Posts tagged “macbook”.

Apple portable roundup

September 7th, 2010

Mike Grimm, darn near a neighbor to me over in Fowlerville, Mich., shared a collection of his own Apple portables – including an Newton eMate 300, several varieties of iBooks, and a PowerBook 190 (“Ready for PowerPac Upgrade“).

“Eventually there may be some of the vintage desktops, and maybe a couple of PDA shots,” Mike said over e-mail.

I don’t see the neon eMate styluses very often, but Mike shares a bright orange one in his eMate shots.

Newton quote of the week: the long haul

February 4th, 2010

“I am sure that, with proper care and feeding, I will be able to take out my current Mac, an almost 3 year old Macbook, from the basement 10 years from now and reminisce in the same way. I am sure it’s utility may be no less – despite the fact the world may have changed around it. It will likely be enough for me for a long time to come.”

- Minimal Mac. Right on, and the same is true of Newtons. I read about users turning one on after years on a shelf and all their data is still there, intact.

The perfect machine: iMac or MacBook Pro

August 20th, 2009

MacBook Pro - Apple

Low End Mac’s Dan Knight on whether to go with a new iMac or 15″ MacBook Pro:

Now that Apple has an “antiglare” option for the 15″ MacBook Pro, I think it could be the perfect production machine for me at some point in the future. The size and weight aren’t an issue, and even the entry-level 2.53 GHz dual-core model has vastly more power than the 1.6 GHz dual G4 upgraded Power Mac I work with…The perfect desktop computer would take the current iMac design, move some ports for easier access, and offer an antiglare option.

It’s a decision I’m going to make in the next few weeks as well. I’ve been working on a new MacBook Pro for a few weeks now (I’ll post something here soon), and it really is the perfect laptop. I can’t imagine one any bigger or smaller.

However, I’m a consumer Mac guy, and the new iMacs offer tremendous appeal. I always said, once Snow Leopard comes out, I’m finally going to spring for a new Mac.

And while I assumed I would get a new iMac, the new MacBook Pro has me questioning my original assumption.

New Macs copy Apple gadget design…again.

October 15th, 2008

It’s interesting that Apple chooses to transfer the look and feel of its gadget line into the Mac aesthetic, especially with its new line of notebooks.

The iMac G3 and G4 stood out on their own. They didn’t look like anything that came before them. The iBook G3, when it was released, copied the iMac G3 design (and maybe a bit of the eMate look), unifying the consumer model Macs:

The iMac G4 (see below) was a pioneering design. Then Apple released the iPod, and suddenly the iMac G5 took on its design:

The promotional video for the new iMac said so itself: the rounded corners, the brilliant white, the giant color screen – all of it in homage to the iPod.

Since then, Apple has unleashed the iPhone, with its reflective glass, aluminum casing and black borders, onto the world:

Sure enough, the Macintosh line was soon to follow. First the (admittedly sharp) aluminum iMac:

And now the new MacBook and MacBook pro (with the Air):

Apple seems to take the consumer line of Macs and make them look like whatever new handheld device that’s hot that year. Even the new 24″ display follows this trend. The only Macs to resist these choices are the Mac Pro and Mac Mini, but that’s only because they were metal to begin with.

(An aside: what would a Newton-inspired Mac look like? Would it be a rubberized green?)

The unification scheme makes the hardware sharp and easy to market, but some choices should be optional – like the glossy-only screen option. Sure, slick glass looks great on the iPhone, but on a graphic design machine like the MacBook Pro? Some color-conscious designers are non too pleased.

I don’t have strong opinions either way. The consistency across the Mac line makes aesthetic sense, and helps us distinguish between revisions. The G3 line, for instance, featured translucent, colored plastic (except for the PowerBooks). The G4 line had smooth gray (PowerMac and PowerBook) or ice white designs (iMac and iBook):

The Intel era has featured a mish-mash of the G5 designs and the new, iPhone-inspired Macs. As it stands now, the iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, the new display, and the portable line all hold up to design consistency, with a little wiggle room:

[click for larger image.]

Personally, I was a fan of the white consumer Macs with the metallic pro line. But times, and designs, change – and all the Macs are looking pretty darned good. In fact, this is probably the most consistent design scheme ever. All metal, all the time.

