No more PowerBooks…

Steve Jobs has just announced Apple's new laptop computer: the MacBook Pro. Two Intel processors inside; 15.4" LCD (up to 1440x900 resolution, smaller than the latest PB model, which had 1440x960); built-in iSight camera; slightly wider and deeper than the latest PB model (and slightly thinner); 4-5 times faster than the PowerBook (by some measure, at any rate); 5.6 pounds (same as the latest PB model). Zowie. I wasn't expecting an Intel-based pro notebook Mac for another six months. They're taking orders today, shipping in February.

I'm guessing later in the year the iBook will be replaced by a MacBook non-pro.

There've also been rumors of an upcoming ultra-light ultra-thin subnotebook Mac, but those are still rumors.

I'm dubious about buying the 1.0 release of anything, especially hardware. And the speed advantage may well be offset by having to run everything under the Rosetta translation layer. And presumably some old apps will stop working because of that.

Still, pretty tempting--especially since my PB is over 3 years old, so the speed of Intel-native apps without Rosetta will be more like 10 times what I'm used to. Although my work PB is at least double the processor speed of my home PB, and I don't really see much difference in speed or responsiveness in daily use; I don't use any of the really processor-intensive apps.

Think I'll wait 'til February and see the new machine in person before I make up my mind.

Thanks to for providing a live text feed detailing all this! Especially cool that they used the new "Ajax" technology to update the page without having to do a full page reload; slick. I imagine Apple will be providing a webcast version of the Jobs keynote sometime soon, but it was cool to be able to "watch" the text version.

A few more notes, added after the page went live:

Looks pretty much just like the PowerBook.

No idea whether the screen will have the alternating-dim-lines problem the last PB model had.

One FireWire 400 port, two USB 2.0 ports. No FireWire 800! Weird.

Built-in 802.11g wireless, Bluetooth, and Gigabit Ethernet.

. . . On further reflection, this looks like it's pretty similar specs to the last PowerBook model, except with two Intel chips inside instead of one G4. Which is nothing to sneeze at, but maybe my old PB will carry me through 'til the next revision. Give them a chance to work the bugs out. Or maybe the latest-model PB will drop in price so much that I'll grab that one to tide me over 'til the next MacBook revision. We'll see.

3 Responses to “No more PowerBooks…”

  1. David Moles

    From what I can tell, the bastards haven’t discontinued the Powerbook or even dropped the price. And here was me counting on the introduction of Intel portables to flood the market with cheap 1440×960 Powerbooks….

  2. Colin Fisk


    It’s not a dual processer, rather it’s dual core. Yes, they tout it as being two processors on one chip, but in reality without the HT (hyperthreading) technology which increases both heat and power requirements and so probably isn’t used in the laptops, the dual code chips do allow for better multitasking (i.e. if you were running Photoshop and a word processor at the same time and had the RAM to spare.)

    The problem is, even with machines with HT processors, the majority of programs are not written to take advantage of multi-threading and therefore will only use a single processor anyway.


  3. JessieSS

    I have been doing exactly this same math since my iBook stopped auto-sleeping and started making a weird little clicking noise in the hinge. I just know it’s going to explode soon, but ditto ditto ditto first gen hardware, performance hit under Rosetta, blah blah. Not to mention the fact that really I only want an iBook, and I’m with Mr. Moles that something should be super-cheap right now. Shouldn’t it?

    Oh, don’t break, little iBook, I have no good replacement options now.


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