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April 17, 2006

Time for a New Mac?

I'm all geared up to replace my 12" PowerBook G4 with a new Mac laptop. I've had this laptop for 3 years now and it's been through a lot.

Unfortunately, there's not a clear choice for a replacement. I'd love to have something in hand by the end of the week as I go off to the MySQL Users Conference (oh how I hate the thought of lugging my Dell out there). Even better would be to have a decision made so I can go purchase a new laptop at that iconic San Francisco flagship Apple store or the Apple headquarters in Cupertino.

The only curently avaiable choice is the MacBook Pro. With Apple switching over to Intel processors, it would probably be foolish to get into a PowerPC laptop now. There's a chance I could have one of those new MacBook Pro laptops in hand by the end of the week, but there are some uncertainties.

First, rumors abound that Apple is close to announcing the MacBook, a smaller Intel-based laptop, soon. There's a chance that the smaller laptop will better meet my needs. So I should for sure wait for that announcement to evaluate whether the MacBook is a better option than the MacBook Pro.

Secondly, there are some uncertainties about the MacBook Pro. The Ars Technica MacBook Pro review is pretty positive, but it seems there are mixed feelings based on the fact that Apple couldn't get a thin enough DVD drive, try to avoid conversations about battery life, and haven't mastered the mag-safe power connector.

Last, I'm not thrilled about having to upgrade applictions to use the Intel processor. I was really in the pits about this but as I built my list of applications and checked the various sites most of them are already available in universal binary. I use the Mac-included apps heavily (Mail, iTunes, iCal, iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto etc), so not including them in the list:

Running Photoshop and Final Cut in Rosetta (the PowerPC->Intel emulator) is not going to be great, and I bet the cross-grade isn't going to be free (esp since I'm on an old version of Photoshop). Maybe it's time for GIMP (beta testing for universal binary just winding down) and Cinelerra (very shaky on Darwin).

But having looked down the applications folder it doesn't seem that I'd be too far from complete niversal binaries for the applications I run.

I guess I just wait until the right choice becomes clear.

Posted by mike at April 17, 2006 9:25 AM