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What are we expecting from new Macbooks?


September 21, 2008 11:51 PM PST

A substantial refresh is said to be coming for the MacBook and MacBook pros. This includes a new case design which is rumored to bring an aluminum case to the lower end MacBook. Also potentially the chipsets will be updated to Intel's latest. Also the new machines are said to be aggressively priced. More tenuous rumors suggest tablet capability. Either way, Apple's laptop market share has already jumped to 10.6 percent. The fact that John, Paul and I all use laptops as our primary machines now is indicative of the laptop numbers carrying over to total market share numbers.

So what do people expect of the new MacBooks? I know Paul is in the market. John wants one but can't quite pull the trigger. I'm tempted by an upgrade. This could be the first "Nullstream Laptop" - something each of us is willing to buy (very rare).

I'd be happy for aluminum case and hardware bump. I'd really like to see what I expected the MacBook Air would be - an aluminum MacBook with no optical drive. That alone would be very interesting to me. On another note, my next laptop will have 8GB of ram. Just saying...

Comments (26)

John, September 22, 2008 01:40 AM:

I'm pretty addicted to my 15" screen, so I'm hoping for a price drop on the pro line. I'd also like to see a higher res version of the screen as an option, but I don't see that happening. That said my current laptop has, and is still serving me very well.

So why would I consider one at all? I'd like a bit more power and certainly more ram. Also I'd like a smaller form factor and a little less weight. Throw in LED backlighting, better battery life and a built in web cam, and I might be interested.

I think Apple builds nice hardware, I have only occasional use for OSX though. I'd be running Windows as my primary OS, although that would probably get me strung up for blasphemy.

Paul, September 22, 2008 11:32 AM:

I'll definitely be picking up the latest 15" rev. One of the first things I'm going to do is install Vista via Bootcamp.

Paul, September 25, 2008 10:49 AM:

Rumors here and here.

J, September 25, 2008 02:29 PM:

New form factor looks pretty cool. Looks like they might extend the glass all the way to the edge of the laptop screen.

There are also rumors of a glass multitouch trackpad, like a built-in iPod touch. Or like the little implemented Windows Sideshow.

Also lots of talk about "the Brick" code name for some new Apple product. And the potential demise of the Mini.

John, September 25, 2008 02:37 PM:

The three most popular theories on the 'brick' code word:
1. A brick shaped tablet / netbook typ device.
2. A new mini in a brick shape.
3. A new wireless USB port extender - pull many of the ports off the laptop itself.
4. A metaphor for some Windows 'breaking' product or technology. (How do you break a window?) Since no major OS changes are expected soon, I'm not sure what this would be.

J, September 25, 2008 02:45 PM:

The codenames have typically referred to a physical aspect of the device. So I'm thinking a brick-shaped mini, since there are rumors of the mini being discontinued. Also, I'm convinced that some day, my day-to-day computer will be a iPhone sized computer that wirelessly connects to a bigger monitor, input device, web apps, etc. That said... I expect the new macbooks to be announced and don't think they would hurt that with also announcing some mini.

A brick shaped tablet/netbook would be cool, but I can't really picture it. Wireless USB extender seems kind of dumb for a major product announcement. Another thing I have to carry around and charge up?

What about the brick referring to the new touch pad with built in display? I mean, a mouse is called a "mouse"... Maybe "the brick" will be in laptops or also available separately as an input device. Though I'm not sure how that would differ from a tethered iPod Touch.

So maybe it's a new mini in brick format that also uses wireless USB for most ports. Paul will love it.

John, September 29, 2008 04:53 PM:

Ok, so this one is more of a 'wish' than a rumor, but you have to admit it is a really cool concept.

J, October 4, 2008 09:30 PM:

The Brick is a manufacturing process? That actually sounds pretty cool.

Paul, October 10, 2008 12:06 AM:

It's official, new notebooks next week.

John, October 10, 2008 12:08 AM:

Too bad no one will have any money to buy them with.

Paul, October 10, 2008 01:20 AM:

Dude, what do you think credit cards are for?

John, October 10, 2008 06:33 PM:

Actually I was thinking about taking out a 3rd mortgage on the house so I could buy more toys. It's the American way.

John, October 11, 2008 06:53 PM:

More speculation, but very interesting rumor about the 'brick'.

Paul, October 13, 2008 09:50 PM:

Photos? Hopefully, that's not the real thing, because it's missing mouse buttons and it has a crappy glossy screen.

