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06/25/2006: "what's up with the new Macs?"

I am a Mac person. I like the way they work, I like the way they're designed, and I simply find them much more friendly than any Windows-based computer I've ever used. Truthfully, the only reason I'd ever use Windows again (or ever do so on a daily basis) is because none of the professional software I use has been ported to a Mac.

I am also now a laptop convert. I love the portability, the small footprint, and the fact that they're a heck of a lot more energy efficient than typical desktop computers are. The sleep function is my absolute favourite, where I can just close my laptop, leave it for a time, open it up and it's up and running again. No rebooting or waiting around, just open and work.

Having said all that, I'm really wary of the new Mac laptops now. I'm very glad I don't have to make a purchase anytime soon.

Yes, the Macbook and Macbook Pro have been garnering rave reviews. I'm guessing this has more to do with the fact that they finally have a CPU that's been steadily progressing and is thereby a lot more powerful, as opposed to the G4 line of processors that pretty much plateaued. I'd be giddy with 4x the processing power too.

Some of the additions to the laptops are nice as well; the Magsafe power connector, the built-in iSight, the remote control, the easy-to-upgrade hard drive and memory, and the ability to dual-boot both OS X and Windows, so I could then install my professional software. However, there are a few too many issues that have arisen with these new models to make me comfortable purchasing one anytime soon.

First, it was the overheating. At first it was sloppily-applied paste on the heat sink (or so the theory went). Some people managed to clean up the extra paste and things started to run cooler, but I haven't heard a definitive analysis of that situation. In other cases, a plastic strip wasn't removed before shipping that was covering the vent, preventing heat escaping. That fix was as simple as pulling the plastic off. Regardless of both issues, I've heard that these things run HOT, like too hot to put them on your lap. Sure, I could buy an iLap, but do I really want something that will cook my legs, and possibly itself?

Next was the discolouration. White MacBooks were discolouring, even turning a shade of orange, mostly in the areas where your hands would rest. I've heard at least one other report of discolouration away from the hand area, likely due to overheating. It doesn't sound like it's just dirt accumulating, but a change in the plastic's material properties. Nothing will remove the discolouration, and in some instances the plastic has actually flaked off. This wasn't an issue for the iBooks, why should it crop up now?

And now, it's the batteries. In some of the earlier models (I don't think this affects the MacBooks, only the MacBook Pros) the batteries are swelling and then failing (as if just swelling wasn't ominous enough). I've seen some pictures of one such battery, and it's literally busting out of its shell. Not pretty, and it certainly can't be good for the components around the battery.

Obviously, these are still good computers, as they're pretty much flying off the shelf everywhere. Of course, with everyone and their inbred deaf mutt knowing that the switch to Intel CPUs was happening for nearly a year ahead of schedule, that could simply be pent-up demand too.

How about I simply leave it at this: I'm glad the new Mac laptops are out. They look good. And I'm glad they'll be able to work the kinks out of them (or redesign them if need be) before I'll need to purchase one.

Replies: 2 Comments

on Monday, June 26th, roberthahn said

Well, conventional wisdom suggests that you never buy the first revision of an Apple product, unless you have AppleCare :)

They've certainly done their best trying to manage the heat issue though; if you check here (, you'll notice that they certainly didn't skimp on the fans at all.

I'm not apologizing for them; I, like many many other people, wish that they could look at their QA and improve it, but on the other hand, you have to realize that maybe we're seeing these issues because they're trying to do things with their laptops that no other manufacturer would dream of doing.

I'm waffling. better quit while I'm ahead here. ;)

on Sunday, July 2nd, happykat said

my macbookpro is hot...much hotter than i thought it would be. but even using a cooler laptop - i find that it is more comfy with a pillow anyway. so it doesn't bother me much. and i bought applecare...just in case.

oh...and leave my inbred deaf mutt out of it. the poor guy has enough trouble limping around on his 3 legs...doesn't need any more grief from you

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