Pogue reviews Apple’s new MacBook: A thing of beauty; I love it

“Apple’s bestselling MacBook laptop just got its 2008 makeover. It’s a thing of beauty, clad in aluminum like its more expensive Pro siblings. It’s slightly lighter than the previous black or white plastic models (and, at $1,300, more expensive), but feels sturdier and more sculpted, thanks to the tapered edges,” David Pogue reports for The New York Times.

“The MacBook has enough storage and power that it could be your main machine. In fact, that’s the idea behind Apple’s new 24-inch monitor that was revealed alongside the MacBook; it’s for laptops only. A three-headed cable from the screen connects to a Mac laptop’s magnetic power-cord jack, USB jack and video output,” Pogue reports. “And now the sad news: the MacBook doesn’t have a FireWire jack.”

Pogue reports, “With the disappearance of FireWire, there’s once again a lot of wailing online. And this time, I’m among them… Last week, on the phone, I got a chance to vent my unhappiness to Steve Jobs himself. I told him about my long-held intention to edit down… 100 MiniDV tapes carefully stored–of my children growing up, of my TV appearances, of our trips and memorable moments… maybe when I’m retired.”

“I must admit, he gave me quite a wakeup call. He pointed out that in 10 years, there won’t be any machines left that can play them,” Pogue reports. “Deep down, I’ve known all along that the window for rescuing those old tapes would eventually close. In the end, all Apple has done with its FireWire phaseout is to set a date for it, or at least to start the countdown clock.”

Pogue reports, “I love the new MacBook, I really do. Maybe I’ll get one someday. But in the meantime, I’ve got a big project ahead of me.”

Full article here.


  1. “He pointed out that in 10 years, there won’t be any machines left that can play them.”

    10 years is a damn lifetime. Look at the differences between 1998 and 2008. The Sopranos hadn’t even premiered yet.

  2. Quit whining about the firewire or just get the dam pro. It’s only the price of a cup of coffee a day for a half year more, or quit smoking for 3 months. You will be very happy with the Pro. Glossy big juicy screen. Great for watching movies and the speakers are loud.

  3. The DisplayPort is bi-directional i.e. not only displays the Mac screen on a projector/TV, but can accept HD video coming in from an external source such as the 24″ builtin iSight camera or an external video camera.

    This wont help those who want target disk mode, FW hard drives or moving user accounts (unless Apple updates the MacOS for this), but it should help people wanting to view a video camera’s footage to import only selected chunks.

  4. The real reason for Firewire – Target Disk Mode. I’m an administrator for hundreds of Macs and I’m not sure how I could do my job without Target Disk Mode. If Apple want’s to get rid of Firewire, they need to make Target Disk Mode work with USB.

  5. “Quit whining about the firewire…”

    Yeah, quit yer whining already! You’ll have no use for FireWire in only 10 short years, a span that includes two more presidential elections and a world that’s practically unrecognizable from today.

  6. @bob

    Already given up coffee, sugar and smoking to get my iMacs. Looks like clothes and taxes will next on the list if I take your advice.

    But I would buy the cheaper new MacBook tomorrow if only it had Firewire. Then I could use it with my new Canon HD camcorder which -when I get it – will use DV tape which I favour.

  7. The elimination of firewire from the new MacBook is one of the worst design decisions Apple has ever made. What a time for Apple to suddenly require their customers to go out and replace all their firewire peripherals with USB models! Nevermind that firewire is amazingly useful for transferring files, troubleshooting hard drive issues, etc., etc. etc. USB is useless for anything but connecting peripherals; and even then, portable USB drives are notorious for not working properly with laptops unless plugged into the wall via extra-cost adapter. Brilliant, Apple! Just brilliant!

  8. I hate to be the one to break it to you all:

    MOVE ON ABOUT FIREWIRE! MiniDV is crap quality (even when it was standard five years ago). Upgrade to HD or even a HHD-based camcorder. Film just can’t compare to pixels unless you get film that’s $100 a roll. The leading HD cameras have USB2. Firewire is on its way out on consumer products.

    If you want firewire, get a pro system. That’s what Apple wants you to do anyway. How else do you think they make money? Certainly not with software. Even the creative software is surprisingly cheap (compare Adobe). I know I’m going to get a lot of haters on this issue with firewire, but honestly the last time i used firewire was never. I know what it is, but everything I buy is USB because I have to move between Windows and Mac platforms at my school all the time, which I imagine Apple anticipates when making computers, unlike Windows-based computers that don’t include anything but USB. This difference has led Apple to discontinue it in the computers that former Windows users won’t miss.

    Think bottom line.

  9. All the whiney firewire advocates can buy the $999 macbook-it has firewire.
    What’s that?
    It’s not the aluminum one with the updated graphics and touchpad?
    I thought all you cared about was firewire?

    Isn’t that why you cry, moan and bitch about not having the option to buy a macbook instead of the pro?

  10. Here, I’ll say it again. If new MB had FireWire, NOBODY would ever buy MBP.

    Before this refresh, MBP was significantly better than MB. It was faster, with better graphics, with FW800, and with sturdier, aluminium casing. After the refresh, the only thing that separates MB and MBP are two extra inches, Expresscard slot and FW port. If they DID put FW in MB, all those people who had Powerbooks and were ready to move on to MBP would just buy MB and save $700. Would anybody here honestly spend extra $700 just for two extra inches (of screen space, that is…) and an obscure slot they’ll never use?

    Until MBP pulls ahead and becomes significantly better and faster than MB, FW will remain a MBP-only port. And it still has long and bright future; vast majority of pro audio and video outboard gear uses FW, for all the reasons mentioned on these forums during the past two weeks.

    Today, tapeless camcorders outnumber tape-based (MiniDV and HDV) by a ratio of abour 10:1. Furthermore, AVCHD seems to promise significantly better compression quality than HDV (duh… MPEG4 vs. MPEG-2; anyone surprised?). With the flexibility of tapeless clearly obvious, it is difficult to understand why would anyone purposly choose tape-based over tapeless these days.

  11. Not to mention that the US government seems to be forcing everyone to go digital (with their TVs, that is), which will result in population buying HDTV sets en masse this holiday season, it is obvious that those MiniDV tapes will quickly begin to look like old VHS-C did when MiniDV was introduced.

    How many people still have a VHS-C camcorder? Or Sony 8mm camcorder? Or even Hi-8 camcorder? Or Sony Digital 8?? How many of those still use them?

    The transition from SD to HD will be very swift, most likely significantly faster than VHS to DVD. Today, a tapeless HD camcorder can be had for a little over $400. Vast majority of those middle-class folks with children can effortlessly afford such a one-time expense.

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