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Issue 5.4


MacBook Pro

Issue: 5.4 (May/June 2007)
Author: Toby Rush
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,985
Starting Page Number: 8
Article Number: 5402
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Full text of article...

Apple's original PowerBooks were groundbreaking notebook computers, setting standards for laptops (like moving the keyboard back to create a wrist-rest area) that are still followed today, and starting the technology on the road to matching desktop computers in power and capability. Even considering that Apple has been creating cutting edge laptops for a long time, the current MacBook Pro line represents near-perfection in many regards; the current models show that Apple has solved many problems that have been present in previous models.

Of course, the MacBook Pro was going to be an amazing leap ahead of its predecessor; Apple was never able to engineer a way to put a PowerPC G5 chip into a laptop, and so the line was stuck with a G4 processor for five years, from 2001 to 2006, while the G5 desktop machines became available in 2003. When Apple finally adorned the first MacBook Pros with the blazing-fast Core Duo chips, there were still some design kinks to be worked out, as with any major redesign; the current Core 2 Duo machines, however, show the maturity and solidity of second-generation machines.

Adding to the incredible speed of these machines are several nice additional touches: the MacBook Pro sports Firewire 400 and Firewire 800 ports, a USB 2.0 port on both sides of the computer, an audio line-in port, the wonderful new MagSafe power connector, ending the days of laptops being yanked off a table by someone tripping over the power cord, and an included Apple Remote that adds a touch of high class to presentations as well making a great portable FrontRow-driven entertainment center. The MacBook Pro also includes an iSight camera built in to the bezel above the screen, allowing for easy video conferencing and chatting.

The features tucked away on the inside are equally impressive: the 15-inch model contains a 6x SuperDrive (the 17-inch model raises this to 8x), both machines use an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card, and both can ship with as large as a 200 MB hard disk. Both models have 802.11g wireless, Bluetooth support, and 1000BASE-T Ethernet. The machines include a Sudden Motion Sensor which parks the hard drive heads in the event of a fall, and feature elegant keyboard backlighting that is automatically activated in low-light situations.

One of the most understated improvements over the PowerBook G4 is the sturdiness of the frame; the machine feels solid. There is no give under the wrists, and the screen hinge is easily moved with one hand on the side without any warping whatsoever. A thin strip of plastic around the upper perimeter of the base adds to forearm comfort when typing, though very occasionally the gap between the strip and the inner casing will grab an arm hair or two.

Overall, the machine very clearly shows an incredible amount of thoughtful engineering, and portrays years of evolution in laptop design; one wonders, and yet anxiously anticipates, how Apple can improve it further.

End of article.