The main place I use my laptop is on the shuttle, which is fairly bumpy traveling up and down the 101 at 65-70 mph... the first thing I do is turn off track pad tapping for mouse clicks. This laptop would be unusable for me if that was the only way to click.

Also, I can't stand glossy screens.

J, October 14, 2008 11:03 AM:

Dude - don't be one of the glossy screen whiners. Those guys won't stop with it on the gadget sites. "I'm sticking with my iBook G4 until they come out with a matte screen". The glossy screen has awesome color saturation and I've never had a glare issue, despite using it in random places around the world. The brightness of current LED displays makes it a non-issue.

Break out the credit card and order up a Pro!

J, October 14, 2008 11:13 AM:

Good comment I read online was that this seemed like a price raise rather than a lower for the macbooks. I agree, since the plastic ones were out for $1099 with $100 rebate from Amazon two years ago when they first came out. And they've been available refurb (with full warranty) for $800 for quite a while.

The Pros however seem pretty good. They were really in need of a boost.

I also don't like tap on the touchpad. We'll have to see how that reviews. With a glass touch pad they should have just put a freaking LCD screen under there as an option at least! Just nuke the DVD drive and let us dock our iPhone in the touch pad location!

Paul, October 14, 2008 11:25 AM:

I think I was wrong about the touch pad: it's not tap sensitive, the entire pad is a button. You can also set up multiple virtual buttons in software. That seems much better.

I'll have to check out how it works at the Apple Store this weekend.

Paul, October 14, 2008 11:35 AM:

Apple also ditched the really nice aluminum keyboard for the chicklets. *bangs head against desk*

John, October 14, 2008 11:56 AM:

They dropped the macbook weight by 1/2 pound and didn't even mention it. They also dropped the firewire port on the Macbook. I agree on the price raise, that's too bad. People were very excited about the prospect of an 800 macbook.

Oh and about the glossy screen, I don't know about the LED backlight Macbook, but I really don't like the glossy screen on my laptop. Very annoying reflections.

J, October 14, 2008 01:33 PM:

LOL - Gizmodo comment: "No Bluray drives on any of these make this a no buy for me."

Really? You need Blu-Ray on a laptop? Enough to justify the whole purchase? Here's a clue:

John, October 14, 2008 02:50 PM:

Going back to my original comment on this post: They didn't do a price drop on the 15". Also no high res screen option. That and the economy will keep from from dropping down the bucks anytime soon. But I will admit it is a nice looking machine.

I challenge Paul to stand by his original comment.

Paul, October 14, 2008 03:47 PM:

I'm going to test the track pad button in person first. If it's not too sensitive, then I'll get one.

John, October 14, 2008 10:50 PM:

My current 15" laptop has 36% more pixels than a 15" Macbook Pro. It has 72.3% more pixels than a 13" Macbook. Even my 6 year old 14" laptop has more pixels than the 15" Macbook Pro.

I use my laptop for software development and remoteing to work. I've become very used to the additional screen real estate and resulting productivity. I tried running my laptop at the 15" macbook resolution for a couple of days this summer to see if I could make it work. It drove me mad. I guess I've been ruined for all lesser resolutions.

Would it kill them to offer a high res screen option like other (less cool) computer manufacturers do? Sadly, it appears that I will never fit into the Apple demographic.

Paul, October 15, 2008 09:13 PM:

You could go 17" MacBook Pro.

John, October 15, 2008 10:14 PM:

The 17" pro actually weighs about the same as my current laptop. It is far to bulky for use on the bus - or anywhere else for that matter. It also costs nearly 3 times what my dell cost!

The 15" Macbook pro puts me in the classic 2 door sports car dilemma. It is amazing and sleek and I really want one, but it costs twice the amount of a practical car and my family won't fit in it.

Paul, October 16, 2008 12:03 AM:

I guess I'm not a screen real estate person. I used to have three 24" monitors, but I found it all too distracting so I ditched two of them for one 30" monitor. It's less pixels, but I feel more focused and productive. In fact, I'm tempted to get rid of the final 24" monitor since all my distracting programs live there (irc, browser).

I don't mind that the MacBook Pro 15" has less pixels since I'm a heavy user of virtual desktops (Spaces on Mac, DeskSpace on Windows, built in to the linux desktop manager) and have keyboard shortcuts to quickly switch between them.

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