To New MacBook or not to New Macbook? That is the question.
I was talking to a friend recently and he told me about his experience trying out the new MacBook Pro that his friend just bought. I have been keeping an eye on Apple, and was intrigued by the news about the new Multi-Touch trackpad.
If you have been reading the blogs I post on Themebot, you probably noticed that I have been down on Apple. All my friends know this, and it is somewhat surprising because I grew up with Mac computers. You would think I'd be a loyal Mac user. However, I had some major usability issues with the Macbook I owned one year ago and decided to sell it. My biggest complaint about Apple laptops has always been the single mouse-button.
It looks like Apple may have finally solved the one mouse-button issue that has plagued all of the previous generation MacBooks, MacBook Pros and Powerbooks. The new Multi-Touch trackpad let's you assign a region for right-click. This would be a much better option than the carpal tunnel inducing two-finger right-click. And I could actually get some work done on the go without having to take an external mouse with me.
To sum up what my friend had to say about the New Macbook... "Very, very nice." With my interest perked, I started in on the MacBook research. After doing some bargain hunting, I found what is currently the lowest price on the new Macbook. Then I started reading up on the specs. Very impressive!
With the new MacBook, Apple has taken their laptops out of the over-priced status symbol realm and into the realm of excellent cost to quality value ratio. Apple makes arguably the best-looking laptops which also tend to have a very high build-quality. I used to do tech support professionally, and while Apple laptops were a pain in the arse to disassemble for repair, the attention to detail in the fit and finish was excellent.
After comparing the specs vs. price to other laptops, I have come to the conclusion that the New MacBook is a powerful machine with a very reasonable price. One of the things that interests me is the new NVIDIA integrated graphics card. I'm not much of a gamer, so I always go with integrated graphics cards in preference for longer battery life and less heat. If the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M can pump out more performance without decreasing battery-life, that is just great. The standard LED backlit display is good to see. And, I'm glad that Apple decide to go with the aluminum unibody for the regular MacBook. I don't need a MacBook Pro, and the old plastic case on the previous generation MacBooks was terrible, very prone to smudging and not all that attractive.
At this point, I am not interested in buying a computer if it can't run one of my favorite Linux distros. Currently, my favorite is Ubuntu. OSX is great for iMovie, iDVD and the like. But, I'm going to be spending most of my time in Linux. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Ubuntu is the most productive operating system I have ever used. I am in front of the computer working anywhere from 10-16 hours daily, so productivity is important to me. Ubuntu is very intuitive when it comes to layout, functionality and keyboard shortcuts. I feel liberated using Ubuntu. I guess that is why they call it "Free Software" ;P
There is a massive selection of high-quality free applications for Linux, and I can find just about everything I need in the Ubuntu repos. I already own Adobe CS3 Master Collection for Windows, which I need for some of the web design stuff I do, and I'm not interested in purchasing the Mac version or Parallels. That and Quicken are the only reasons I open Windows anymore, and I can run Windows XP inside Ubuntu for free, using VirtualBox. Ubuntu is simply the most stable, most powerful and most intuitive operating system I have used.
I posted a question to the Ubuntu forums about running Ubuntu on the New MacBook. From the discussion that followed, it appears that I could have everything working on my New MacBook with a few minor adjustments. Maybe I wouldn't have the full Multi-Touch trackpad gestures in Ubuntu, but I don't need the four-finger sweep stuff. I'll be heading to a local Apple store sometime soon with armed with my Ubuntu Intrepid 8.10 64-bit LiveCD to try things out and see if the new Multi-Touch trackpad is up to snuff. If I end up buying the new MacBook, I'll write a review and post a full compatibility report for Ubuntu. Stay tuned!