MacBook | May 17, 2006

So this is the announcement I’ve been waiting for. Apple have just launched their iBook replacement, imaginatively dubbed the MacBook.


My iBook is only 18 months old, but I’ve wanted to replace it for a while now. I’m happy with the speed, but I’m seriously running out of disk space. The other issue is size and screen real estate. The 12” iMac is a great size as its extremely portable. However I’m getting just frustrated with the tiny screen.

I have thought about getting a 15” MacBook Pro, but I’m concerned that it’s slightly too large. So I’ve been waiting to see if the rumors of a 13” MacBook were true, and it looks like they were. I know an extra inch may not seem like much, but as my girlfriend says, it makes all the difference (she uses the laptop as well!). I’ve not seen them in the flesh yet, but the pictures look pretty cool, and I really like the black version.

The specs of the MacBook are pretty close to that of the pro version. The main issues for me are the integrated video RAM (no good for games), shiny screen (no good for using outside) and the lack of a backlit keyboard. However apart from that, it stands up pretty well. I’m probably going to wait till the Apple store gets some stock in so I can do a side by side comparison, but I’m pretty impressed.

Posted at May 17, 2006 8:05 PM


Ian said on May 17, 2006 9:02 PM

I just got back from checking these out at the Apple store in Manchester, and I’m generally impressed. I wasn’t at all sure about the new keyboard before I used it, but actually I find that I really like it.

Most surprising though was the screen - it’s really bright and astoundingly sharp. I had real reservations about the whole glossy thing, and it’ll probably suck in direct light (just like the iBook’s then), but in a side by side comparison with the Pro’s screen, the Macbook’s was actually better!

Now if they’d just do something about that damn integrated graphics chip…

Jeff Croft said on May 17, 2006 9:15 PM

“I know an extra inch may not seem like much, but as my girlfriend says, it makes all the difference (she uses the laptop as well!)”

Andy, I don’t know if this is supposed to be a penis size joke or not, but it sure sounds like one. It’s really tempting to make a “she told me my extra inch made all the difference, too” joke here, but I won’t do it. :)

Ben Poole said on May 17, 2006 9:18 PM

Maybe I got the wrong end of the stick entirely, but I thought that part of the point of the glossy screen was that it performed somewhat better in sunlight than normal laptop screens?

seth said on May 17, 2006 9:43 PM

fwiw, I thought my 15” macbook pro would be to big, and I’m an ultraportable kinda guy. However, everytime I use it I am so thankful for the extra real estate. it makes a huge difference. I would get a pro and try it out for a few days. if you don’t like it, return it and get a regular macbook.

Mike Caputo said on May 17, 2006 10:07 PM

I’m seriously considering the mid range MacBook with the 2.0 Intel Core Duo Processor.. It looks really good, but yeah Ive seen some glossy screens in the past and i’ve steered away from them mainly because I really didn’t like them, and kind of got the feeling that they would start to hurt my eyes if I was looking at them for any long period of time.
I’ll go check them out in person before I make my final judgement I guess.

Jeremy Flint said on May 17, 2006 10:23 PM

I updated my 17” Powerbook with a 17” MacBookPro and have really enjoyed it. You don’t realize how much faster the Intel Core Duo is until you have used it, then try to move back over to the G4 and do something.

antm said on May 17, 2006 11:02 PM

I switched from a 12” iBook to a 15” PB but I definitely missed the ultra-portability of the iBook. The larger screen helped, b/c I did find the 12” screen limiting when getting down to work. I’ve since added a 20” screen to the mix which solves that problem easily.

The only thing that makes me hesitant is the screen. I really didn’t like the iBook screen when compared to the Powerbook. I’m waiting until I see them in person too, but I’m definitely excited.

Olav said on May 18, 2006 7:59 AM

The glossy screen is optional, at least on the MBP. I believe that is also the case with the MB.

Looks like a great machine, but the screen is still too small for me, even with the increase in resolution.

paul haine said on May 18, 2006 8:34 AM

The glossy screen is only optional on the Pro - on the MacBook, it’s compulsory (which is a shame - the matte screens are perfect)

Sherwin Techico said on May 18, 2006 9:40 AM

Lenovo or Macbook? Sorry, just wanted to bring something different in. But I was comparing the two and seemed to like the Macbook’s offering in terms of the extra features you get for almost the same price. Now, its only deciding whether to get the higher-end 15.4 Pro, or the black Macbook … Thoughts?

Also, besides the inch difference, I heard the Macbooks are a bit heavier. True?

Aral Balkan said on May 18, 2006 10:32 AM

Man, been looking at it too but I think I’m going to pass. Apple always seem to leave just enough out and price it just high enough to piss me off!

I just can’t bring myself to shell over more than I paid for my Acer 8204WLMi for a PC that has integrated graphics and a keyboard that reminds me of the original Sinclair Spectrum (I’ll definitely be heading over to the Apple story to try it out though!) And charging extra for adapters so you can use it on external screens is just plain cheap. (Not to mention that I’d end up forgetting that adapter every time I did a presentation!)

If they’d made a 13” MacBook Pro without these limitations I’d have impulse bought it on the dot.

As is, I’m seriously looking into the Sony Vaio VGNSZ1XP instead.

Aral Balkan said on May 18, 2006 10:34 AM

Of course, that should be “Apple Store”. Proof-reading is an art I’ve yet to master.

Ben Poole said on May 18, 2006 11:25 AM

This link is useful re the glossy screens:

And we all shine on

Damien Tanner said on May 18, 2006 3:03 PM

It’s matte black :(

Mau said on May 18, 2006 4:27 PM

Well, I was in the same situation as you… until yesterday.

Just gotta tell you that you’ll love a few things… The screen size, The screen resolution (a whopping 1440/990), the 1-inch thickness, the backlit keyboard, and the ATI Graphics Card…

It’s worth to mention that Apple used to have 3 15-inch MacBook Pro configurations… the 1.86 the 2.0 and the 2.16. They got rid of the 1.86. but they lowered the price of the 2.0 a little bit, just under $2000USD , which means that by getting all the features mentioned above, you’ll just have to spend $500USD more.

Another turn-off on the MacBook (Black) is that it comes configured with 2 256Mb soDimms, this basically makes you spend money on 2 512Mb to get to 1Gb. Whereas with the other one you don’t have to throw away the memory that comes pre-installed should you decide to upgrade to 1Gb.

Granted… it is bigger if you jump from the iBook 12, but is not that big of a difference between the MacBook 13 and the MacBook Pro 15.

Ah… and you already mentioned it… but the idea of having the GMA Gfx Card to be using my RAM, just doesn’t make me happy.

BigA said on May 19, 2006 5:55 AM

Looks like Greg is pretty happy with his - glare and all:

david,UK said on May 19, 2006 11:19 AM

Only 18months old and thinking of replacing?

Mines about 6years old and I’m only just thinking of replacing it!

I’ve decided to wait until intel release the new conroe chip to see what that has to offer.

Sherwin Techico said on May 19, 2006 6:51 PM

@david: Thanks for the info. Seems like its also good to wait and see how much the current Duo-Pros will go down in change.

Sherwin Techico said on May 22, 2006 7:13 AM

Just FYI… seems like the Macbook is a good bargain after all (ars technica writeup).

Michael said on May 22, 2006 7:16 PM

Why go black? The only diff is in the hard drive which you can upgrade the white one to for $50US. All in all, the black one is $150US more for being black.