Well, here it is. An I’ve got to say, I’m glad Apple played it like they did. This update has put life back into the “iBook” platform.
Some nice points:
- The new models are thinner — close enough to as thin as the old PowerBooks).
- They have a better screen size with 1280 by 800 pixels; I can’t stress how big of a deal this is, as an owner of a 12 inch PowerBook.
- Built-in iSight is a nice gimmick…but not very useful to me, at least. I suspect there aren’t that many people yet doing video iChat.
- Gigabit ethernet is a nice addition, but again, not all that useful in practice.
- Optical audio in and out.
- Don't forget MagSafe adapter and sudden tilt sensor!
- Weird, claimed better, keyboard (see later).
- Front Row
- Finally, no silly 14 inch size.
Some possible downsides:
- Glossy screen, as mentioned by Sven S Porst.
- Integrated video, just like the Mac mini. I guess it’s better than my PowerBook, anyway.
I’ve wondered about those glossy screens before, and I can’t see how they are an advantage. Surely the greatly reflectivity, um, increases the reflections you see in the screen? Update: it looks like the glossy screens provide better contrast and colour with the detriment of added glare. I suspect they are using these screens because everyone else is, and that means they're cheaper.
So, I mentioned that weird keyboard. Apple says “MacBook features a unique new keyboard design that sits flush against the bed for a sleeker, lower profile. Plus, you’ll find a firmer touch when typing. That ought to make your fingers happy” (there’s that whole “Apple product as a proper noun thing” again; I think it was John Gruber who commented on it once before). Well, sounds good, I suppose. Take a look at the shape of the keys:
Not square! Wait, look again. They look square to me. Ohhhhh…don’t let Apple fool you. That image has been scaled horizontally on their site, but as shown above the keyboard has actually a proper proportion. In that case, damn, that keyboard looks hot. Pity about that damned Enter key, though.
All in all, I’m especially positive about this release. This Apple laptop is compact, better looking than ever, and so much faster than my 867MHz ‘book that I’m quite jealous I don’t have one. All good things to those who wait, though.