Apple MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook upgrades

macbookprobrick.jpg

Apple today announced two new laptop computers, available for sale tomorrow. The updated MacBook Pro and the updated MacBook share a new unibody aluminum “brick” manufacturing process; black, backlit keys (on the Pro and higher-end MacBook only); a new, buttonless multitouch glass keypad that supports up to four finger gestures; and a faster video chip from Nvidia.

The new MacBook Pro gets a second discrete video card from Nvidia, while losing the FireWire 400 port for a FireWire 800 port. The new MacBook eschews FireWire entirely.

Both machines have glossy screens with no matte finish and no Blu-Ray drive for watching high-definition movies. Both also use Apple’s new display plug, the “Mini DisplayPort”.

The new MacBook starts at $1,300; the new MacBook Pro at $2,000.

Apple also announced a price drop of its existing plastic MacBook to $1,000 (although it’s reasonable to expect they are marking time until they can reduce the price of the aluminum MacBook); a new 24-inch widescreen monitor with integrated camera and speakers for $900 with a measly 1,920 by 1,200 pixel resolution; and an upgrade to the MacBook Air that incorporates the new Mini DisplayPort and faster Nvidia graphics.

MacBook Pro product page [Apple.com]
MacBook product page [Apple.com]

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67 Responses to Apple MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook upgrades

  1. UniAce says:

    Here’s why the lack of any firewire port is a big deal: you can’t boot OSX from a USB drive.
    So there’ll be no way to boot from an external drive (e.g., for emergency disk repair). And forget about Target Disk mode too.

  2. searconflex says:

    sure, fine. I’m also an asshat. what’s with the black frame though? why no FW? Did people complain about DVI? I admit, I’m excited to see the LED backlit screen though.

    I guess that’s better?

  3. agraham999 says:

    searconflex…I’m also an asshat…I just think people are complaining about something that is a natural progression in the evolution of a product line…and I’ve been writing about Apple for 10 years and worked with Mac for over 20…and I see the same thing we’ve seen before…and Apple almost always makes the right call.

    People complained about the first all in one iMac…they complained when there was no floppy…every major step forward someone gets left out…initially…but this is necessary.

    It costs them money to continue to support a platform that doesn’t have a future. Besides it opens a third party market for FW support via a card.

    It costs them money to manufacture two different screen finishes. That’s just silly. You can buy after market matte finish plastic films for screens.

    As for booting from an external drive for repair…uh…did they eliminate the DVD drive? As for Target Disk mode…well that is interesting…I’ll wait to find out how they plan on addressing that before I comment on it. But THAT is a good point!

    I’m all for having a debate but sheesh we sure are picking on some silly stuff here in general.

  4. zuzu says:

    Firewire, as much as I prefer it, is dead or dying. I don’t even use my old firewire drives anymore…and there is no real future in supporting two platforms when the majority of everything produced is going to be USB.

    Except that the Drobo was just updated a few months ago to support Firewire 800.

    Also, Firewire provides daisy-chain passthrough, which I use all the time. USB requires hubs, and virtually nobody so far includes USB hubs in their USB devices.

    I often hear people complain about “only” 2 USB ports on Apple laptops. Firewire has historically been what renders this argument moot, because if you’re talking about storage devices, people can daisy-chain with Firewire instead. Now that option is gone, and I don’t see Apple natively supporting iSCSI, even with XSAN.

    Firewire has popular support among Apple users, and Apple user share is growing. Apple dropping Firewire support thus always seems like a slap in the face.

  5. winkybb says:

    I am so glad that there’s no really significant upgrades here. I dropped serious cash on a MBP 17″ earlier this year. I considered waiting for the Blu-ray drive, thinking it was inevitable in the next update. I’m quite pleased it’s not, and now I’m still happy with my current setup.

    I think they should do a range of Macbooks anodised in the same colour range as the Nanos. Bundle them together for Xmas – pre-loaded with an iTunes gift voucher.

  6. zuzu says:

    @ WinkyBB

    17″ MBP use normal 12.7mm optical drives, for which Blu-Ray does exist.

    However, it’s expensive, neither VideoLAN nor Handbrake include the bluraybackup decryption code yet, and dedicated rippers have just about everything in 720p or 1080p online anyway.

