MacBook Pro…Umm OK?

So wait, help me understand this…

I thought we were at an exciting time in technology? I thought our thinking was being reset. New ideas. New inventions. If that’s the case, then why is the proverbial Bar (capital “B”) been set so woefully low by bloggers and the press alike?

Last week, Google had us all doing tricks for the next biscuit treat at last week’s CES keynote. So what do they give us? Well, they gave us…nothing really. Well, it is something. It’s a collection of trialware and shareware, bundled up with some of Google’s own stuff for download. It’s pretty much the same clutter most of us uninstall when we first boot up our Dell boxes. Regardless, we all got sort of excited. Maybe it’s just Pavlovian at this point.

So yesterday, the Cult of Apple gathered ‘round to the Altar of Steve Jobs to see what was next. And of course, they cheered and clapped for…a faster laptop. And the masses exalted. Hell, some of them even started crying. It’s, you know, faster. As if we aren’t perpetually bombarded with faster, more powerful hardware on a regular basis. I mean, it’s not even incidental. Moore’s Law practically requires us to keep going faster and faster. Mind you this thing is four to five times faster. That’s a lot faster. Of course, that’s comparing it to the previous generation that was introduced nearly four years ago. So if you do the math, 4X is exactly where we should be. Man, that Moore guy sure was smart.

Of course that’s not all. There’s one other feature that really got the crowd going.: The power supply. Well, not the power supply itself, just the plug end. That’s right. It’s not just any power supply. It has a magnet or something built into it so it elegantly unplugs if your drunk roommate rushes over to show you some new video that’s spreading around YouTube.

So yeh, welcome to this new kind of hype. It’s sort of like glorified infomercials. Maybe there just isn’t that much to say on the Web every single day. So we can’t help but just talk about and get excited about everything.

[Author’s Note: I’ll admit that part of the motivation behind this posting is the desire to get a rise out of, and thus garner scathing, hurtful commentary from the Apple zealots out there. So have at it.]

14 Comments MacBook Pro…Umm OK?

  1. Leif Wells

    Well, if you owned a PowerBook that you loved (and were addicted to in a sadly co-dependent way) and that had been stuck at the same speed for *years*, and you had absolutely no reason to upgrade… then you might actually cry when the answers to your prayers is announced.
    Also, if you ever had a power supply break off on *any* laptop from any laptop manufacturer, you’d know how great the new connector is — a lot of times the manufacturer will tell you that you need to replace the whole laptop.

    Reply
  2. Rich Ziade

    Leif:
    As an experience designer, I have nothing but respect for the way Apple works and the philosophy behind their products.
    I just wanted to have a little fun with the Cult of Nothingness that seems to be prevalent these days.

    Reply
  3. Mike D

    now that the mac zombies finally have a laptop with a processor worthy of the 2nd millenium, just think – they’ll be able to click on their silly one mouse button that bit quicker. They may even break out into a sweat beneath their polo necks.

    Reply
  4. Mike D

    It’s a kind of shirt, a roll neck. The stereotypical Jobs shirt. You’d think he’d be able to ahem ‘think different’ and wear something different now and again (thought mac zombies were supposed to be creative? pfft) ;)

    Reply
  5. Nomadman

    Well, no. Your analysis is flawed. A faster powerbook is not just a faster piece of hardware and an Intel-based powerbook is not just a faster powerbook. On my desktop I have a dual processor 2.0 GHz per processor G5 PPC. Not so long ago, the fastest desktop personal computer mortals could buy. Today a couple of Macromedia Studio 8’s applications running at the same time on that machine bring it to a crawl… OK, I exaggerate, but they do noticeably slow it down. Yet This software is so much more that its predecessor. Faster hardware means being able to run more resource-intense, more capable software. The MacIntosh II SE I used 16 years ago, wasn’t slower in performance that my DP G5 today. It just ran a single, black and white, infantile-compared-to-today’s-applications application on a processor that today would have a hard time to run a calculator.
    And Intel powerbooks are a promise of continued Apple innovation. You see, you can’t innovate on software if you don’t have hardware capable of running it. Powerbooks are actually a great example. They have been outdated in speed for 2 years now. And that seriously limited what could be done on them in comparison to a desktop. Now they are back on the game.
    Sometimes innovation is not in what’s actually delivered, but on the doors that are opened for the future.

    Reply
  6. David

    They are flipping their entire product line from PowerPC to x86 and that’s not a big deal? Hell ya’ that’s a big deal.

    Reply
  7. Rich Ziade

    Ah. Now I understand. Yeh, it’s that whole understated thing.
    Here I am… in black. Wooooooosh!
    Apple’s always catered to the designer mindset. Mac’s live outside the geek world.
    There’s a blog entry here about the sociological makeup of Mac users vis a vis PC users…

    Reply
  8. Rod

    Just for the record, I think the speed comparisons are with the latest revision of the Power PC Powerbook, not with the one that was introduced 4 years ago.
    Some of us are not into cults, we just like our technology to work well and look good.

    Reply
  9. Saleh

    What about the new brands? MacBook Pro? Man that’s an awfull name. I never liked the PowerBook either although I’m hot to get one.
    Any ideas? why is it so lamely named this time again? I mean iBook is cool brand, but MacBook Pro? it’s just out of Apples nice branding style.

    Reply
  10. Peter

    outside the geek world!!?? or you high?? mac OS10.4 is built on a modified bsd kernal, its a fully posix compliant kernal with a terminal commadline. I develop all my code on iit and just package up the tarball for deployment on my production servers. OSX is an OS worthy of any geek. and FYI, objective c is awsome, now if only apple would speed up with the automated garbage colection system

    Reply
  11. Rachel

    hehe… love it that you get piles of comments on the Apple related entry… we’re a predictable lot, us Apple cultists, huh? ;) For what it’s worth, Saleh’s right – MacBook Pro is a gawd-awful name worthy of something Quark would have come up with 8 yrs. ago. Ah well – can’t win ’em all. And yes, someone does need to buy Steve a different coloured turtleneck.
    Actually I think Cult of Nothingness would better describe the current state of software release in general – or rather, the rush to Beta (or with Riya – the rush to alpha…gag). Having said that, you hit on something when you talk about bloggers and news reporters – it’s inevitable in a shortenned news cycle that people learn to clap their hands and drool on command even faster, to keep up with the processors, I suppose.

    Reply
  12. Alex

    A quick note on the “magnet” power supply: it would have come in handy last month when I tried to lift my PowerBook off the table whilst standing on the power cord… which proceeded to yank the whole thing out of my hands. Next thing I knew, $5000 worth of grunt ends up on the POLISHED FLOORBOARDS with a great big dent – on both it AND the floor actually (and ps, we’re RENTING, so they aren’t even OUR floorboards that we have to fix!). So yeah, for anyone who’s ever had that sort of thing happen (and probably ended up in a faetal position like myself) the magnetised, “safely-disconnects-itself” plug thing is a godsend. Just too late for me! :-P
    Otherwise… enjoyed the article, and us Mac zealots hate you back!

    Reply

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