My new laptop arrived. As usual, I'm impressed with Apple's machines and with their packaging. I normally wouldn't have bought a new computer for another six months or so, but I've been toying with the idea of getting a new one since the 17" MacBook Pro was announced at Macworld. It's a beautiful machine. I drooled over the few samples they had on the show floor and have had a severe case of technolust since then. The longer battery life is a great feature for me and I've been incredibly impressed with the unibody MacBook I bought for my wife a few months ago. I found out recently that Dave and I had actually earned some royalties in the fourth quarter of 2008. I decided to write the book with Dave with the expectation that we probably would never make more than the advance. The fact that we earned out the advance and sold enough to get additional royalties in the first six weeks it was on sale seemed like a good justification for buying a new machine ahead of my normal schedule. I ordered it Thursday. It left China on Saturday, and it arrived on my doorstep at around 10:00 this morning.
This generation of unibody aluminum computers is nothing short of amazing. They feel solid and well-built like no other laptop I've ever picked up, yet are fairly light and thin. They seem to run considerably cooler then previous generations, the graphics chips are much better (and this machine has two of them!), the screens are ever so much brighter, and the keyboard feels really nice. That last one, I was really unsure about - I didn't think I would like the "chicklet" style keyboard , but I do. Very much so.
Here's the thing that impressed me the most, though.
From left to right, we have the box for the new 17" MacBook Pro, the previous generation 17" MacBook Pro, and the first generation 17" MacBook Pro. This would be even more dramatic if I had bothered to run downstairs to get the 17" PowerBook box I still have in the basement, because it's considerably bigger even then these. Every generation, Apple figures out a way to make the boxes smaller yet still protect the machines during transport. For the record, all of these machines are approximately the same size. There are minor differences in the footprint, but not enough to justify a noticeable difference in packaging.
As you can see from this picture;
There's not much in the way of wasted space. And even the outer box didn't have a lot of extra room - here it is nested in the shipping box:
I don't see that they could save much more room and still ship it safely. Visually, the changes are somewhat subtle, but on closer inspection, they are two completely different machines. Here's a picture of the new machine transferring files from my Time Machine backup. There was a window behind me in this shot and it's a sunny day, so there was a LOT of light on the machine, yet the screen is still bright enough to wash out in the picture.