I’m as big of a Mac fan as anybody else, but the new Apple MacBook Pro just doesn’t sit with me as well as I thought it would. I never expected that Apple’s pro-level laptop would be one of the first machines with an Intel chip in it, but I, and many rumor sites, were wrong. I’m currently in the market for a new laptop since I sold my previous PowerBook and iBook, and I was seriously looking into purchasing the new MacBook Pro but I’m a bit turned off after sniffing around a bit. Read on for my two cents.
MacBook Pro Display Woes
As a designer, all the pixels on a display count. I constantly have Illustrator, Photoshop, Safari, TextMate, and other applications open to do my daily work, so when I found out that the new MacBook Pro has as bigger display but fewer pixels it ticked me off a bit. The previous PowerBooks had 1440×960 resolution displays (1,382,400 pixels) while the new MacBook Pro displays are missing 60px vertically and sport 1440×900 resolutions (1,296,000 pixels). This is a decrease of about 6.25% in the number of pixels, which translates into a missing block of pixels 1440x60px wide. That really long rectangle could have held a longer Photoshop image, more GarageBand instrument tracks, more video overlays in a timeline, more icons on your desktop, your Dock, and a host of other things. 60px may not be a lot to some of you, but for pro-level users it’s almost a slap in the face and a huge downgrade. I want my 60 pixels back!
Yes, the new displays are brighter, but come on, the previous generation PowerBook displays were already amazing so what more do you really need? Did anybody out there actually yearn for better PowerBook displays or think the current ones needed dramatic improvement? Out of everyone I spoke with in the 9rules MWSF chatroom I don’t remember anyone complaining about how the old PowerBook displays sucked. Would you be willing to trade 86,400 pixels for a brighter screen? I certainly wouldn’t. It’s like cutting off your big toe but making your remaining toenails all shiny and polished. Just not worth it.
Connections Don’t Matter
Another major “feature” that irked me was that the new MacBook Pro doesn’t have an S-Video port like the previous generation. I’ve given presentations where that port has
come in handy saved my life, so not having it there is like a car being produced with one fewer airbag. In case of an emergency, you are now missing the connector that might make the difference between a perfect presentation and one that crashes before getting off the ground. Adapters are available, but I’m the type of person who regularly forgets his cellphone charger when traveling (that’s why I currently own 4 chargers, strewn about my place) so me remembering a DVI-SVideo dongle is not very likely.
Apple has been pimping its FireWire 800 interface for a little while now, so it’s only natural that its pro-level machines have it….. right? Nope. The new MacBook Pro is lacking a FireWire 800 port, so everybody who dropped cash on half-terabyte FireWire 800 drives is probably sucking wind right about now. I found this omission a bit odd, considering how much Apple pimped the old PowerBook’s FireWire connectivity.
Backing Up Is Hard To Do
For creative professionals who dream in uncompressed video, images, and audio, backing up is a way of life. I personally back up constantly, afraid that my work might get tainted somehow and I’ll lose that perfect layout that I sweated over. The current MacBook Pro doesn’t have dual-layer DVD burning anymore, something that the previous generation had that was totally useful. Now I have to backup my work onto separate DVDs — huge pain in the ass.
Maybe sticking the dual-layer burner in there would make it too thick? Nope, the 17″ PowerBook has a dual-layer burner and it’s just as thin as the new MacBook Pro. What a conundrum.
I’m Still Waiting
I think it was a bit premature to jam the new Intel processor into the PowerBook, simply because many professionals use these pro-level laptops to get actual work done, and with fewer pixels, fewer connections, and one less way to backup a computer (not to mention the lack of AltiVec/Velocity Engine which slows multimedia processing waaaaaaaay dowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn regardless of how speedy the clock cycles run) I think I’m going to wait until the next version of the MacBook Pro, or pick up a 15″ PowerBook and hope for the best.