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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5 Responses to “MacBook Pro Additions and Subtractions”

  1. Well, I ordered one, but I’m not ecstatic about the lack of modem, actually. I don’t use it often, but when I do, I really need it. So I ordered a USB modem with it . . .
    What really bugs me is the lack of a 12″ option. I really wanted a lighter unit than my current 12″ one, but now I’m gaining a pound, losing a modem, but getting a lot of speed (hopefully) and a much bigger screen.

  2. A guess about Battery Life?!!
    Look here:
    h**p://www1.euro.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspn_9400?c=uk&cs=ukdhs1&l=en&s=dhs
    This brand new Dell (apparently not available in the US yet) is in many ways similar to the MacBook Pro, but offers a wider choice of processors (Intel T2300 (1.66 GHz) T2400 (1.83 GHz) and T2600 (2.16 GHz) ), sports a 1920 x 1200 widescreen 17″ display and NVIDIA 7800 GT graphic card.
    Other features are very similar to the MacBook Pro, including SATA hard drive limited to 100 GB (5400 and 7200 rpm), single layer DVD+-RW (ithough it’s an 8x), ExpressCard/34 or 54, intead of the PC Card slot.
    Maybe new Intel design prevents some features (FW800, larger SATA HDs, DL DVDs ..) from working (for now), or maybe battery life may be an issue with too many extras, or maybe… Apple and Dell were on hurry to deliver the first Yonah portables to the market and made some (hard) work “together”…
    … ah, battery life is 3.2 Hrs with 1.83 GHz T2400 and 53 WHr battery. But Dell has a 17″ Display, so MacBook Pro with 15.4” diplay and 60 WHr battery should last longer ;-).
    Cheers!
    Aueua

  3. I think it’s funny that the positives in this article are all negatively slanted. What about progress, man? I am a pro user, and WANT an iSight. See, I travel for work, so my wife and I can see each other while I’m on the road via our built-in iSights once I get an MBP to complement the iMac we’re ordering.
    FW800? I have a drive, but it’s triple interface, and I have issues with it on FW800, so I end up using FW400 or USB2 anyway. I know this is an issue for others, but I think for far fewer than you realize. And the same goes for PCMCIA. I’d actually be happy to ditch the card slot all together, but whatever.
    Guys, realize that progress of some kind comes with a price. I know it sucks sometimes, but we’re getting processor improvements, among some others, and, yes, that means some things will have to go.
    Lastly, power consumption. Don’t forget that the power per watt of the Yonah is better than the G4 (and G5, obviously), so it’s not fair to base any estimates on the PBG4…gotta go on the Ars guy or the Dell machine to get a sense. My PBG4 gets about 1.5 hours, so I’ll be happy to double that.
    Also, no one mentioned the memory improvements, including the chip speed, FSB speed, L2 cache growth. Danm, give Apple A LITTLE credit.

  4. Battery Life: HP with Core Duo might be a clue.
    http://www.pcmag.com article2/0,1895,1910230,00.asp
    Booting Windows XP? (no.)
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1910230,00.asp

  5. For those needed EVDO, we started a page to keep everyone up-to-date on what options are available (or will be available) for MacBook Pro:
    http://EVDOinfo.com/Tips/PC_5220/MacBook_Pro_and_EVDO_20060111671/