Apple MacBook Pro

January 1st, 2007 DG, Mobile Computing, Tech

Dumping Motorola in an extremely public divorce, Apple now has an Intel inside. Could it be joining the dark side? Drew Turney finds out.

Apple undoubtedly hoped for a smooth transition when they announced the new Mac would come with the Intel Core Duo chip some months back – hopes that were dashed amid post-release reports of melting batteries and yellow stains on the white casing from user’s wrists.

Even if the horror stories are true, there’s a good reason you should pay more attention to a Mac if you haven’t until now. Where the G4 iBook and its predecessors routinely priced in at $3,000 or more depending on the specs, the MacBook is more in line with the rest of the laptop world, giving some top of the line PCs a run for their money.

Good for media or multimedia nuts

It’s the essential machine for you if you’re an aspiring (consumer-grade) multimedia producer or media buff. The MacBook is tailor made for the new paradigm of sharing information about yourself by blogging, podcasting or producing your own website. It comes with iLife ’06, now stuffed to bursting with everything you need for your digital lifestyle.

In the impending era of the lounge room-based PC where the computer is the media delivery device rather than the TV, stereo or DVD player, it’s also weighing into the battle ahead of names like Intel’s Viiv.

You can cycle through your own video footage, watch a DVD, a slideshow or listen to music all without even touching the computer. Using the same remote last seen with the iPod Hifi, you simply bring up Front Row. It’s an application that appears by sweeping the desktop away in a flourish of spinning icons, and gives you single click control to access all your digital media.

Not so good for gadget geeks

If you’re a designer and gadget freak keen to get your hands on the latest Mac, think twice. Macromedia, Adobe and the other major design software vendors have had ten years or more to perfect the way their programs work with the PowerPC chip. The Intel Core Duo requires software called Rosetta that bridges the gap between the old programs and new data crunching method.

In most software you won’t notice any difference, but if saving an .ai file while downloading a .dmg off the web and switching to GoLive to make a CSS adjustment, the MacBook handles it badly, pausing for agonising periods to perform even the simplest tasks if they’re too heavy for it.

Design and functionality

Like everything from Apple Computer it’s well designed, containing a dozen little functionalities and productivity tweaks you won’t even notice until you’ve played with it for a number of weeks.

Until new software comes out that’s built to run on the Intel chip, it’ll be a poor replacement for your G5 tower or G4 iBook. But as a second computer to produce, refine and publish an online presence or simply an office workhorse, the price finally makes it a contender in the laptop market.

Price and availability
Available now

2GHz Intel Core Duo

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