Steve Jobs doesn’t like seams it seems
Review: MacBook Pro
By Gregor Naudé, Enjin magazine
Steve Jobs doesn’t like seams. I know this because the 15-inch MacBook Pro sitting in front of me is largely devoid of the seams common to earlier aluminium MacBook Pros. In fact, the main chassis around which this newest of Apple’s laptops is built is carved out of a solid block of aluminium using a new process that, according to Apple officials, creates lighter, stronger, more environmentally friendly machines.
Who cares whether your laptop is built using some fancy new process? You should. Laptops are meant to be carted around, tossed into briefcases, picked up, put down, thrown in the back seat, used on the couch. The advantages for mobile computing inherent in this new ‘unibody’ process show in the new MacBook Pro.
Actually, it is felt more than seen. Typing on the keyboard has the feel of pressing down on keys that have been mounted on a square of solid metal. This is true even with the switch to the ‘chiclet’ keys that until now have shown up only on the MacBook and MacBook Air. And I’ve never used a more solid-feeling laptop – or keyboard – in all my years of using Macs. Apple calls it ‘pure typing bliss’. That’s not just market-speak. It’s true.
The keyboard isn’t the only change. There’s a new, glass-coated trackpad (slick!) that’s 39 per cent larger than the old one and does away with the clicker button completely. The stunningly bright 15.4-inch LED screen (sharp!) sports a shiny, piano-black bezel. A new magnetic latch has replaced the annoying release button. The peripheral ports have been relocated so that they all run along the left side of the MacBook Pro, with the optical drive now located to the right.
There’s also a different video out port – the new industry-standard Mini DisplayPort . All of the ports are more deeply inset than before.
There is also a notable update of the hardware under the hood. The MacBook Pro has a new Intel Core 2 Duo processor (you get either a 2.4GHz or 2.5-GHz chip, depending on which MacBook Pro you buy), two new NVIDIA graphics processors, a faster 1066MHz front-side bus and multiple hard drive options, including a 128GB solid-state drive. And for those who like to track Mac OS X build versions, this one’s running 10.5.5 build 9F2114.
Prices for the two MacBook Pros remain unchanged:
R24 000 (VAT included) for the 2.4GHz ‘basic’ model and
R28 995 (VAT included) for the slightly faster 2.53GHz model, which also doubles the standard amount of RAM to 4GB and offers more storage space. Both weigh about the same as the previous model – 2.5kg – but they’re slimmer, checking in at 2.4mm thick with the lid closed.
Not all is perfect in Mac-land. If you’re a fan of FireWire 400, you’ll be annoyed to learn that Apple has dropped that connector port, leaving behind a single FireWire 800 port and two USB 2.0 ports. FireWire 400 has been largely supplanted in the marketplace by USB 2.0, but it still has lots of fans – not surprising, given that Apple was an early backer and countless video cameras, hard drives and other peripherals have relied on it for years.
What Apple MacBook
Price From R24 000
Reprinted from Enjin magazine.