Designed by Apple in California

If you were reading my blog last week, you might’ve figured out that I purchased one of Apple’s new aluminum MacBooks. It’s not that I’m particularly enamored with Apple, but I’ve been looking for a sturdy 13.3" notebook for a while, and this one certainly seemed to fit the bill. It runs Windows anyway, right?

After a long and confusing journey from Shanghai to my apartment in western France, the machine finally arrived this afternoon—a few days earlier than expected. In Apple tradition, the minimalistic packaging includes the mention, "Designed by Apple in California," and presents you with your purchase immediately.

I’ve been playing with the MacBook on and off for about an hour now, and I’m pretty pleased overall. The aluminum chassis definitely feels sturdy, although the battery latch wiggles back and forth just a bit (they all seem to do that, though, and it doesn’t particularly bother me). The keyboard feels nice to type on, and despite normally being a TrackPoint fanboy, I’m very pleased with the touchpad. There’s plenty of room to make gestures, and being able to swipe your fingers around to zoom text or get an overview of open windows with Apple’s Expose is very handy.

I’m also impressed with the display. I initially had reservations about the glossy finish, but the LED backlighting is so bright that’s not really an issue. The TN panel isn’t as bad as I expected, either, even if viewing angles do kinda suck.

Anyway, I still need to spend a little more quiet time with the machine, and maybe load up Windows Vista to run a few benchmarks. After that, it’s review time.

Comments closed
    • eitje
    • 11 years ago

    I bought a Mac Mini.
    I’m using it now to type this.
    I can see the attraction.

    • Forge
    • 11 years ago

    Hey look! A Model M!

    Or is that Modele eMay or something in French?

      • Cyril
      • 11 years ago

      Nope, that’s a real Model M. “Made in the USA” on January 25, 1989. 😉

    • cRock
    • 11 years ago

    It’s a wonderful little laptop.

    I just traded in my venerable 15″ Powerbook 1.67 for a 2.4 model. I think the macbook is better in just about every way. My two gripes are the lack of firewire and the glossy screen. These really just amount to minor annoyances. On the plus side, it’s fast, light, seemingly more rugged, and has decent graphics performance. It even has better battery life. It’s really the machine I’ve wished Apple would make since the days of the 12″ Powerbook (a great little machine fatally crippled by a wretched screen).

    As for OS X, it’s a decent, if slow, unix implementation. It does okay as a desktop, but it’s a pretty poor server. I wish Apple would ditch Mach and adopt a BSD based kernel, but I think we’re too far down the road now for that. Leopard seems about the same as Tiger to me. I’m just happy to keep all of my unix tools so I can get things done.

    Incidentally, there’s no one “right” way to do threads. There are a lot of trade offs and the difficulty is always in the implementation. Look at how many threading models have come and gone on Linux and BSD. I don’t think the threading model in OS X is particularly good or bad. It’s certainly not the biggest problem in the OS, that’s for sure.

    • bozzunter
    • 11 years ago

    Cyril, what I don’t understand if how you can switch back to Windows after using Mac Os, apart from running tests for Tech Report. Seriously, despite of what people here usually babbles about withouth having a clue on Mac Os, the point is a modern OS against one stuck in 90s.

    I moved to Os last October, the only thing I miss of Windows (XP and Vista) is… stability. Maybe my combination of Parallels with multiple VM etc… is not perfect for Leopard, but Windows more stability over Leopard is incredible, no surprise that even Mac websites had to admit Tiger was far more stable. But things really end up here, there are simply tons of things Mac Os has over Windows, from Time Machine to instant preview of any file, from Finder with its tons of features and facilities to the Dock, even Mail is astonishing after installing after a dozens of plug-ins. Not to mention the absence of antispam, antivirus, defragmentation programs, etc… all of them being more or less free in Windows but, heck, just the fact that you don’t have to think about that really takes you to a new dimension.

      • Cyril
      • 11 years ago

      I’m probably gonna keep OS X on there for day-to-day use, since it has pretty much everything I need for a laptop, and it doesn’t annoy me. I like having the ability to run Windows if I need to, though (bet it via Parallels or with a VM).

