Image credit: Apple
My first reaction to the new Apple MacBook was that it's too small and underpowered. But if I did get one, I'd surely get a gold one. Now that I've handled a MacBook at my local Apple Store, everything I thought before has changed. Here's what I discovered.
Everything changed when I actually handled a MacBook last Saturday. I was worried that the reduction in screen size from my 13-inch MacBook Air (MBA) would be a problem.
I had imagined that such a small notebook computer would be cramped and difficult to use compared to an MBA.
I had thought that the butterfly-action keys would be hard to get used to. After some testing, it took me about 15 seconds to adapt. The action is actually quite nice.
I tested the Force Touch technology. Even though the trackpad isn't moving, it feels like it's been depressed thanks to a clever vibration that made me think the trackpad moved downwards.
I noted that from power on to active display was 20 seconds. The Retina display is excellent.
But most of all, to handle it and size it up is to instantly fall in love with it. I think it's the conveyed notion that one has a full-blown notebook computer that's so elegant and so light. Right away, I realized the possibilities. This computer will be a joy to handle and be mobile with.
Two pounds. It feels lighter.
As for the color, if you've listened to me on the TMO Daily Observations Podcasts, you know that I initially thought I'd prefer the gold color. But when I saw one in the flesh, um, metal, I decided that the gold color seemed somehow cheesy. In fact, cheap. I got the feeling that the gold color was bling, something that actually detracted from the technical excellence of the MacBook. And yet, this color is what Apple pushed so hard in its advertising, and it was the first color to sell out on April 10.
Then I looked at the Space Gray model. It was love at first sight.
Both the Silver and Space Gray models bring out and emphasize the technical beauty of this MacBook. What an amazing reversal from when I was looking at photographs. I wonder how many people who thought they wanted large expanses of gold color on an object so much larger than an iPhone will end up being displeased.
Image credit: Apple
I am well aware that there will be some early connection issues with this new MacBook. This isn't really, in my opinion, a Mac designed to be one's primary Mac, even if one can connect it to a larger display. With iCloud syncing (which works beautifully for me), one can and should treat this Mac as a mobile accessory to, say, an iMac.
I asked the salesperson in the Apple Store if they were selling any small hard disks for Time Machine that have a USB-C connector. (There is one; it's from LaCie.) The response was immediate and firm: No, but I could buy a USB-C to USB adapter cable for US$19. Like all the sales people, he was properly trained to respond the expected customer concerns.
My plan is to eventually get the right kind of dock. (As Jason Snell has said, "The MacBook doesn't need more ports, just a good dock.") Appealing to my experience with a MacBook Air, all I really need as a writer is a power connection and a USB connection for a USB 3 Time Machine drive. (I refuse to use a Wi-Fi Time Capsule.) Finally, my verdict will remain out on the loss of MagSafe until I've had this Mac for a few months.
Like other locations, there were only display models at the Apple Store in Park Meadows Mall, Lone Tree, Colorado. I couldn't walk out of the store with one, an effect we've come to call "being Gatewayed." That's a reference to the failed Gateway brick and morter stores in the 1990s in which one could order a computer but one couldn't actually walk out of the store with a computer.
It's troubling that Apple, with all its resources, couldn't make this MacBook (or the Mac Pro in 2013) available, in quantity, on the day of release. Without knowing the reasons behind the scenes, all I can say is that I hope it doesn't happen with future Macs.
This MacBook is designed for mobility, not CPU power. Accordingly, when I held it in my hands, I instantly appreciated what it's designed for. Form has followed function perfectly. The implications of the device are not manifested in benchmarks or ports but in how it telegraphs its utility in a slim mass of 2.03 pounds (920 grams) running OS X. But one must handle a MacBook and try it out before this becomes evident.
And that's my story of how I changed my mind about this amazing MacBook.