Doh!!! New Macbook Pro options

My shiny new 17″ Macbook Pro arrived this morning. I’ve been busy getting everything wrapped up in order to make the transition from my G5 PowerMac, so I wasn’t paying attention to the news. A friend just emailed me about the new build-to-order options available today on the Macbook Pros.

The base model / pricing is the same as it’s been, but Apple now offers an option to bump the processor to a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo (+$250) and the hard drive to either a 250GB 5400rpm (+$150) or a 200GB 7200rpm (+$200) drive.

A 200MHz difference in processor speed isn’t that big of a deal. In fact, I’m not sure if I would have paid the extra $250 for it. But, I most definitely would have chosen the 200GB 7200rpm drive. I paid $150 to have mine upgraded to a 160GB 7200rpm drive.

Whenever you buy a computer, you know it generally won’t be too long before a new model comes out. That’s just how the computer industry is. But, it would have been nice to at least get my top-of-the-line Macbook Pro out of its box while it still was top-of-the line. :(

Oh well, that’s the way it goes. I’m still excited to get my new machine up and running. I still have some preparations to make before migrating.

Oh, and they introduced new Macbooks as well… which now share the same Santa Rosa-based architecture as the Macbook Pro. They also have a faster front-side bus, updated video card, and can take up to 4GB of RAM. It’s much improved over yesterday model.

New Macbook and Macbook Pros in November?

According to this article over at, we should be seeing new Macbook and Macbook Pros by the end of November. They’re basing their estimates on how many days (on average) there has historically been between updates.

Given the fact that I just bought a Macbook Pro, these estimates will probably turn out to be true. With exception to one machine, every Mac I have ever bought has seen new models within 2 weeks of me buying it. I’m just not on Apple’s schedule.

So, you may want to wait until the end of the month if you’re planning on buying. Of course, if you wait that long, you should probably just wait until January (Macworld). Don’t forget, regardless of what happens in January, we’ll probably see updates in June or July of 2008, so maybe you should wait until then. … and so on, and so on, and so on… :)

via TUAW

Save over $500 on Macbook Pro RAM

I mentioned this in my last post, but I thought it was important enough to call more attention to it. If you’re considering buying a new Mac, DON’T BUY YOUR RAM FROM APPLE!. Apple RAM is incredibly overpriced.

As I mentioned, I’m upgrading my new Macbook Pro from 2GB to 4GB of RAM. Apple wants $700. I bought this 4GB upgrade kit from OWC for $167.99. This memory exceeds Apple/Intel specifications, and comes with a lifetime warranty. And, they will give me a $30 rebate if I send them the RAM that came pre-installed. I’ve bought RAM from OWC before, and never had any problems with it.

This same RAM works in the new iMacs as well. OWC also offers RAM for just about every other Mac, so I would check them out no matter what model you’re buying.

UPDATE (12/08/2008): See this post for updated information on 3rd party RAM and Apple’s new Aluminum Macbook and Macbook Pros.

I bought a new Macbook Pro :)

My New Macbook Pro

Well, I took the plunge. I bought a new Macbook Pro. I was hoping to get it at my local Apple Store on Friday when Leopard was released, but unfortunately they don’t stock the configuration I want. So, I had to order it online. It should be here Thursday morning. :)

I actually went back and forth quite a bit on model and configuration. Both the 15″ and 17″ have their benefits. Ultimately, I want this machine to be a desktop alternative, replacing a 4 year old G5 PowerMac. I chose the 2.4 GHz 17″ model.

The only upgrade I’m having Apple do is the hard drive. I upgraded it to the 160GB 7200 rpm option. I was tempted by the extra capacity of the 250GB 4200 rpm drive, but considering the fact that the 250 wasn’t going to be a enough space to hold everything, I’ll need to rely on external drives either way. It made sense (for me) to go with performance over capacity for the internal. I considered buying a third party internal drive, but I’ve read that unlike the Macbook, swapping the internal drive on the Macbook Pro is a relatively complicated procedure… and it may void your Apple warranty.

The upgrade that I will be performing myself is RAM. I’m upping it to the maximum of 4GB. The best advice I can give anyone purchasing a new Mac is, buy as much RAM as you can afford, but DON’T BUY IT FROM APPLE! When it comes to RAM, Apple lives in some strange (and overpriced) universe that has no connection to the current market. To buy the upgrade from Apple, it was going to be $700, which is pure insanity. I bought this 4GB upgrade kit from OWC for $167.99. This memory exceeds Apple/Intel specifications, and comes with a lifetime warranty. And, they will give me a $30 rebate if I send them the RAM that came pre-installed. I’ve bought RAM from OWC before, and never had any problems with it.

The default 17″ Macbook pro screen has a native resolution of 1680 by 1050. They also offer an optional high-resolution display that runs at 1920 by 1200. I seriously considered upgrading to the higher-resolution screen, but that’s a lot of pixels crammed into 17 inches. Things tend to be pretty small. I actually went down to the Apple store several times to look at the hi-res screen. At one point I decided to upgrade, but there is a big difference between standing at the computer for a few minutes in the store, and working on it all day. Although I though it would be fine, I was worried that my eyes would start to hurt after a long day of working. At the last minute I decided to stick with the standard display. I think I made the right choice. Although I plan on buying a new external display, I may wait until January, as I believe Apple will be introducing new displays at MacWorld (January 14th, 2008).