    BluRay has taken so long to come to market, and is so expensive and encumbered, while hard drives get bigger and cheaper ($180 for single 1.5TB 3.5″ drives now), that ultimately I think it’s a stillborn platform. In other words, that thing Randall Munroe said about DRM holds true for Blu-Ray as well.

  7. joflow says:

    I see what you did here…

  8. zuzu says:

    Here’s why the lack of any firewire port is a big deal: you can’t boot OSX from a USB drive.
    So there’ll be no way to boot from an external drive (e.g., for emergency disk repair). And forget about Target Disk mode too.

    Um, I’m like 80% sure that Intel Macs can boot from USB. But here’s the kicker, all Macs since the Titanium Powerbook have underpowered USB ports that often fail to supply enough power to external 2.5″ hard drives (particularly 7200rpm).

    Unless Apple fixed the underpowered USB problem in these updated MacBooks?

  9. jitrobug says:

    Has anything serious been written about how apple has turned away from Donald Norman’s concept of affordances?

    I haven’t read a UI book in years, but Donald Norman was an Apple guy and was very big on things looking like they can do what they can do..

    Apple’s direction away from that first hit me with the minimize/maximize/close buttons on windows – I sat in front of a mac for a year or two before I realized that they were the color of traffic lights – until then, I would always have to mouse over to get a look at the hidden symbols inside..

    Then there’s the mighty mouse, which has a number of clicky-places that you can’t discover until you’ve accidentally clicked them 10 or 20 times..

    Now they’re moving to a touch pad that appears to have no buttons..

    is that good user centered design?

    It wasn’t in the minds of early apple UI people, but… I dunno, maybe it is now.

  10. agraham999 says:

    #27…I’m totally with you…I love chaining Firewire together…I’m very pro firewire…but I’m more often than not buying more USB stuff these days. I hate that I can’t chain devices together. But oh well…I see the writing on the wall.

    I’m sure Apple sees it from a economics standpoint…that market is dwindling and more and more people are supporting USB. Costs them money to engineer another port for FW into the casing and boards…so eliminate it and save money…not to mention I’m sure we’ll see a third party card to support it. So I just think it is a moot issue.

  11. zuzu says:

    It costs them money to continue to support a platform that doesn’t have a future. Besides it opens a third party market for FW support via a card.

    There’s no ExpressCard slot in a MacBook either. The only way to attach storage devices is either through USB or Gigabit Ethernet, neither of which are nearly as mature as FW800 (or even eSATA).

    If Apple had mature support for iSCSI, this would be a different story. But so far Apple can’t even get ZFS out the door yet. (Or will iSCSI support be added in 10.6 Snow Leopard?)

  12. searconflex says:

    I repeat:

    – what’s with the black?

    – what’s with the DVI port missing?

    Honestly.

  13. ToddBradley says:

    The $2 plastic film that turns a glossy screen into a matte screen – is it good (invisible, consistent, and color-neutral) enough that you’d use that screen for video editing with the plastic film on it?

  14. winkybb says:

    ZuZu,

    Yeah, my naive hope for Blu-ray wasn’t underpinned by any research on available drives. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Totally agree about all the difficulties with the DRM and slow consumer uptake. Never mind Ironman phoning home and crashing servers and freezing players. Yep, Blu-ray may well just be a blip in digital history as broadband delivery methods and media servers and low-cost storage run rampant across the entertainment landscape. That’s why I’m even less upset about my MBP not having Blu-ray.

  15. HornCologne says:

    If any of you actually know, could you please explain how dragging works without the button?

    I am a dedicated trackpad user (don’t like using a mouse at all) concerned about photo editing & other graphics apps, screen shots (Skitch) and other stuff I do all the time where I need fine control during a drag.

    The click-hold-drag-unclick thing has never worked for me, especially when I need a pixel-accurate crop or similar.

    I’d appreciate any tips from you good people!

  16. Itsumishi says:

    I’m surprised there’s not more people pissed off that this thing takes a maximum of 4GB RAM. I’d say that most people that go out and purchase a new MBP are going to want to hold onto it for a few years at least. 4GB is fast becoming standard in a whole lot of computers and the MBP has always catered towards the higher end market. Seems absurd not to put a mother board in that can handle at least 8GB.

