MacBook Pro Additions and Subtractions

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Date: Thursday, January 12th, 2006, 00:00
Category: PowerBook

macbook-pro-open.jpgThe MacBook Pro has some new and cool additions, but unfortunately there seem to be more subtractions. Here’s a quick list…
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macbook-pro-open.jpgThe MacBook Pro has some new and cool additions, but unfortunately there seem to be more subtractions. Here’s a quick list:
ADDITIONS
1. Faster processor. Apple claims that it’s “4-5x faster” than the PowerBook G4 1.67GHz but I’m suspicious. Especially since Apple’s stacking the deck in their favor.
2. Built-in iSight camera. While there’s no question that this is valuable for video conferencing, doesn’t it seem to be a better fit for the iBook, or iMacBook, or whatever they’re going to call the consumer notebook? Especially because it comes at the cost of 60 rows of pixels (or 86,400 to be exact) and a loss of DPI?
3. Built-in IR window and remote control. While this is 100 percent cool for giving keynote presentations, FrontRow on a PowerBook is not exactly compelling. What’s the over/under on the number of days before you lose the remote?
4. ExpressCard slot. Replaces the PC Card slot but this is also a subtraction (see below).
5. MagSafe power connector. Arguably the coolest, most innovative new feature on an Apple notebook in years. Especially if you’ve ever tripped on the power adapter and flung your jive across the room.
SUBTRACTIONS
1. Battery life estimates. Apple is suspiciously quiet about the MBP’s battery life on their Web site and they usually brag about it – which worries me. The MacBook Pro’s battery is 60 watt hours (versus 50 watt hours on the PBG4) but the screen is 67% brighter and the CPU is 40% faster. The power saving features in the Intel Core Duo processor could make up for some of this extra draw but how much? According to an article in PC World thermal design power for the Core Duo chip in the current MacBook Pro (the T-Series) is 31 watts while the low-power version is about 15 watts.
2. FireWire 800. Why was it ditched in favor of a single FireWire 400 port? Is the handwriting on the wall here? Is FireWire going to be gone completely as soon as they can make a USB dongle for it? Don’t be surprised if the iMacBook consumer notebook thing drops FW for good.
3. 8x double-layer DVD burner. Previously found on the 15- and 17-inch PowerBooks, they were dropped in favor of a slower 4x single-layer SuperDrive in the MacBook Pro.
4. PCMCIA (PC Card) slot. The familiar PC card slot is gone from the MBP which could be an issue for people that use EV-DO PC cards and those that rely on Compact Flash (CF) PC Card readers (like photographers).
5. Internal 56k modem. Replaced by an (optional) USB dongle.
6. S-Video output. Again, dongle needed (I just like saying “dongle”)
7. The name “PowerBook.” Now retired forever in favor of MacBook Pro, I’m having some trouble with it. After all PowerBook was the namesake of this Web site ten years ago. I originally suggested that Apple should drop the name “PowerBook” back in July 2005 but I think that MacMobile or XBook are much better sounding than “MacBook.”
What do you think of the MBP? Are you used to the name yet? Going to buy one? Vent in the comments below.

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