Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Apple Packaging

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.





8 comments:

Eric Busch said...

BEAUTIFUL machine.

I'm going to be getting the aluminum MacBook this summer. It's not quite as exciting as the MacBook Pro but should be very nice to have after the white MacBook.

Jeff LaMarche said...

I got one of the new MacBooks for my wife, and I'm super-impressed with it. It's a really great machine. If I weren't addicted to the 17" screen, I'm not sure I would be able to justify the extra money for the Pro machine. They're faster, sure, but if you're primarily doing iPhone development and aren't a gamer (I'm not), you just don't need that much speed most of the time.

But, I've used big screens for over a decade, and had 17" laptops since the very first PowerBook 17", so it would be a really, really hard adjustment for me to get used to working on a smaller screen full time. I also have some larger Mac codelines where the extra compiling speed does help. But, overall, I wouldn't feel bad about getting a new MacBook, they are awesome machines, and really closed a lot of the gap that used to exist between the consumer and pro laptops.

Eric Busch said...

Well, my current setup is a white MacBook with a 22" display sitting right now to it as well as a full sized wireless keyboard and mouse. So I almost have a desktop setup when I get home.

To me, I feel like 13" is the ideal size for my laptop because it just seems so portable. Not saying I would turn down a MacBook Pro by any means though...

I haven't received a new machine in a couple years so I still stand to see quite a few upgrades even just from MacBook to MacBook:
Aluminum enclosure (From plastic)
LED Screen (from LCD)
2.4 GHz processor (From 2.16)
1066 FSB (from 667)
4GB Ram (from 2GB)
9400m graphics (From GMA 950)

And it never hurts to have a fresh battery, either :)

Jeff LaMarche said...

That's a substantial upgrade from the white MacBook to the new Aluminum. That's exactly what my wife upgraded from, and the two machines almost don't even deserve the same name.

The metal MacBooks are more like MacBook Pro Juniors... :) I know, not a good marketing name, but they really have more in common with the pro line than the old MacBook line. I think you're going to be very happy with it.

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