    Also, definitely shitty about the measly monitor resolution coupled with the gloss finish.

    I’m sure the 2nd Generation will quickly address that issue as plenty of designers, etc refuse to purchase the current model.

    Also while I don’t have a problem with putting a new connection for video out if you’re going to do it an adapter should be included in the cost.

    As for the track pad, I think apples track pads have been well ahead of the game for years and I can’t see this one being different. Might take a week or two to get used to then I imagine 95% of users will love it (that’s people that actually use them, not people that use them every now and then).

    As for the lack of Firewire on the MB. Well I guess that’s just good news for USB3.

  17. ssll says:

    @ZUZU

    I already hate that click-wait-click for renaming in Finder

    Click once, then hit return – you don’t have to wait that way

  18. iamcantaloupe says:

    @29 Even the most current Macs do not boot from USB, and worse, from what I have read, Apple’s response seems to be that they don’t care.

    And the MacBooks actually only have ONE underpowered USB port to my knowledge. Typically the port closest to the user is a normal, fully powered one.

    @26 Have you ever compared installation times of an OS with a USB/FW drive with those coming from a DVD? It can save huuuge amounts of time, especially if you are installing OSes on multiple boxes.

    And to all those saying FW is dead/dying and this is why Apple aren’t including it with the MB, why not eliminate it from the MBP as well, to ensure that people don’t further waste their money buying FW peripherals which will be unusable with the next batch of Macs? It just seems like needless cost-cutting to me.

    Also, let’s hope some of your are right about the touch pad being able to click, because that actually sounds quite nice.

  19. haineux says:

    Pressing on the trackpad DOES produce a tactile click.

    Now you can click with two fingers for right-click.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Display Port is not Apple’s plug. It is a VESA standard from 2006. It is an improvement on DVI (more pixels, less RFI, more robust connector, thinner cables). Look for it everywhere in coming years.

  21. zuzu says:

    p.s. Regarding what I said earlier about RAM, it looks like the new MacBook / Pro do use Montevina and definitely require 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM (PC3-8500) SO-DIMM sticks. That $170 G.Skill (or $450 Crucial) 1x4GB DDR2 memory will only work in the previous Santa Rosa MacBook Pro models. If anyone has a lead on 1x4GB DDR3 memory, drop me a line.

  22. zuzu says:

    I’m surprised there’s not more people pissed off that this thing takes a maximum of 4GB RAM. I’d say that most people that go out and purchase a new MBP are going to want to hold onto it for a few years at least. 4GB is fast becoming standard in a whole lot of computers and the MBP has always catered towards the higher end market. Seems absurd not to put a mother board in that can handle at least 8GB.

    Yeah, I’m “pissed” about it. (I’ve been pissed about RAM ceilings since the limit was 2GB on the Core Duo Macs.) I’d like to see official support for >4GB. I think iFixIt is wrong about 4GB being a limitation of “32-bit architecture”. I just installed that G.Skill 4GB SO-DIMM into my previous generation (Penryn) 15″ MacBook Pro, and it works like a charm. (My page outs / swap used dropped to 0! I was constantly thrashing my hard drive for swap before.) 6GB of DDR2 definitely works in the previous line of Santa Rosa based MacBook Pros. The “limit” on these new MacBook / Pros might be more indicative of the lack of 4GB DDR3 SO-DIMMs; maybe iFixIt can cough up the $600 to test that hypothesis.

    However, the best guess right now is that 8GB causes a boundary conflict between addressing memory from the bottom and addressing PCI-e peripherals from the top. Santa Rosa based computers with 8GB slow to a crawl when memory addressing pushes past 7GB. I sincerely hope this has been corrected in the new MacBook / Pro line using DDR3 memory. Even without Firewire, I would jump on an aluminum MacBook with 16GB of RAM in a heartbeat.

  23. acb says:

    The lack of FireWire would be my main concern. I quite like having 2 ports on my MacBook Pro. It’s good for grabbing video from a DV tape. (Then again, given that videotapes are obsolete technology, perhaps that isn’t a pressing concern these days.) The lack of any FireWire ports on the MacBooks is a deal-breaker, though.