What do you think of Apple using its iPod/iPhone look on the new Macs?

What about the Mac Mini?

June 16th, 2008

How are Mac Mini sales doing?

I always wonder about the Mac Mini.

Every time I see one I want to touch it, and I’m always on the look-out for a cheap enough model to buy. But I wonder how the Mac Mini’s sales are doing.

When it was launched, people predicted the Mini – then a G4 – would sell pretty well. Then, last summer, sites predicted the death of the Mini. Since Leopard was release, the Mini just hangs in limbo.

It’s a shame, too, because people love the pint-sized Mac enough to mod the heck out of it. Media centers, car computers – you name it, someone has put a Mini inside it. But how well does it sell overall?

The original idea was to offer up a below-$1,000 Mac so that Window users, who already own a capable monitor and keyboard/mouse set, could jump ship easily and cheaply. The Mini could run OS X and MS Office software and anything else you could throw at it, and users could expect a machine to help them “learn” the Mac OS without whipping through 40 Photoshop filters at top speed. You knew it was a modest system. You didn’t expect a whole lot.

As it stands today, though, people are switching to Apple – but mostly through the notebook route. What’s the Mac Mini’s role in all this? A new MobileMe-only device? A music server?

Plus, OS X 10.5 requires more powerful hardware, and the Mini’s modest specs seem to not up to the new iMac’s standards, I guess I’m just worried the tiny Mac will get lost in the (non-iPod) shuffle. If sales are sluggish, would Apple just drop it? Would the monitor-less experiment be over? And what about the dreaded xMac?

If anyone knows, I’d love to hear about it.

Wu finally drinks the AAPL kool-aid.

May 7th, 2008

AAPL Kool Aid, anyone?

What did I tell you?

Apple investors and those they associate with are bat-shit insane. That includes me.

All this after reading the news from CNNMoney.com today. More specifically, it’s that Shaw Wu of American Technology Research that’s driving the crazy bus to Looneyville. Turns out, AAPL stock may be worth purchasing after all. To wit:

In a research note, Wu said he may have jumped the gun in cutting his rating on Apple’s (AAPL) stock just one day before it delivered its second-quarter earnings results…Wu added that Apple’s stock is likely to remain “extremely volatile despite being universally loved,” by investors.

Universally loved by those that actually buy from and use Apple’s product line; extremely volatile by one-man bullhorns like Wu.

“May have” jumped the gun? These people have way too much power. When has this stuff been remotely predictable? Okay, maybe sometimes. But still.

While I’m glad to see AAPL sitting at $180+ after this winter’s skydive, all the stress that comes with these peaks and valleys is enough to make one consider a drinking habit. There’s no sense or order to this business news racket. Jesus, even Fox has a business network now. What does that tell yoU?

This experiment has its consequences. I’ve got to come to grips with that fact. Even Einstein said, “Uh, maybe The Bomb wasn’t such a good idea.”

Too late. Poobah Wu says a product “vacuum” in Apple’s lineup could still suck us all under its collective madness. He even adopts his prognosticator garb to mention “a radical redesign” of Macbooks and Macbook Pros since, you know, we’re due any day now.

Maybe this is a lesson in the fallacy of objectivity; for me, it’s been like riding piggy-back on a manic-depressive yet excitable hunchback. I’m holding on, but I’m wondering about the wisdom of the prospect. My goal is to make it to WWDC in June.

After that, all bets are off.

HowTo: Magic Eraser your Mac.

April 28th, 2008

Magic Eraser for my iBook?  You bet.

Owning a two-and-a-half year old iBook is not without its drawbacks. That clean white Apple finish? Totally gross from palm sweat and finger goo.

But I’m here to testify to the power of the Magic Eraser.

It all started when a friend of mine bought a new white MacBook. I brought my iBook G4 over to show her how things have changed. She took one look at my keyboard and said, “Yuck, is that how mine’s going to look?” I said probably, but I was kind of embarrassed. I love Apple’s white, clean look. I didn’t want mine all dirty.

So I bought a sample pack of the Magic Erasers at the dollar store, and gave it a try.

In a word: wow. It’s like a whole new laptop.

