I promise to buy an Apple Macintosh

The end is nigh.

My current notebook is approaching five years in age, and my (formerly skookum gaming) desktop was most recently unable to fire up the Bioshock demo. I’ve been running Ubuntu as my principal OS for two years, and I’ve accomplished most of my Linux goals. I’m continually teaching in Mac-based schools, and despite having a passable understanding of OS X, and I am not as comfortable with it as I might like. Therefore, and if only to benefit my own professional development1, I make the following promise on the Internet: my next computer will be made by Apple.

That said, this pledge is not undertaken without conditions. Should he want me as a customer, Steve Jobs is to personally ensure my ~$1000 MacBook includes the following improvements over current models:

  • Mac OS X Leopard
  • dedicated video card, preferably NVIDIA2 (integrated graphic solutions are a deal breaker)
  • aluminum casing (lighter/cleaner/more easily recycled than white polycarbonate)

While not mandatory, the following would be appreciated:

  • DVD±R
  • LED backlight

There are blogosphere rumblings that suggest at least some of these developments might be arriving soon, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Anyone with input on current hardware, experience with Leopard builds, or the ability to hook a brother up with Apple rebates is invited to post below.

1. It is not only to benefit my own professional development.
2. I’ve been an ATI user since ’96, but their terrible Linux support has ensured I will be looking elsewhere for at least one cycle. Had I bought a contemporaneous NVIDIA card rather than my ATI 9600 XT AIW, my desktop would have easily had a future as a MythTV box rather than merely a bland media server.



Filed under Technology and Software, The story so far

7 responses to “I promise to buy an Apple Macintosh

  1. Educational pricing or buying through eBay (even for new stuff) are your best bet for getting the cheapest Apple gear.

    Leopard should be out in October, and all Macs will ship with them the day it’s announced, so maybe wait at least until then.

    DVD±R is available on all but the cheapest MacBooks, what they call their “SuperDrive”.

    As for LED (keyboard?) backlighting, aluminum casing and a non-integrated video card, those are usually staples of the MacBook Pro line which is more expensive. However, you get a more capable computer out of it.

    Integrated graphics particularly are unlikely in the consumer (MacBook) models because of their cost and satisfactory performance. Most consumers would never know or care, so to keep the price attractive Apple doesn’t bother 😦

    That said, I’m planning on buying a MacBook Pro when I graduate, to partially replace my desktop computer too.

    Also, check out this website for a great buyers guide for Apple stuff:

    And of course, go here for the latest juicy “news”:

  2. I’ll back up the previous poster – you’re not about to get a video card unless you buy a MacBook Pro.

    That being said, my 17″ MacBook Pro is the sweetest goddamned piece of gear I have ever 0wz0rr3d. I wet my pants every morning, thanks to the joy my Apple brings to my workday. Things just work on a Mac.

    Go forth and become a fanboy! I have!

  3. Kerry: Thank you for the tips, as well as the URLs. The LED backlighting I was referring to was for the LCD; it has advantages verses florescent as far as efficiency and disposal are concerned.

    While it has yet to happen, I still feel pretty confident in predicting that MacBook makes the switch to aluminum, given the aesthetics of the recent iPod/iPhone releases. MacBook is currently the odd one out.

    VP: I think you and Kerry are unfortunately correct as regards integrated video. Looking over the specs initially, the GMA 950 really stood out as the only questionable component. After spending the weekend reading through Macworld back issues at the in-law’s, however, I’ve realized how much product Apple is actually moving in MacBooks. They compose a whopping 60% of all Macs (yes, all Macs–not just notebooks) sold since Q3 2006. The masses don’t seem to care about gaming on their portables, and integrated graphics solutions are an order of magnitude cheaper than distinct hardware.

    That said, does anyone know how WoW runs on a current MacBook?

  4. Since he was kind enough to post, I feel I should also pimp some of Kerry’s work in planetary geology.

    (Just in case my suggestion isn’t enough to send you his way, I’ll note that the paper was linked by one of the my few truly quotidian visits, NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.)

  5. There were rumours of a Santa Rosa/GMA x3100 MacBook dropping today, but they of course amounted to exactly nothing. If no update materializes by mid-November, I think I’ll be settling on a modest 20″ iMac.

  6. Apple made minor revisions to MacBook last Thursday. I at last caved, and mine arrived Tuesday evening. Though the switch from Ubuntu hasn’t been without complaints, it has been hassle-free. Preliminary benchmarks on the new hardware also appear to be promising.

    Quick thoughts:
    -I don’t know where I would without Leopard’s Spaces, especially with only 13″ of screen real-estate.
    -Before seeing it in real-life, I promised myself I would give the 3-D dock a genuine try. It was no more than a quarter of an hour before I chucked it to the left-side of the screen (and enabled 2-D mode), and I haven’t looked back since.
    -OmniWeb is a powerful app, and an absolute steal at $15, no matter how reticent you might be to pay for a browser.
    -Um, why no Edit > Cut in Finder?

  7. Careful readers with realize that none of my demands were met, save for Leopard (which was a given). Yet, I caved.

    I feared that my initial request equated too well with an ultra-portable Mac, possibly due next year and likely more/less than I need (flash? touchscreen?), so I figured Santa Rosa was as good a jumping-on point as any. Steve has hinted at all kinds of miracle products for 2008, but even then, I will still be able to conceive of an even greater Mac than the Mac which currently exists.

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