    I’m a bit concerned about the buttonless trackpad. I’ve had the misfortune to use PC laptops which were configured for this, and they always had the tendency to, at some random point (presumably caused by static electricity, sunspots or quantum uncertainty), decide that you’ve started/stopped clicking/dragging, which was utterly infuriating. I hope that Apple have managed to avoid this trap.

    The rumoured swappable hard drive in the MacBook Pro does sound like a nice touch.

    Also, nobody has mentioned the screen resolution, which is one area in which Apple has lagged behind the PC world. (I saw a 15″ Dell with 1920-pixel wide screen a few years ago; running a hax0red OSX, it looked beautiful.) Is the 15″ MBP still stuck at 1440×900 or so, or have Apple managed to leap that hurdle?

  24. zuzu says:

    Supported resolutions: 1440 by 900 (native)

    Crap.

    Maybe ultra-high resolution is being held back until Apple can support more than rudimentary resolution independence in in OSX?

  25. SimeonW says:

    It seems to me that FireWire lost out to eSATA more than to USB. Additionally, since I am doing more and more work in a tapeless workflow, having FW deck or camera control is less and less of an issue for me and my business.

    That said, I would have liked an eSATA port.

    And, how many adapters does Apple want me to own? I am going to need an HDMI in/out for when I want to bypass compression on some cameras or go out to an HD TV. I am going to need some kind of adapter for DVI and/or VGA. I will need a USB hub (powered). And, sadly, some FW400 adapter for some of my older drives and footage archived on DV tape. Curses!

    Now, according to Wikipedia, this Mini DisplayPort is a competitor to HDMI, is not compatible with DVI or HDMI, is certified by VESA, and will someday make us happy… Someday. Hey, remember when Apple got rid of all of their serial ports and lets us with nothing but FW and USB? That seemed crazy too.

  26. Stephen says:

    HORNCOLOGNE:
    Dragging on a new MacBook is just like with a mouse because it is a mechanical button under the trackpad that clicks. So you just press and drag and release.

  27. jitrobug says:

    I guess I can allow for the possibility that an entirely clicky pad could have a method of secondary clicking that doesn’t totally suck.

    Maybe they already thought of:

    one finger pushes on it, no others touching is a click

    one finger is resting, another touching is right-click

    two fingers resting on the pad and a third clicks is middle..

    or maybe something smarter..

    (as a linux using thinkpad owner, I don’t understand how anybody lives without a real middle button)

  28. Stephen says:

    I’ve never liked glossy displays. But I think the choice of glass over plastic is great. I just wish they used an antiglare glass. The very best antiglare treatments are on glass not plastic. For example:
    http://www.tru-vue.com/Tru-Vue/Products/museum-glass-anti-reflective/

  29. pork musket says:

    @3 You’re correct. Much like the Mini DVI connector they’ve used… which I absolutely hated on my Powerbook. I do understand it lets them cram more stuff in the chassis, but then I had to carry a Mini DVI->DVI converter around to use it with 90% of the displays in the world. I don’t like the break with an accepted standard.

  30. zuzu says:

    Two or three buttons makes sense on a mouse because you have two or three independent digits to click with. But unless the anatomy of your hands radically differ from mine, you only have one thumb per hand, which means only one button is useful on a touchpad.

    What’s wrong with using the Ctrl key as a modifier for the single “mouse” button on the touchpad?

    Even with a mouse, the only thing I use the middle button for is Expose… I’ve long since accepted using Cmd-v / Ctrl-v instead for paste from the clipboard.

  31. Latente says:

    gloss monitor=shit

    Ive where is the Firewire?????!!!!!

  32. iamcantaloupe says:

    The current MacBook’s secondary click is plenty fine: two fingered tap, or clicking with two fingers on the pad. And my MacBook never had problems with accidental clicks like this Gateway does.

    Also, the two fingered scrolling is a superb alternative to the incredibly annoying right side scroll bar on more modern pc laptops. I am constantly accidentally scrolling up and down when using the mouse, especially in flash games or anything that requires quick, broad movements.

    So the fact that the touchpad clicks restores my faith in that area. However I am yet to be convinced the lack of FW is a good idea.

  33. zuzu says:

    I get accidental taps like crazy; particularly since there’s currently no way to disable triple-finger gestures. So I all too often accidentally swipe left or right which causes my browser to load pages back or forward. Or something triggers the gesture for making text size bigger or smaller. It blows. I only want the touchpad to position the cursor, and nothing else.

