like me, and one of the big WOW things that brought me over from PCs.  Add in the fact that I need to maintain compatibility with my client’s hardware (there’s a lot of firewire gear still out there), and I have no choice but to choose a laptop that support firewire.

Posted by compudude on October 17, 2008 at 4:37 PM (CDT)

22

Over at the Apple Discussions forum, 26 pages worth of comments (and growing) from very unhappy Apple customers beg to differ with those who blithely and cluelessly suggest that “not many users need firewire.” That’s a crock of you-know-what. For starters, *every* Mac user needs firewire just to transfer their files from an older Mac to a new MacBook. And they’re supposed to do that *how*??? Not to mention all the new peripherals that people will have to buy just to get back to square one with their new machines. And this in an economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression! Apple’s ill-considered design decision has made life a little harder for every Mac user without any benefit to anyone except Apple. Arrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!

Posted by alansky on October 17, 2008 at 6:36 PM (CDT)

23

“As Jeremy already noted, the differences between FW400 and USB are minimal.”  —Jesse David Hollington

You’re totally missing the point. The issue is not that firewire is faster than USB. It’s all the things you can do with firewire that you can’t do AT ALL with USB.

Posted by alansky on October 17, 2008 at 6:38 PM (CDT)

24

Can’t you transfer files between machines using the eithernet connector?

Posted by Al on October 17, 2008 at 7:13 PM (CDT)

25

#22: I’m not going to say that this is the way I feel—it’s not; I would have strongly preferred a FW800 port on the metal MacBook—but what would you say to the following suggestion:

Up until a few days ago, the metal MacBook didn’t exist. There were only plastic MacBooks, which still exist with FW400, and metal Pros, which still exist with FW800. The plastic MacBooks sell for less than they did a few days ago. And the metal ones sell for the same price.

So, if you still need FireWire, get the $999 MacBook or the $1999 MBP and a FW800 to FW400 adapter. If you don’t, you can consider the metal MacBook or the MacBook Air.

#24: Yes. Which makes that comment inaccurate. But it doesn’t fix the issue of other FW devices not connecting to the metal MB.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on October 17, 2008 at 7:32 PM (CDT)

26

If Apple had included Firewire on this new Macbook they would sell far fewer new Macbook pros. Apple is in business to make money.

Posted by RON on October 17, 2008 at 8:12 PM (CDT)

27

Not necessarily defending Steve Jobs ... but ...

I have a new AVCHD and it has a USB and no Firewire.

Most of the people I know that have MacBooks (if not all) do not even know what Firewire is. 

It is rare to see firewire in a PC laptop (well, Sony used to have them but they are one of the few vendors).

I believe Firewire is one of those things that only hardcore users will miss.  If you are a hardcore user, perhaps you should consider getting a MacBook Pro, which is what I have.

Posted by Richard Dib on October 18, 2008 at 1:07 AM (CDT)

28

This was a most interesting article, but a little galling. I nearly always enjoy the quality and scope of your reviews, but not this time. Why? Well, being US-focussed, there’s absolutely no mention of the furore and anger this new MacBook has caused here in the UK. Jobs paraded it as being cheaper when he launched it and yet here in the UK it won’t be, it is £70 more costly than the previous version! This is insane in the face of the deepest, darkest recession most anyone alive will have ever been through, happening right now and set to last possibly years.

Never mind fanboy debates over port provision, though valid, they aren’t the biggest issue. Price is key now more than ever. Jobs once again showed absolute contempt for at least one market outside the US, and the UK is not insignificant when it comes to Mac sales.

What’s more, the iMac design doesn’t translate well to portables. That wastage of black screen bordering is just ugly. The new MacBook is more expensive than the last for some of us, but for many irrespective of where they live, it is disappointingly conservative and boring. Yes, the battery indicator on the side is better than underneath… But how often does anyone check that when a quick movement of the mouse or even just a glance can tell you how much battery life you have left on screen? The optical drive bay at the side… What’s with that? It’s better at the front.

No, Apple has come up with an ugly new pricey machine that looks not dissimilar to every PC laptop from the likes of Sony Vaio and Dell. Wisdom should have decreed a lower-priced, mass-market machine. But that hasn’t happened, and design-wise this new model hasn’t got the ‘ooh’ factor we’ve all come to expect. I remain entirely happy with my 17-inch MB Pro with it’s fantastically tactile keyboard and many ports. Yes, a one-piece case with individual key holes is clever manufacturing… But what does it bring to the user experience of OS X in terms of productivity and entertainment? Absolutely nothing!

Posted by Andy on October 18, 2008 at 3:17 AM (CDT)

29

Everything #28 says is consistent with Apple’s past behavior.

Personally I will be switching back to the PC after my current Mac expires. Eight years of being a Mac user is enough, and there’s only one “killer app” for me that’s keeping me on OS X (which is, surprise, Audio Hijack Pro).

What ultimately distinguishes Apple from everyone else is a whimsical touch, whatever it is they achieve in industrial design or usability, they do it in a whimsical way, but they’re losing this quality as they gain critical mass in the market. They’re also starting to have glaring software and hardware quality control issues—which I think, would be more hurtful to a fan than their abandoning firewire or any other connectivity. Or the ENDLESS spinning rainbow beach ball, which gets more unjustifiable with every new release of OS X.

Personally I believe Apple got Jony Ive back into the promo circuit because, based on products from the last couple of years, I would’ve thought he’s already dead, or got locked up somewhere doing unfathomable things. But that’s just me.

