Tag Archives: gadgets

Yes, you should buy the new MacBook…

It has been awhile since I posted here. I apologize. Moving on… Yesterday Apple held another closely watched launch event (pun intended).  Beyond the anticipated Apple Watch (save that for another post), Apple also announced a new MacBook.  If you’re reading this, you probably already know: It is the sleekest, thinnest, lightest, sexiest laptop Apple has ever made.  It brings retina displays to the laptop world and weighs only 2 pounds.  It.  Is.  Gorgeous. But is it for you? The short answer is: Yep, unless you need the horsepower of something higher end for video processing.

The longer response: You’ll hear controversy around 2 choices Apple made, namely:

  1. Replacing all ports (power, USB, video, etc.) with a new “C” port; and
  2. Using a lower-resolution front-facing camera.

Ignore them. These are great “compromises.” C Ports are the docking station of the future. The new C port is very cool.  It is a fully-reversible, single port that can handle whichever connection type you need.  The tech media’s first reaction to it seems to be negative, though.  D PortAfterall, in order to charge, and use an external display or hard drive, at the same time, you need to buy a separate dongle, and no one likes required add-ons.  The thing is, though, while annoying, you should just think of this dongle as the dock of the future.  Up until now, almost all Windows laptops offered dock connections, and while you COULD plug your monitor, mouse, power, external hard drive, ethernet, etc. all in by hand, if working with an external display was your standard operating procedure, you just bought a dock.  You pop your laptop down and have instant network, screen and power without messing around with wires.  It’s something PC laptop makers have streamlined and was never possible on the Mac.  Until now. From here out, buy a connector for your office and home workstation, leave your external display, power adapter and other devices plugged in to the dongle and when you want to get to work, you only have to find and insert 1 wire into 1 connector.  Sounds great to me!  Plus, if this isn’t how you work, you just saved weight and space for the device you lug around all the time.  It really is a win-win. Worried about forgetting your dongle when you travel?  Sure, but you can expect high end conference rooms to have the required adapters in a couple of years, just like they have mini-displayport adapters now.  Don’t let this derail you. But what about the camera? Apple products have always had great optics.  From the iSight to the cameras built into our iPhones and iPads, not to mention current MacBooks, Apple has always used higher-end cameras and squeezed great image quality out of them. figure1_isight precision_camera-copy With the new MacBook, they’ve taken a step in the wrong direction.  They’ve opted to include a 480p camera, instead of the 720p camera you’d expect.  This means Facetime, Skype, Hangouts and other calls will all be in standard definition (SD).  Worse, the new MacBook has a retina display, so the SD footage will be noticeably less crisp than anything else you do on your device… At the end of the day, there are only a couple of use cases for the camera on your computer, and you don’t REALLY need your coworkers and meeting attendees to see you in crisp HD to make the meeting personal, so it is more for family use that it matters, and for that you have your iPad anyway.  Don’t get me wrong.  I wish Apple hadn’t skimped here, but the quality of the built-in webcam has never been a decision-maker for any of you on what computer to purchase in the past, and I wouldn’t start now. Everything else Beyond those 2 items, this is a no-compromise machine for the masses.  It has great specs, including the screen, the battery life, the new keyboard and force-touch trackpad… it is a great device starting at $1,299, which is a price point you expect to see Apple laptops at.  If you can get away with a $400 chromebook, do it; if you need the horsepower of a MacBook Pro or desktop rig for video editing, do that; for the rest of you, this is the new benchmark for your daily driver.

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