  34. arikol says:

    I would REALLY want to have a FW port of some sorts on the MB.
    Really, that is inexcusable.

    As is the lack of matte finish for the MBP, if only for the pros. I prefer the matte setup, but am not a graphic pro, so for my its just personal preference (I feel less tired in the eyes after working on a matte screen for along time.
    ANYTHING that reduces glare is good, and I would rather lose some colour contrast than gain seeing my own mug reflected ;)

    The new graphics port…. well HDMI is a completely annoying bastard. DVI isn’t too bad but is limited and a BIG port. So why not.
    I do agree that they should include an adaptor, at least to begin with.
    I also like the remote, really liked getting it in the package. Wouldn’t have thought to buy it. Turns out it’s massively useful for watching movies, listening to music and presentations. That’s really where it comes into its own. Having everything integrated is so nice.

    To summarize.
    I think the new MB and MBP look really nice, the MB NEEDS some sort of FW and the MBP is severely hampered by not having a matte screen.
    I was going to get a MB, but am not sure now, with the lack of FW. I have external FW disks and a FW audio interface.

  35. Anonymous says:

    For what it’s worth, Firewire 800 is backwards-compatible to FW400, you just need a 9-pin to 6-pin cable. Doesn’t really forgive them for not providing any Firewire connectivity at all on the MacBook, though.

    I still can’t believe they decided to stop selling them with a matte screen. I thought that Apple’s “Pro” computers were built with graphics professionals in mind; there’s no way you’re going to get someone wanting to do graphics work on a shiny screen that has glare and reflects everything around it, such as the face of the person sitting in front of it. That is seriously the dumbest decision I seen out of Cupertino in a long, long time. (Well, the Air was pretty dumb too, but for different reasons, and at least they were creating something new, rather than destroying something that already existed.) I also don’t understand why they don’t provide an adapter for the proprietary DisplayPort; my 2nd generation MBP came with a DVI-to-VGA adapter and a remote, and those are both far less useful than a proprietary-to-DVI adapter.

  36. Brother Provisional says:

    Until now, the macbook offered an affordable solution for home and mobile multitrack recording vis a vis firewire audio interfaces, such as the MOTU Ultralite that I use. Together, the shoe-string home/field recordist could have a fairly sophisticated and versatile rig for under $1,900 that fits in a shoulder bag. (Granted, there are cheaper options out there…)

    This sucks. We shouldn’t have to spend $2000 for a freaking firewire port.

  37. zuzu says:

    2GB (two 1GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; two SO-DIMM slots support up to 4GB

    What fucking bullshit. Does this use the Montevina platform finally, or is it still Santa Rosa?

    Either way, even Santa Rosa supports up to 8GB. (Although, like with the previous 4GB PCI-e barrier, things get weird if the RAM starts addressing up around 7-8GB where PCI-e peripherals started addressing down from the top. However, 6GB of RAM is totally doable and stable; you just need the G.Skill 1x4GB DDR2 SO-DIMM, for $170.

    Memory is chronically in short supply on laptops, particularly with OSX, and my hard drive is always thrashing to swap out memory (which on OSX really should be a swap partition not a swap file). If you like to keep a couple hundred web browser tabs open, and still multitask with Pages, Keynote, Mail.app, iChat, iTunes, Photoshop, Address Book, and not have to reboot more than once a week, you need 6-8GB of RAM.

    p.s. I agree that the loss of a matte finish screen does suck.

    p.p.s Also, still only 250GB hard drives when Samsung has had its 9.5mm 500GB drive out for awhile now (and priced competitively)?

  38. Vardaman says:

    I’m not sure if I like the lack of a mouse button. I much prefer the feel of an actual button to the tapping of a pad.

  39. zuzu says:

    Now they’re moving to a touch pad that appears to have no buttons.

    I really hate tap-to-click, and I’m not wild about gestures either. This also rather sucks.

    I use my thumb to click the mouse button while using my forefinger to position the cursor. Is that weird? Why would anyone want to accidentally move the cursor precisely when you need to click a button on-screen? (Picking up your finger to make the “click” would require that.)