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        See the Ars Technica review on VMWare.

        The gist: Great drag n’ drop Windows usability, just don’t play games on it.

        • jbraslins
        • 11 years ago

        [quote]
        Not to mention the absence of antispam, antivirus, defragmentation programs, etc… all of them being more or less free in Windows but, heck, just the fact that you don’t have to think about that really takes you to a new dimension.
        [/quote]

        I feel it’s just a matter of time before this stops. As OS X gains more and more market share, virus/spam/spyware writers will start focusing on it.

        We have quite a few macs at our company (60+) and we have seen one or two viruses already. Most are simple DNS hijacks or something trivial like that, but still, they do exist.

          • Usacomp2k3
          • 11 years ago

          To be honest, people have been saying that for awhile, and the virus writers have been slow to react.

            • ludi
            • 11 years ago

            Well then, people are ignorant. Viruses under System 7-9 were very much available, however they were mostly nuisance vandalism types of exploits (some of your file system are belong to us) instead of things that crashed the Internet, and the release of OSX put a big clog in the opportunity to expand them further. Converting hardware platforms did it again.

            Now that Apple seems to have settled on both a hardware platform and an operating system and is gaining marketshare, and Microsoft is (finally) starting to screw down the Windows security model in a halfway serious manner, I would expect Mac-targeting exploits to increase proportionately.

      • Kurlon
      • 11 years ago

      OS X is ok, the main reason I use it stems from FreeBSD hiding underneath the riveted on safety covers Apple puts over any useful knobs and switches. I want to do something Finder refuses to do, I just pop open a terminal and do it the ‘ye olde fashioned’ way. Having a UNIXy/ish OS with a reasonable GUI and commercial app support is a nice mix.

      That said, core OS feature wise, OS X is pretty crude in a number of areas. Apple still hasn’t got threading figured out, or scheduling in many cases, something Windows has had nailed for years now. Building off Mach has helped Apple get the OS out the door quickly, and easily deal with multiple platforms, but it hasn’t done them any favors keeping up with more modern OS bases.

        • adisor19
        • 11 years ago

        Kurlon, you’ve read my mind in that second paragraph especially when it comes to Leopard. I don’t know how they managed to mess up the process scheduling this bad and not fix it for umm FIVE revisions now 🙁

        My main gripe is that Leopard does not run “Nice” threads as “Nice” but rather as “User”. This makes folding under OS X a nightmare. In Tiger, it was working fine, but in Leopard it’s a mess as everything gets slowed to a crawl.

        I’ve filed bug reports with them about this and they claim there’s no problem. I call BS.

        Adi

          • bozzunter
          • 11 years ago

          This makes folding under OS X a nightmare.

          Agreed… I use Boinc and I’m still astonished on how badly it works. For me it’s not a problem as having 8 cores I assign 2 to Rosetta@home and that’s it, otherwise it’s a pain. I posted in Boinc forum asking a feature which lets you basically choose to use full processor speed when your Mac is idle and completely pause it when working, but nothing, those assholes told me “good idea” and didn’t do anything. As a matter of fact, because of this reason most people I know are producing 10% output.

            • adisor19
            • 11 years ago

            Yep, and it was working just fine in Tiger. This is what bugs me the most. It would always chug along in the background when i was using Tiger that i didn’t even know it was folding. Now, on Leopard, the whole system slows down to a crawl because it won’t give it the proper priority which is : LOWEST nice level. How the hell did they screw it up this bad ?!

            Adi

        • bozzunter
        • 11 years ago

        Apple still hasn’t got threading figured out

        Uhm maybe I’m wrong but Windows is not a good example of threading, I would say. And the extension to threading is multicore support, which in XP and Vista is pretty much a joke.

        I’m curious about Snow Leopard to see how it can take advantage many cores, but I would bet it will be 90% hype (as 90% of Apple stuff, as a matter of fact. How people can buy a MacBook Pro at 2000+$ is a mistery I’ll never be able to understand. I have it, but just because last winter with € at 1.6$ I paid it nothing).

