Macbook: Black is the new white, matte is the new glossy and glossy is the new matte
Friday, May 19, 2006
Wow, so after Apple unveiled their powerbooks Macbooks (how hard will it be to break that habit?), I had to go take a look. Running up on 4 years with my gigahertz TiBook, I'm looking for a new personal machine, so off to the Apple store I went. Here, briefly, are all the facts that need to go into the decision machine, some of which I haven't yet seen posted elsewhere. In no particular order:
  • The new Macbook keyboard looks futuristic and retro at the same time. Apple IIgs / Casio meets Equilibrium. It's only slightly less comfortable to type on than the MBPro keyboard, but has a strong tactile feedback when you've made a keypress.
  • The screen is really, really shiny, as in "my pores are that big?" shiny. If you have an overhead light above and behind you, or a light behind the powerbook Macbook (augh!) you'll either have a bright spot on your screen or a big picture of yourself reflected back at you. To me this is very ungood.
  • The trade-off is that the screen has much higher contrast. that part's pretty.
  • So, the black thing: While the white Macbook is shiny and plastic-y on the outside like the iBook, the black one has a matte finish on the outside. It seems to pick up hand oils but if you keep it pristine it looks really hot.
  • The magnetic latch is pretty sweet. There's no moving parts, the lid just 'wants' to be closed, but not so much that you can't open it with a couple fingers of one hand.
  • I was really curious about the screen choice. At first I thought it was just marketing and that the shiny screens are cheaper to produce. This reminded me of the P.T. Barnum story about buying a ton of tuna (very cheap) and packaging it as "White Salmon, guaranteed not to turn pink in the can." The shiny screen alone is enough for me to forgo the Macbook in favor of a Pro.
  • The kicker that I hadn't seen mentioned elsewhere yet is that Apple is now offering the 'shiny' version of the screen as a build-to-order option for the Macbook Pro! It doesn't cost any extra (and could still therefore be part of the Barnum ploy) but it gives some hope that they might offer the matte display option in the Macbooks.
  • Oh yeah, and of course by saying "And now we've completed the Portable migration to the intel platform" Apple has ever-so-tactfully said "don't hold your breath for a 12" Macbook Pro. Nuh uh."
I'll probably end up going with the 15" Macbook Pro. I just wish it looked a little fresher. Maybe it's time to get some serious sticker action going on, or look into that laser powerbook Macbook (fuck!) etching.
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