  40. zuzu says:

    No more mini-PCI-e slot either? That’s also quite a shame if we ever want to upgrade from draft 802.11n to the final version with a new card someday. Or, if we’d prefer to replace our 802.11 card altogether for WWAN instead — particularly valuable for a 13″ laptop.

  41. minamisan says:

    I was always told Intel Macs couldn’t boot from a USB drive too. in my personal experience, though, it’s only smaller (eg 2.5″) drives that won’t boot, and I have a 3.5″ IDE USB drive (externally powered) that boots my Macbook just fine.

  42. zuzu says:

    Ive where is the Firewire?????!!!!!

    Oh shit, yeah, there’s no Firewire on the 13″ MacBook??? I thought that was supposed to have FW800 too.

    Literally ALL my external storage devices, except my thumb drive, are Firewire 800. WTF Apple?

    I was really looking forward to a 13″ too.

  43. toxonix says:

    I am all for laptop bodies being milled out of a solid block of 7075 T4 Aluminum alloy.
    I was expecting an OCLV carbon fiber shell, but there’s always next round. Besides, now that the aerospace industry is Hoovering up all the carbon composites in place of aluminum..

  44. Anonymous says:

    I’m all for the future moving in at an appropriate speed – without firewire, ALL of those kids out there who are not as tech literate as you -all are screwed for youtube, etc. this gen i supposed to be making AND watching the content… I know one kid who JUST bought a minidv -hd camera, and was dying to get a new mac… now he feels like an idiot… somewhere in histroy this happened before, hmmmm.
    if America wasn’t living on credit, Apple would drop dead right now.

  45. Pete says:

    I’m glad I got the last-gen black Macbook, because 1st gen products always need a shakedown period. Oh, yes, it’s very shiny… but my Macbook is documented by folks from Apple to Ubuntu, which makes a big difference a few years down the line.

  46. dimmer says:

    Dropping FireWire was pretty much expected on the consumer line: Apple’s way of giving notice that the technology is dead-ended and going away. Better to let people know sooner rather than later.

    Retaining FW800 in the Pro line offers a lifeline, and becomes the differentiator between the Mac Bool / MacBook Pro lines that used to be the graphics card.

    For the vast majority of users, a decent graphics card that they use whenever the computer is running is a much better deal than a port that most of them never, ever used.

  47. hohum says:

    @5, 9… Agreed… I’m totally bummed about the lack of FW. I do all my video work on my Mac Pro, but take the MacBook out to work on things with clients… My portable HDDs are FW (as well as the cameras, decks, &c. if it comes up). No way in hell am I buying a 15″ machine when the time comes to replace…. It’s gonna be a royal pain.

  48. iamcantaloupe says:

    Odd, because I was never able to get mine to boot with the same setup. I also tried it with a 8 gig flash drive unsuccessfully.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Seems a lot of people are confused about booting from a USB drive on an Intel Mac. Yes, you can boot from USB. What does not work is target disk mode over USB.

  50. searconflex says:

    why the fuck did I ever give those asshats my money, I ask you.

  51. SimeonW says:

    Intel Macs can and do boot from USB.
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1948

    DisplayPort is not Apple proprietary.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DisplayPort
    http://www.displayport.org/

  52. iamcantaloupe says:

    I entirely agree with everyone on the lack of FW in the new MBs. Considering many of my peripherals are FW, this could very well be THE reason not to buy an MB, and I have no need for all the bells and whistles with the MBP, not the extra size.

    And IRT the buttonless trackpad, I have been fine with tap clicking for years – in fact, it takes me quite a while to get used to using a laptop without it. What I do hate however is tap DRAGGING. The uncertain awkward nature of having to tap drag to select a bunch of files then again to move them is just too weird for me to get.

    Let’s hope Apple realizes these are stupid moves (they won’t) and at least adds FW support for the MB. Seriously, without the Express card slot, is it even possible to use FW on one of those new machines? I doubt there’s something like a USB-FW converter out there.

    Can I get a resounding, “WTF APPLE?!” from the masses or what?

  53. iamcantaloupe says:

    I entirely agree with everyone on the lack of FW in the new MBs. Considering many of my peripherals are FW, this could very well be THE reason not to buy an MB, and I have no need for all the bells and whistles with the MBP, not the extra size.

    And IRT the buttonless trackpad, I have been fine with tap clicking for years – in fact, it takes me quite a while to get used to using a laptop without it. What I do hate however is tap DRAGGING. The uncertain awkward nature of having to tap drag to select a bunch of files then again to move them is just too weird for me to get.

    Let’s hope Apple realizes these are stupid moves (they won’t) and at least adds FW support for the MB. Seriously, without the Express card slot, is it even possible to use FW on one of those new machines? I doubt there’s something like a USB-FW converter out there. I was shocked enough when a replacement laptop I was given didn’t have FW, and that’s a four year old refurb’ed Gateway.

    Can I get a resounding, “WTF APPLE?!” from the masses or what?

    And let’s hope they learned from the trainwreck of the first aluminum Powerbooks that destroyed the Airport’s reception. (I’ve also come into one of those recently and I get half reception sitting a solid ten feet from my wireless router.)

    Apologies if this ends up being a double post.

  54. Anonymous says:

    The new MacBooks look okay, but they should do black anodized versions — they look too much like HP laptops at the moment.

  55. dculberson says:

    Note that the touchpad isn’t just tap-to-click, though it does support that; I believe the pad itself will sink to simulate a button press. You should still be able to use your thumb to click then use your index finger to drag.

  56. hohum says:

    I’m a big fan of tapping (and two-finger tapping on my MB for right click) and was so pumped when I saw that there was no more stupid button! I hope that what you’re saying is correct DCulberson and that you can tap instead of having to click down on the pad (although I think I could get used to that a lot easier than using that space-hogging button!) Maybe I’d map the click to be a middle click…

    Anyway, I’m pretty pumped about the new trackpad and the (way) better GPU, but bummed about the black bezel (not very neutral for color work in design/video) on the laptops and the new ACDs, pissed about the lack of FW on the MBs (as I already moaned about), and also pretty perturbed about no more matte finish on the ACDs. An exciting event, with a lot of let-downs that make me feel like an afterthought as a “creative professional” when before it seemed like Apple was catering to us pretty well.

  57. agraham999 says:

    What a bunch of cry babies in here. Seriously. We hear this every single time Apple does a new rev of the hardware. I’m sure you were the same people who were so upset when they ditched the floppy drive.

    I’ve had firewire since there was firewire, but more and more I’ve found that my peripherals tend to be USB. I just bought three new 1TB drives for a RAID…all USB. I would have preferred that Firewire won the standards battle but it didn’t. Let’s all go sit in the corner and complain about it next to the betamax.

    As for crying over the glossy screen…I’m sure you’ll be able to buy some type of matte finish plastic film you can stick over your screens, which will also keep your tears from falling onto it.

    As for the trackpad…get over it already. It is like you people can’t learn anything new. Whose making these comments anyway…is this a steampunk convention or a tea party for old ladies?

    “In my day we didn’t have a touch pad…we had a button and we were glad to have it. These kids today with their fancy touch pads made of glass…you kids get off of my lawn.”

    “why the fuck did I ever give those asshats my money, I ask you.”

    I have no idea…maybe because you love asshat products?

    Sheesh…I’m gonna go find the grown up discussion.

  58. Zarniwoop says:

    Well I have to say, this does look rather spiffy. I think for the vast majority of Macbook users, (who are mostly non-professional) the lack of Firewire isn’t going to be much of an issue. (Can’t you get adaptors which plug into ethernet now anyway?)

    HOWEVER I do have 2 big issues with these laptops. First of all: why should I have to pay another £20 for an adaptor in order to make the display port IN ANY WAY USABLE? I mean, what’s up with that? If you’re going to invent a whole new port Apple, you could at least supply what’s necessary to make it work with any existing hardware. INCLUDING most of your own displays.

    Secondly, since when was charging an EXTRA £140 ($250!!) for a 320GB hard drive a reasonable deal? Hell, when was it reasonable to fit a 160GB harddrive into a computer costing almost £1000?! It isn’t 2005 any more, you know.

  59. cbernard says:

    Here’s another who wishes the MacBook had FireWire support. FireWire is used extensively in audio devices. I’m guessing Apple expects me to get the MB Pro if im at that level, but the Pro is a bit out of my price range.

    Nice to not be jealous of the new Macs… this is a first time for me.

  60. franko says:

    i’m with #17 — these new changes are welcome, and the glass screen is completely drool-worthy. i was against the lack of firewire at first, too, but then i realized that NONE of my newest peripherals use it on my current MBP. it’s a waste of a port at this point.

  61. pork musket says:

    @17 Actually, with the exception of comment 12, everyone presented good rationale for their opinions. You brought the maturity level down by flinging insults with your stream of consciousness rant. I hope you find the grown-up discussion so they can teach you some manners.

  62. zuzu says:

    “In my day we didn’t have a touch pad…we had a button and we were glad to have it. These kids today with their fancy touch pads made of glass…you kids get off of my lawn.”

    Here’s the problem:

    Ambiguity of input is really really bad.

    Accidentally moving, deleting, or renaming a file can have disastrous results.

    (I already hate that click-wait-click for renaming in Finder, but click-click for opening in Finder.)

    (Also, Apple doesn’t have unlimited undo for everything; i.e. OS X has never implemented orthogonal persistence.)

    Buttons are discrete. I don’t miss the right-click on a touchpad because I don’t have two thumbs on one hand. Actually, using Ctrl as a modifier key for the “mouse” button from left to right-click is ideal; I use my other hand to press the modifier key. But gestures and their ilk open up an enormous mess of, “No, you stupid computer, I meant X, and you did Y!!!”

  63. Anonymous says:

    Why does this remind me of the Kaypro 2000. Same old internals in a new aluminum box sold at a premium price. Andrew Kay would be proud!

  64. agraham999 says:

    #20…good rationale…I hear a bunch of complaining. So how about this rationale:

    “Let’s hope Apple realizes these are stupid moves (they won’t) and at least adds FW support for the MB. Seriously, without the Express card slot, is it even possible to use FW on one of those new machines? I doubt there’s something like a USB-FW converter out there. I was shocked enough when a replacement laptop I was given didn’t have FW, and that’s a four year old refurb’ed Gateway.

    Can I get a resounding, “WTF APPLE?!” from the masses or what?”

    So Apple is going to realize that supporting FW in the future…when fewer and fewer peripherals are coming with it…is their mistake and they will do what…take a pen knife and cut another hole in the case? I’m sure there will be some card for Firewire support out there, but it isn’t Apple’s stupidity that is keeping FW from the new MacBooks…it is called the marketplace.

    or this one:

    why the fuck did I ever give those asshats my money, I ask you.

    Wow…I can’t answer that.

    and this one:

    gloss monitor=shit

    Shit for some…not shit for others. I prefer gloss. If you want a matte finish they make a little $2 film that you can place over your screen. Problem solved. It costs Apple more money to offer two different screen choices when only one is necessary. It is easier to offer gloss that you can add matte finish to…than matte that can’t be glossed. I mean come on.

    Now they’re moving to a touch pad that appears to have no buttons.
    I really hate tap-to-click, and I’m not wild about gestures either. This also rather sucks.”And let’s hope they learned from the trainwreck of the first aluminum Powerbooks that destroyed the Airport’s reception. (I’ve also come into one of those recently and I get half reception sitting a solid ten feet from my wireless router.)”

    First…let’s move on from the mouse button debate. I’ve been using Macs and PCs for 16 years…I can function with both and I’m sure Apple wouldn’t release a product that they didn’t test and make sure it was usable. The trackpad also looks like it actually pushes down…so it is a button not just a tap.

    As for the trainwreck of of Airport reception…um…how many years back was that? Problem fixed…I’m sure they won’t repeat the same issue.

    If we are going to have a debate, have a debate on substance. Firewire, as much as I prefer it, is dead or dying. I don’t even use my old firewire drives anymore…and there is no real future in supporting two platforms when the majority of everything produced is going to be USB.

    In two years all the people complaining that their drives are Firewire…aren’t even going to have those drives. Same with cameras, and countless other devices.

  65. zuzu says:

    17″ MBP use normal 12.7mm optical drives, for which Blu-Ray does exist.

    Here’s an external Blu-Ray slot-loading drive that costs “only” $300 instead of FastMac’s $900 drive.

    But does it have RPC-1 firmware?

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