I’ve now been using the new MacBook for a week. I think I can conclude that, for my purposes at least, it’s a better alternative than the Pro would have been.
What’s Great · First of all, the battery life is dramatically longer. I suppose not having a video card makes a difference, plus the battery is physically bigger. Lots of time, when I’m going to be working around the house, I just don’t bother to plug in. And with one spare, you’ve got enough hours of work that you’re probably going to run out of gas way before the computer does.
The stronger Wifi is a big deal too; I can see lots of networks that the old PowerBook couldn’t. Wednesday night, when the Washington Westin’s Internet failed to work, I opened the window and could get along just fine on the TMobile from the Starbucks eight floors down.
Smaller is good too; I’m typing this in Air Canada econo-class; the worst possible scenario, in front of the exit row so I can’t lean back, and a rude, inconsiderate person in front of me pushed back to the max. It ain’t comfortable (I so hate travel these days) but work is happening. Of course, there’s no free lunch; the screen being only 800 pixels high cramps my photo-editing style when I don’t have an outboard screen.
I really like the glossy screen; pictures look better.
Gripes · I’m waiting for a native release of Photoshop Elements, so it’ll be faster. It’d probably be smart to get a copy of Lightroom, which is native I think, and spend more time there. The non-native Adobe Camera Raw plug-in processing is particularly painful.
The fan runs more than I think it ought to; really objectionably loud sometimes.
The keyboard is OK but for some reason my pinky repeatedly fails to find the Control key, which is a big deal for an Emacs-keystrokes junkie.
Like everyone report, it smudges and marks up awfully fast. Guess I’ll have to apply that Mr. Clean recipe I saw somewhere on a weekly basis.
I plugged it into a projector for the first time at Web Design World, and it refused to see anything more than 800x600, even though the projector could really do 1024x768.
TBD · I haven’t got around to loading up Parallels and Solaris and so on yet. We’ll see...
Using the Old Mac · The black beauty is my fourth Mac. Two of them are on a shelf in my office, beat-up and not being used but I can’t bring myself to throw them out. The latest, however, is in pretty good shape and I would have held off upgrading if I hadn’t wanted to try Parallels/Solaris. So what I think I’ll do is wipe all the professional data on it and dedicate its 120G disk to being a music library; load up a bunch of the best CDs to drive the family’s iPods.