I was worried that the Magic Eraser’s intense abrasive action (it works like super-powered, but gentle, sandpaper) might damage the iBook’s finish. But no worries. One swipe and the palm rest looked brand new. And the keys on the keyboard? Gorgeous. A simple application of water, wring the Eraser out completely (don’t want any water sneaking in anywhere), and a paper towel to wipe up the excess. That’s all it takes. It’s like an undo button for your Mac.

Now I just wish I hadn’t waited so long to try it out (others have met similar results). I also wish I had taken some before and after shots, just to show you how nice my iBook looks now.

Next up are the apartment walls and my iPod, whose scroll wheel is looking a little worse for wear.

[Image courtesy Mr. Clean.]

NewtMail: Taking a clamshell iBook to China

April 15th, 2008

The twins.

Hi,

I was just reading your Sunday project to install a wireless card in your iBook. It seems relatively easy to do and was exactly what I wanted to know about.

I just wanted your opinion. I’m in grad school and am going to China for 2 weeks in May on a school/business trip. I want to bring a computer but I’m too nervous to bring my MacBook Pro. I found a clamshell laptop on ebay for a really good price. Do you think if I buy a new battery for it and install the wireless card it would be a good laptop to take with me? I haven’t bought it yet. I just wanted someone else’s opinion first. I pretty much just need it for internet and word processing. I figure it would be a rugged computer to take on such a long trip.

Any tips, advice, opinions would be great.

Thanks!
Amy

Hi there, Amy,

Good question! In fact, that’s exactly what I bought my G3 iBook for – I drove Route 66 a few summer ago, and felt too nervous to take my then-new iBook G4. So I did what you did: shopped on eBay and got a cheap clamshell. I stored all my photos, sent all my e-mails, and kept my travel journal on the G3, and it was perfect. I just wish I had my Airport card then, because just about everywhere I went there was wifi.

I think it would suite your needs perfectly. They’re rugged as heck, and the wireless standard Airport uses is pretty universal. You should be able to hookup just about anywhere.

The battery part may be a bit trickier, but I know there are some online retailers that sell them. You could find one on eBay, too.

Good luck on your trip, and good luck clamshell shopping!

Dave

[Have a question or comment? Leave it in the comments, or e-mail newtonpoetry AT gmail DOT com.]

Defending Apple’s environmental record.

March 3rd, 2008

Apple now recycles iPods and cellphones

Giving all the guff that Apple has received lately about becoming more “green,” it’s no surprise that Apple would want to protect its reputation – especially considering it was founded by two liberals in Northern California.

I opened my shareholder meeting proxy vote ballot several weeks ago and found this little gem as one of the voting items:

TO CONSIDER A SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL ENTITLED “AMEND CORPORATE BYLAWS ESTABLISHING A BOARD COMMITTEE ON SUSTAINABILITY”, IF PROPERLY PRESENTED AT THE MEETING.

Could this be the work of board member Al Gore? Or pressure from groups like Greenpeace? Or maybe it’s just Apple finally getting serious about recycling and sustainability.

Just how green is Apple? Before Greenpeace launched its campaign against Apple, highlighted by its mock apple.com site (that asks “We love our iPods, but can we lose the iWaste?”), Apple was phasing out production of lead-balloon CRT monitors beginning with the iMac G4. And according to Apple, the “greening” began ten years earlier:

Apple started recycling in 1994 and today we operate recycling programs in countries where more than 82% of all Macs and iPods are sold. By the end of this year, that figure will increase to 93%. Apple recycled 13 million pounds of e-waste in 2006, which is equal to 9.5% of the weight of all products Apple sold seven years earlier. We expect this percentage to grow to 13% in 2007, and to 20% in 2008. By 2010, we forecast recycling 19 million pounds of e-waste per year — nearly 30% of the product weight we sold seven years earlier.

Right. And just recently, Steve Jobs bragged about the MacBook Air’s environmental laurels onstage at Macworld. Its LCD is mercury- and arsenic-free. The circuitry is PVC free, and Apple plans to “completely eliminate the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), and arsenic in its products by the end of 2008,” according to its website.

Plus, as you can see from these pictures, the packaging is much smaller and more efficient than other Apple laptops – by almost half. Even the aluminum laptop enclosure can be recycled.

Like they did when the new iPod packaging was released in 2006, Apple was quick to mention that smaller packaging helps the environment by using less resources to haul cross-country.

