So the new MacBook Pros were unveiled today. Yeah, the one-piece aluminum casing is cool, and the glass display, and the magnetic catch, and all that. But with the black display panel and keys, they've given up some of that unique Mac aesthetic. If those new black parts were aluminum or white, I would be at an Apple store tomorrow, handing them my check card. And I'm still not sure I like the feel of those new keyboards.
Anyway, $1,999 buys a new MacBook Pro with:
2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2 GB RAM
250 GB hard drive
So now the prior-generation MacBook Pros (with the all-aluminum look and the cool keyboards) are on clearance. And what was $1,999 last night is $1,599 today -- or just $1,349 refurbished:
2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2 GB RAM
200 GB hard drive
Not much seems different under the hood. It looks like I would be paying $650 for an additional 50 GB of hard drive space I'll probably never need. Okay, the new versions also tout a NVIDIA GeForce 9400M in place of the old NVIDIA GeForce 8600M, which is apparently a big deal if you're into graphics. But if you're not...
That $1,349 prior-generation MacBook Pro looks pretty good. What am I missing? Is there something I should know about Apple refurbished (which they say is "like new" with a 1-year warranty)?
Or as another reference, consider how much less $1,299 buys in a new (non-Pro) MacBook:
2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2 GB RAM
160 GB hard drive
[ October 14, 2008: Message edited by: marc weber ]
"We're kind of on the level of crossword puzzle writers... And no one ever goes to them and gives them an award." ~Joe Strummer sscce.org
"Refurbished" brings to mind images of laptops falling into swimming pools, or being returned for some serious intermittant problem that the refurbishing process failed to catch. So $250 (the difference between refurbished and clearance) seems a small price to ease my paranoia.
But then it becomes a difference of $400 for a new model.
I do see what they're doing with the new look -- bringing MacBooks in line with the iPhone, Air, and aluminum iMacs. I didn't like the black panel on the aluminum iMacs when they came out, but it's grown on me.
So here's me trying to talk myself into a new model: "The battery indicators are on the side instead of the bottom. That's cool." (Putting aside the fact that I've never used this anyway.)
And yeah, this looks like the end of matte screens.
The new MacBook Pro has two separate graphics subsystems inside of it. One, the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, is the same one found in the new MacBook and MacBook Air models. It�s less powerful�and uses less power. The other, the NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT, is a much faster, higher-performance graphics processor...
Within the Energy Saver preference pane, you can choose between �Better battery life� (the 9400M) and �Higher performance� (the 9600M GT) for graphics. However, this isn�t a switch you can do on the fly�nor can you set the system to use one when you�re on battery power and the other when you�re attached to an outlet. In fact, to switch between the two cards requires you to log out of your user account and log back in.
But if I'm not a gamer, am I going to notice any difference between these and the old 8600M used in the prior-generation Pros?
(If it's any consolation on the glossy display front, the article says, "The LED backlighting is remarkably bright, meaning these laptops are going to be quite usable, even in very bright conditions.")
Bert, I'm glad to hear about the refurbished Macs. The prices are sure attractive!
I prefer a matte screen now, but I think I could get used to a glossy. In fact, if it's sharper I might come to prefer it. (I just got glasses last week, and I'm kind of liking this "sharp focus" thing. )
The new touch pad does look cool -- especially since you can configure the lower corners to be secondary buttons. I use a wireless Mighty Mouse now, but the new touch pad might be something I could get into. (I never thought I would like that eraserhead thing on my old IBM Thinkpad, but it turned out to be cool. Sometimes change is good!)
The $999 MacBook is the white plastic model. The Apple store says it's "new," but it still uses Intel graphics, so I'm not sure what exactly is new about it (other than a price drop).
Anyway, a refurbished Pro seems like the logical, economical choice, but as a well-conditioned consumer, the lure of shiny and new... Shiny and new... Shiny and new... [ October 15, 2008: Message edited by: marc weber ]
I found a store that had the old and new versions side by side. I have to say, the new version looks far more impressive in person than I imagined. That thin aluminum unibody is gorgeous! As Bert mentioned above, the new trackpad is enticing (smoother than the one on the Air, by the way), and that glossy display is sharp! I was also surprised by the new keyboard feeling better than expected.
So I think it's become a question of when I want to part with the money (in today's economy). The thing that's really driving this is I want an Intel Mac for developing iPhone apps. But the truth is, I don't have much time to work on Objective-C, and I would like to get a better foundation in the language before digging into the iPhone SDK. So I can put off the purchase while I get more proficient.