Bites from the Apple: MacBook Afterglow (Now LED-Powered)
As with just about any new Apple release, the initial gasping rush of amazement and a welling up of need-now consumer lust is soon replaced by gadgetosphere bickering over either what-could-have-been or what-went missing (as well as a message from Greenpeace that Apple’s improved its green cred… but it could have done so much better). The new Macbooks certainly fulfilled those plot expectations, with oohs and ahs over the industrial design and manufacturing process (I, for one, have watched the Apple video a couple of times) giving way to complaints over the dumping of the FireWire port, the lone choice of a glossy glass screen, DisplayPort instead of a mini-DVI, and no Blu-ray Disc support or memory card reader.
The biggest fuss seems to be over the missing FireWire port, which is gone completely from the MacBook and appears on the MacBook Pro only as a FireWire 800 port (which isn’t as widely used as the more standard FireWire 400, though you can get an adapter that will work with FireWire 400 peripherals). Some have groused that this kills the Target Disk Mode and requires you to connect via Ethernet to use the Migration Assistant to transfer data from one computer to another. But, by and large, this is functionality that’s rarely needed. The bigger headache (as Peter Kirn documents over at CreateDigitalMusic) comes for those (consumers and professionals) who have FireWire-based peripherals (external hard drives and digital camcorders), who now must choose the higher-priced and bulkier MacBook Pro if they want to upgrade to one of the new models.
But Cyrus Farivar over at his Salon Machinist blog makes an interesting point noting an email exchange he had with Macworld senior editor Peter Cohen, who wrote Macworld’s article on the FireWire flameout and notes that Apple seems to be pretty good at figuring out what technologies to support and which ones to ditch.
“But Apple’s COO, Tim Cook, is always quick to point out that half of the customers who buy a new Mac from the Apple Store are new to the platform,” he wrote. “We can then infer that half the people who will be buying new MacBooks are new to the platform as well. For many of them, the MacBook’s lack of FireWire connectivity may not be a problem in the slightest; they may not have any FireWire peripherals at all.”
What do you think? Are you up in arms over the lack of FireWire? Or is there something else about the new MacBooks that’s bugging you? Let us know in the comments. For now, let’s take out the fine-tooth comb and see what else we can uncover about the new MacBooks.
- Check out some of the other technologies that Apple has laid waste to over the years (remember that floppy drive?) over at Technologizer.
- If you’re scratching your head over the new DisplayPort (which, like HDMI, provides both video and audio output through one cable connection), Macworld covers everything you need to know about this new standard.
- From APC’s “top 10 things you didn’t know about the new MacBook,” we learn that they run a special build of Mac OS X that includes some changes to System Preferences (including a new Trackpad pad and replaced the Energy Saver’s old lightbulb icon with a CFL bulb).
- Some other facts posted by Jason O’Grady at The Apple Core:
There are at least six Liquid Submersion Indicators (LSIs) in the the MacBook. Don’t feed coffee to your MacBook. Apple will know that you did.
Hard drive swaps are now much easier in the MBP. The HDD sits next to the battery under a latched cover. The HDD is secured by one screw.
- Gizmodo has an extensive hands-on look at the MacBook and the MacBook Pro, and they provide us this warning: “When you open the new MacBooks, be careful not to smudge your iSight lens. It’s positioned right where your fingers go—and ours is now covered with grease.”
- As expected, Greenpeace applauds Apple’s move to reduce toxic PVC plastics, but says it could have gone all the way an eliminated them.
- Looks like we’re not finished with this season’s Apple updates. AppleInsider reports that refreshed 20- and 24-inch iMacs will make their debuts in the next few weeks.
–Agen G.N. Schmitz