(You can also use iPod packaging in more inventive ways – see here)

You can even recycle your iPod or a cell phone from any manufacturer. Apple includes the shipping label for you, so it doesn’t cost a dime. Now that’s cool.

What seems to plague Apple, a founding member of the US EPA ENERGY STAR program, is its lack of bragging. The company is known to be tight-lipped, on everything from new product launches to goings-on at its corporate headquarters, and when the company does brag, it’s usually about usability breakthroughs and life-changing inventions. Here’s an example: did you know Apple has a partnership with its hometown, Cupertino, CA, to recycle electronics free of charge? It doesn’t even have to be an Apple product. They’ve been doing it since 2002.

Apple has used the same materials other computer makers use, but as the green tidal wave grew in strength, it quietly went about its business. Granted, pressure from the sustainability community has quickened Apple’s pace in phasing out harmful chemicals and implementing take-back programs, but my feeling is the company would have reached its public “greeniness” eventually. It would’ve had to: Al Gore is a board member, remember?

Now Steve Jobs makes a point to bring up Apple’s greening at every major public event. Never mind that they’ve been winning waste management awards as far back as eight years ago.

But any visitor to sites like Low End Mac, or even our own Newton community, knows that Macs have an incredibly long lifespan. People still use Mac SEs and Quadras for everyday use, seeing nothing wrong with running OS 8 and Netscape to do all their work. Browse eBay sometime and see what “obsolete” iMac G3s go for. Shucks, I’ve been craving an iMac G4 for a while now, and am still waiting for the price to come down low enough so I can snatch one.

Mac users hold onto their computers, or sell them so someone else can use them. Can you say that about a 1997-era Dell? Do you see kids lining up for 30,000 used HP laptops, priced at $48 a piece, like they do for iBooks?

I’ve experienced, first-hand, the type of recycling Apple users utilize: at a recent e-waste drive for my recycling group, a man dropped off an Apple IIc (which some folks still use as a gaming platform). Once I saw a Mac SE/30, and another time someone dropped a PowerBook 5300. In other words, it takes years for Apple users to finally say, “Okay, I’ve had this long enough, and don’t use it day-to-day. Time to recycle.” Is anyone going to recycle a used PowerBook G4? No. Never. It’s going on eBay, and it’s fetching several hundred dollars at auction’s end. Used iBook G4s still go for almost as much as a brand new MacBook.

Take Newton users. Here is a dead-and-gone, by Apple’s standards, product, and yet ten years after the last MessagePad came out the community is as big and as vibrant as ever. The iPhone has come and gone, and Newton users are still trading and swapping and modding their green-lit hearts out.

That’s how Apple fans recycle their computers. They either keep using them, give them away, or sell them. Or tinker. Or upgrade. Or…

That doesn’t mean Apple should slack in the recycling department. E-waste is a scary and growing problem, in this country and especially the third world, and Apple would be smart to keep its name out of that quagmire altogether. Apple has enough problems fending off criticism for its sweat-shop labor practices.

Dell teamed up with Goodwill to recycle old computers in my state (Michigan), and several others, which was a smart way to get its name out there in the fight against e-waste. Maybe Apple would want to do something similar: attach its name to a big program, and reap the PR benefits.

Maybe that’s what this whole board committee on sustainability is about. Apple sees the growing awareness for environmentalism, and – if the board is smart – wants to do the right thing by its mostly-liberal fanbase.

Because that’s the name of the game here. Apple, as a responsible and influential company
, should be doing the right thing. Recycling and environmentally-friendly products help in the quest.

But in quiet ways, Apple (and Apple fans) has been doing some of this right along.

Project: Make your own MacBook Paper, iPhone

February 6th, 2008

The paper duo.

That’s right: you can now make your own “world’s thinnest notebook” – a MacBook Paper.

See the apcommunity for video and complete instructions, including a print-yourself PDF to make your own MacBook Paper.  I did their version with some scrap paper, a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and a toothpick for the tricky parts.  Also, I went ahead and made my own iPhone Paper (print out courtesy of Gizmodo), aka iPaper.

Fun stuff, and a great stand-by project until (like me) you can save up for your own. It’s up to you, though, to attach pieces of string to make the iPaper fully functional.

I’m just excited about that MacBook Paper/envelope trick Steve Jobs demonstrated at Macworld 2008.