      • SGT Lindy
      • 11 years ago

      I hear this from time to time that Leopard is not stable yet I have had ZERO problems with it. I mean none. I have had FF3 crash a few times and Safari get to a web page on a rare occasion that wont render perfectly but ZERO problems.

      I have a Blackbook, from November 2007 and even thought it came with Leopard I re-installed it clean dumping the very few sample programs, Office 2004, every language but english, and tons of printer drivers. I have upgraded every point release with NO DIFFERENCE before or after.

      I have 4gig of RAM, Fusion 2.0 with lots of VM’s usually, Office 2008 (horribly slow product), Mail, address book, calendar, Audium, RDP client, and other stuff running 14 hours a day, zero problems. I would admit it if I did but I dont.

      Three things I notice that seem to be common for people with Leopard problems, PPC CPU, Leopard installed over Tiger, PPC applications or applications that are KNOWN to have problems with Leopard.

      A clean install of any new OS is the only way to go.

        • bwoodring
        • 11 years ago

        How is it that when Windows users would mention the same thing (that clean installs were more stable), it was considered lame?

          • tomjleeds
          • 11 years ago

          The difference is that many Windows users who know how still format their machines on a regular basis because they don’t like the way the OS seems to deteriorate over time. What SGT Lindy was suggesting was a clean install rather than an uprade.

          Lindy, I bought a BlackBook in November 2007 too, and while I didn’t wipe it clean I also have had zero problems with the OS. Zero. Nada. Zilch. To the extent that I find myself increasingly frustrated that Apple have no middle-ground product – I want a desktop at £699, just the tower, nothing else. Do it Apple, go on 😉

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 11 years ago

      The interface for reading a printed book goes back to the 1400s, that doesn’t make it suddenly useless.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 11 years ago

    Should be more like “Designed by Lunar Design in California”

    • Tamale
    • 11 years ago

    why did apple give the new macbook pro the old macbook keyboard? didn’t users love the macbook pro’s metal keys?

      • Kulith
      • 11 years ago

      I’m sure users are going to love whatever comes out of Jobs ass regardless.

        • nonegatives
        • 11 years ago

        Remember, Jobs is a three letter word.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      I can imagine they might not. Metal keys will act like little heatsinks and as such, will tend to feel “cold” unless previously heated by something else. Plastic keys are reasonably good insulators and do not have this problem.

      • ew
      • 11 years ago

      The keys were not metal. Just shiny plastic.

        • Tamale
        • 11 years ago

        thanks for the correction, but wasn’t the keyboard still better?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 11 years ago

          I’ve never used the older keyboard, but I have the desktop version (aluminum chassis, white plastic keys) and it’s a joy to type on.

          • adisor19
          • 11 years ago

          I have the Apple aluminum BT keayboard that i use when my laptop is on my desk and i love it. I wish it had a num pad but other then that, it’s awesome. I don’t see a big difference compared to the keyboard on my old school MBP. However, I’ll say it again : back light on the MBP keyboard is GODSENT and no laptop should be without.

          Adi

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    I, as a macbook owner, have a confession to make; I actually type *better* on a normal, full keyboard (IE:something you get for a Dell desktop.)

    There, I said it.

      • Thresher
      • 11 years ago

      I don’t really care for the chicklet keys either. I have the wirless keyboard for my Mac Pro and I seldom use it. I’ve reinstalled my KVM and use it now.

      • Sandok
      • 11 years ago

      I do find the mac keyboards gorgeous but I really can’t type that fast… The keys are too spaced out for my pretty hands 🙁

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        For me, I think it has something to do with having that “deep play” on a normal keyboard that so familiar to my muscle memory. I do 98% of my typing on a macbook keyboard, but I’ll begrudingly admit that the other 2% I spend on a normal keyboard is bliss.

        Oh well.

          • Norphy
          • 11 years ago

          When I got my iMac, I spent about a day trying to use the chiclet style keyboard that came with the thing and eventually gave up in disgust. Apple make a great OS and really fantastic computers but they can’t build an input peripheral to save their life. My iMac has a Microsoft keyboard and mouse attached to it and that ain’t gonna change!

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