Posted by Leon on October 18, 2008 at 4:13 AM (CDT)

30

#27: Apple was just too far ahead of the curve on this change. Providing a year of advance warning or an adapter solution would have remedied the issue for the many people who will need to transition away from FireWire. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t seem to really care about guaranteeing compatibility of accessories from generation to generation of its products. Consumers need to vote with their wallets if they are bothered by this practice.

#28: To make something clear up front, I’m not an Apple apologist, and like all of iLounge’s editorial staff, I find the apologists out there to be nauseating. So believe me when I tell you, as I did at the start of the article above, that I understand and appreciate your concerns. However, a couple of things you mentioned need to be addressed.

Pricing: “Jobs paraded it as being cheaper when he launched it and yet here in the UK it won’t be, it is £70 more costly than the previous version!”

The prior UK price of the latest white MacBook (now aka MacBook White, apparently) was £699, right? That equated to US$1,391. Because of major currency fluctuations (favoring the pound) since that model was updated in late February, £719 now equates to US$1,243. So is it cheaper? From one side of the pond, yes. The other? No. Regarding the metal machines, I don’t recall him claiming that they’d be less expensive than the prior ones; they’re not less expensive, even in the U.S.

Is this “contempt?” I’d use the word “disregard.” With only the rarest of exceptions, Apple never seems to care about pricing its products aggressively for foreign markets. Even in the U.S., it still has a Mercedes mentality, despite the fact that it has been pushing further and further into non-Mercedes price segments for the past 4 years. When it releases new products, especially Macs, it always seems to be on the edge of more reasonable pricing, then pulls back at the last moment, which means that the company’s growth is slow rather than explosive. Whether this is Apple maintaining absurd margins, or pricing to match its supply constraints, this is a major disconnect between Apple and its customers, and has gotten the company into trouble in the past. Given the economy, it may well do so again.

Design: “What’s more, the iMac design doesn’t translate well to portables. That wastage of black screen bordering is just ugly. The new MacBook is more expensive than the last for some of us, but for many irrespective of where they live, it is disappointingly conservative and boring.”

Similar complaints could be levied at the iPod and iPhone families, and I think you’d find that we agree more than we disagree. I personally preferred the prior color scheme of the MacBook Pro - the silver and black iPod nano also struck me as ugly—- but color aside, the physical design of the new MacBook enclosure is superb.

Features: “Yes, the battery indicator on the side is better than underneath… But how often does anyone check that when a quick movement of the mouse or even just a glance can tell you how much battery life you have left on screen? The optical drive bay at the side… What’s with that? It’s better at the front.”

Speaking solely for myself, the battery indicator is useful when you don’t want to turn the machine on to see how much juice is left. The problem this time is, of course, that you can’t check the power of a spare battery. So not an entirely ideal change. Re: the optical drive bay, I personally use a MacBook on my lap in a position where disks would normally eject at stomach level, so having the slot on the side means more convenience.

#29: Apple has always had quality control issues. They have just become increasingly annoying, and as the price gulf separating a Mac from a typical PC expands, they seem more unacceptable. However, the new MBPs and metal MBs appear to have been designed to remedy the major build issues that existed with prior models. Let’s hope the company catches up on the software side, too.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on October 18, 2008 at 10:05 AM (CDT)

31

Musicians who use computers seriously need firewire - the only professional audio interfaces all use firewire. Musicians have been loyal mac used since 85 and with this change Apple is telling us they don’t care. Perhaps the interface companies will now adopt usb2 or even displayport (the spec includes the possibility for 8 channels of audio) but for the next 12 months we don’t have a small laptop option.

Posted by RS on October 18, 2008 at 11:21 AM (CDT)

32

#25: For me personally, the plastic MacBook doesn’t fill the bill. I was hoping to replace my 12” G4 powerbook (someday!) with an up-to-date aluminum-clad replacement of similar size. The new MacBook would be that replacement but for the missing firewire.

However, personal desires aside, my work as a Mac consultant is made much harder by the disappearance of firewire on the new MacBook (and possibly other low-end Mac models in the future).

Posted by alansky on October 18, 2008 at 12:37 PM (CDT)

33

‘Can’t you transfer files between machines using the eithernet connector?’

Yes, you can. You can connect two Macs via ethernet and mount one of them as a hard drive on the desk top via the ‘connect to server’ command under the Go menu at the Finder. This requires networking be turned on in System preferences and that you have a password for the Mac being mounted. It’s been possible going all the way back to OS 9, target disk mode was basically a really easy way to go about the same process. I would think the tech who commented above would have been aware of this.

Personally, I think it was dumb to drop firewire altogether-they could have kept it around as a build to order option at the very least. These new notebooks are what we refer to as ‘transitional’ products, and it isn’t at all uncommon in the world of technology. I suspect in a year or two firewire will only be necessary for pro level users. That was something that used to be nice about Macs though-every consumer got pro level functionality; it seems to me Macs are being dumbed down more and more. Sad, that.

Posted by Jamie Berry on October 18, 2008 at 3:03 PM (CDT)

34

There are similar issues with the pricing in Australia because of the exchange rate and stuff so I won’t be purchasing the new Macbook just yet. However, I personally thought that the new design of the MacBooks and iPods was great. I like the colour schemes and the black border acts as a kind of buffer zone for my eyes.
To address the issue of Firewire, I’d agree with #22 in saying that most users I know either have no idea what it is or have never used it. If you really need if for some professional work or anything like that, just buy the MacBook Pro. It’s a better computer anyway.

Posted by me on October 19, 2008 at 2:15 AM (CDT)

If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

Email:

Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

Email:

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2014 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy