Posts for Tag: macbook air

New MacBook Pro design should focus on bigger, better, faster - not thinner...

Apple's choice of processors may depend on how dramatically it redesigns the MacBook Pro next year. Rumors have persisted that Apple is working on ultra-thin models that may represent a complete overhaul of some of the MacBook Pro models, making them more Air-like in design.

There are lots of rumblings that Apple will kill the optical drive in its 13" and 15" MacBook Pro line. It seems the 17" will still keep the drive to satisfy the few hardcore production people who for some reason still work with DVDs (not Bluray, mind you). The question becomes, well what do you do with all that real estate now that an optical drive is no longer there. There have been rumors of an ultra-thin Air-like 15" MacBook (Pro or Air?).

If it were up to me, I'd stay away from thinner. Maybe a little thinner is ok but don't try to create a 15" MacBook Air. As a previous Air owner, I loved the sleek design and super light machine. However, I found myself growing tired of how under-powered it was and the constant high whirring of the fan when I did more CPU intensive activities. I eventually switched to a 13" MacBook Pro and thought it was a great compromise between power, performance and size. So I would hate for them to kill the 13" MacBook Pro in favor of sleeker underpowered (relatively speaking) machines. Instead, take the empty real estate and either add more storage, RAM, or better yet more batteries. At the very least, just take out the drive so it's slightly lighter but don't trade sleek for power when the 13" MacBook Pro is already pretty sleek.

Hello New Mac Mini - Bye-bye Optical Drives

Along with today's Mac OS X Lion release, Apple refreshed the MacBook Air and Mac Mini with new chipsets and beefier configs while keeping prices the same or lowering them in some cases. While no major structural changes were made to the MacBook Air (Thunderbolt added and backlit keyboard brought back!) the Mac Mini lost its internal Superdrive completely. Last year's server version removed the optical drive and now the desktop version is DVD free, as well. Yet another sign of Apple's march towards zero internal optical drives for all its machines.

The move is hardly a surprise. Forget about Apple's desire to be cutting edge. CDs and DVDs as a technology are just outdated. People don't carry around CDs for listening to music any more. Virtually all movies released to date are on Blu-ray or are being streamed via Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, etc. CDs and DVDs to deliver software is dying a slow death (hastened by App Stores of all types) and optical discs never really caught on for on the go data storage. USB thumb drives are more practical and the combination of continuously falling prices and ever increasing sizes make it a no brainer. Would I want to carry around 4-8 DVDs or one 32GB USB flash drive (currently priced at about $40 and falling). Also, Apple just killed another reason for you to use an optical drive by letting all new Macs reinstall the operating system over the internet (very cool).

I'm not against optical drives in general. I do see the need for them when watching Blu-ray movies (though not available on a Mac) or when needing to store huge files cheaply (about $1 per 25GB blank disc or $7 for 50GB blank disc). I just don't need to use them ALL THE TIME. That's why a laptop (or Mac Mini) coupled with an external USB Blu-ray drive is a great solution. You shouldn't have to devote 25%-35% of your machine's internal real estate to a peripheral you only use 1% of the time, if that much.

Why are PC people so angry?

I'm bitching about how stupid people are to pay for a machine that has so many drawbacks. So stop being Apples bitch and paying out the ass for their products.

Are you one of the non-technologically inclined idiots that Apple has gotten to? Thats what it sounds like to me.

The above is a comment from a TechCrunch posting by the famously pro-Apple MG Siegler. It's always funny how the spectrum of Apple lovers/haters plays out. People either REALLY love them or REALLY hate them.

The posting itself brings up some good points about Apple's eventual killing of the optical drive in most of their laptops. I can count the number of times I've used the optical drive on my laptop in the last two years on one hand yet it's persistently there taking up valuable space and weight. When I owned a MacBook Air, I bought the external superdrive and probably used it 3-4 times, as well. Would I buy a laptop without a built-in optical drive but have an external one handy? Absolutely and that's what I think Apple will do in its next refresh of the MacBook Pro line.

Speaking of new MacBooks, I just ordered the latest 13" MacBook Pro via Amazon. Arrives on Monday - no tax and free shipping via Amazon Prime. Early benchmarks show that the lowest end MacBook Pro 13" released on Thursday performs as fast as the highest end MacBook Pro 17" released last year. Crazy!

Laptop comparisons

So I was accused the other day of being a Mac snob which is odd given that I only started using them a couple of years ago (not counting my Apple IIe days). The first Mac I bought at that time was a Macbook Air. I had been using a 15.4" Dell Inspiron which was pretty heavy and also on its last legs so I thought it was a good opportunity to try a super-light computer. Also, I had been using the iPhone for about 6 months and wanted to see how pairing a Mac with an iPhone would be. The experience was good so my next machine was an aluminum Macbook (the one that was stolen). During that time, I wouldn't have been against going back to PC laptops but there weren't any compelling reason to do so. When I switched from the Inspiron to the Air, it was because I wanted the lighest laptop available at the time. Is there a PC laptop that could make me want to switch back? I guess I did my version of the Laptop Hunters commercial...

I had pretty strict requirements for my laptop. 13" to 14", about $1200, light, and must have good battery life. On the Apple side, the 13" Macbook Pro was the standard by which I would compare all the PC laptops. Here's the rundown on what I found:

Dell M2400
14.1" WXGA+ LED
2.53ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
160GB 7200RPM Hard Drive
DVD burner
3-4 hour battery
Backlit keyboard
$1,464 after $328 instant savings

HP Envy 13
13.1" HD LED
2.13ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
250GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
DVD burner
~6-7 hour battery

Sony Vaio SR590
13.3" LED
2.20ghz Intel core 2 Duo
250GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
DVD Burner
5.5 hour battery

It actually looks like the Sony Vaio SR590 is pretty decent. Still not enough to make me want to switch back to a PC laptop but I think it's a good laptop for the money.

I don't blame Microsoft. I blame the hardware manufacturers.

Ever since my unfortunate incident, I’ve been working on a Lenovo R60e spare laptop we have in the office.  It’s a huge adjustment to make going from an Macbook to a plastic feeling laptop.  But it’s a hardware adjustment and not a software one.  For the record, I actually really like Windows XP Professional.  It’s stable, easy to use, and very effective for most work related tasks.  Office 2007 has its issues but it’s no biggie.  I actually prefer Office 2003 but maybe that’s because I’m just more used to it.  Vista and Windows 7, however are garbage but I’ve already discussed that before.

Though this is an older laptop (probably circa 2006), I haven’t really seen a huge leap in usability/comfort/innovation from PC laptop manufacturers.  Either they build really expensive machines with a bunch of useless features (Sony VAIOs or Lenovos for instance) or they err on the side of cost effectiveness and build cheap laptops that make CFO’s happy but are lackluster from a usability standpoint (Dell, HP, etc).  Yes, I can buy a Dell Vostro for under $500 but it’s heavy, bulky, and feels cheap.  The really sad part is that in about 6 months, the value of that machine is basically halved by a combination of its cheapness and the fact that Dell builds its computers to be relaced within 2 years.  When I bought my Macbook Air in early 2008 for about $1600 (got a sweet deal).  I sold it over a year and a half later for about $1200.  It held 75% of its value 18 months after I bought it!  When was the last time you could say that about any computer technology?

With rumblings of an update to the Macbook Pro line coming soon, I’ll hold off on getting another Macbook until then.  I’ll probably just pick up the version just before the latest one and save a few bucks.