As I’m sure you’ve heard, Apple introduced their first Intel-based Macs yesterday. The one I’m most interested in is the MacBook Pro, which is the replacement for the PowerBook. Here are a few things to consider when looking at the new machine:

Great Stuff:

  1. Much faster then Powerbook
  2. Much brighter screen than Powerbook
  3. Built-in iSight Camera
  4. Includes Front Row with remote that can be used to control presentations
  5. Can burn to both DVD + and – R’s
  6. New power adapter (all mine have mangled ends)

Clarification: The #1 above needs a little qualification: You might notice that Apple’s web site does not compare the performance of mainstream applications such as Photoshop because those applications have not been optimized to run on the Intel chip. Instead, they have to be run through Rosetta, which is similar to how OS9 applications ran in Classic mode after OSX was released. So, Apple instead relies on showing benchmarks that measure processor performance instead of real-world performance. When they say the new MacBook Pro’s are 4-5x faster than the old ones, do not assume they are referring to real-world performance with the current generation of applications. Those applications have to be revised in order to talk to the Intel chip directly instead of going through Rosetta.

Bad Stuff:

  1. No FireWire 800 support
  2. No PC card slot, so you need a card reader for Compact Flash cards
  3. No modem (can’t fax or connect to net in some hotels)
  4. Lower resolution screen (60 fewer pixels in the hight compared to 15" Powerbook)

Stuff to Think About:

  1. They replaced the PC Card slot with a smaller Express Card slot (don’t know of any available accessories for this slot yet and it’s too small to fit Compact Flash cards from my digital camera)
  2. They just happened to forget to list the estimated battery life on the units
  3. You should be able to boot into either Mac OS or Windows OS!

I would not purchase one of the first units released because they have not been tested by a wide enough audience yet (heck most developers didn’t even know about them). I’d end up waiting at least 6 months for them to work the kinks out and check all the on-line reports because doing any critical work on these new machines.