Speaking of MacWorld, I think there is a very good chance that Apple will introduce new Macbook Pros in January as well. I seriously considered waiting, but decided to go ahead and get it now. There’s no guarantee that Apple will release new models, and I’m long overdue for an upgrade. It’s too easy to fall into a pattern of constantly waiting for the next big thing. The current model is a good machine, and I think I’ll be pretty happy with it.

Now, I’m just looking forward to Thursday. I’m trying to get all my files / drives cleaned up in preparation for migrating over. I’m actually hoping that this new machine will replace 3 computers on my desk… the PowerMac I mentioned earlier, a 12″ G4 iBook, and a Dell desktop. I can’t wait to have just one machine!

Are new 17″ Macbook Pros coming next week?

17 inch Macbook Pro Shipping Delay

I was browsing around Apple’s online store this morning and I noticed something very curious. With only 2 exceptions, all Macs have a shipping date of, “Within 24 hours”. The interesting part is in one of the exceptions. The 17″ Macbook Pro lists shipping as, “7-10 business days”. Given that Leopard ships in 9 days (10/26), is this an indication that Apple will announce updated 17″ Macbook Pros on the day Leopard ships?

The only other model not to be listed as 24 hours is the top of the line iMac, which is listed as, “1-3 business days”. To me, that just sounds like a typical delay for build-to-order systems, which may be more common on the higher end model. I don’t think we’ll be seeing new iMacs, but new Macbook Pros is looking like a real possibility.

UPDATE (10.23.07 – 10:13pm): I’ve been keeping on eye on the shipping dates for 17″ Macbook Pros, and just tonight it was updated from 7-10 days to 1-3 days. Leopard will go on sale in just over 2 days. This may be just a coincidence, but I find it awfully suspicious.

UPDATE #2 (10.25.07 – 12:48am): Leopard is now 1 day and 17 hours away. Right on schedule, the Apple store has been updated to show shipping times for the 17″ Macbook Pro as, 1-2 days. I’m definitely seeing a pattern here. :)

UPDATE #3 (10.26.07 – 5:07pm): Well, not all predictions can come true. Leopard is on sale around most of the country, and will be here in San Francisco in about an hour… and no new Macbook Pros were announced. :(

Proper care of your MagSafe Power Cable

MagSafe Power Adapters

If you haven’t heard, Apple has had some significant problems with their MagSafe laptop power cables becoming damaged or wearing out prematurely. So much so that they have halted shipments on the current model. They are expected to come out with a revised cable soon.

In the meantime, Apple has posted two knowledge base articles on the subject of properly conecting/disconecting the cable, and reducing strain. I recommend checking them out if you own one of these cables.

Apple Portables: How to disconnect the MagSafe power adapter
Apple Portables: Reducing cable strain on your MagSafe power adapter

via MacFixit

Where can I get an AGP video card with an ADC connection?

I’m currently using a PowerMac G5, with two 17″ cinema displays. Everything is about four years old. I’m hoping to buy a new Mac later this year, but for now I’m feeling my computers age when I try to run some modern apps.

One bottleneck is the outdated 64MB video card (split between 2 displays, 32MB each). I was hoping to find a relatively inexpensive card (under $200) that would help out until I get my new system. Due to the age and type of equipment, I’m having an extremely hard time finding a card that will work in my system.

Here’s what I’m looking for… AGP (8x) video card with 1 DVI and 1 ADC connector, with at least 128MB vRAM. I can’t use PCI because it doesn’t support Quartz Extreme (requires PCI Express, which I don’t have). I also can’t use a card with only DVI connections, since my displays use ADC (Apple Display Connector). I’m already using a DVI to ADC Adapter to attach my second display and I don’t want to buy another one ($99).

You wouldn’t think that this would be so freakin difficult, but it’s the combination of AGP and ADC that’s hard to find. If anyone knows where I can actually buy such a card please let me know. You’ll have my eternal gratitude.

Apple’s new Keyboard

Apple's new slim keyboard

As mentioned yesterday, Apple has a brand new super-slim keyboard. Do you notice anything unusual about the command key? Go ahead, look down at your keyboard, and then look back at this image. Do you see it? That’s right, there is no Apple symbol on it.

For as long as I can remember Apple has put their logo on that key, prompting many people to inaccurately say things like, hit Apple + c to copy, or Apple + z to undo. Now all those people are going to have to learn to say it the proper way. Yes, I’m a bit snobby about it… it’s the Command key, dammit… not the Apple key.

Also, has anyone looked closely at the differences between the wired and wireless versions of the keyboard? On the wireless version, Apple has chosen to get rid of the number pad and compacted all the keys into a smaller form factor. I can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s a deal breaker for me. I can totally understand why Apple wants to offer this layout as an option… but that’s exactly what it should be… an option. They should offer a full-size version of the wireless keyboard too.

New iMac, iLife, iWork, and .Mac

The new iMac

Well, we didn’t see a new sub-notebook, but this morning Apple did announce some cool new stuff at their media event in Cupertino.

The new (thinner) iMac now more resembles the cinema displays. They’re offered in 20″ and 24″ models. More power, more ports, and a slim new keyboard. Available today. LINK

The super-thin keyboard that comes with the new iMac is also available in wired ($49) and wireless ($79) versions as a stand-alone purchase. Available today. LINK

iLife ’08
Lots of new iPhoto features, completely redesigned iMovie, and updated versions of Garage Band, iWeb, and iDVD. Available today. LINK

iWork ’08
A brand new spreadsheet application called, what else… Numbers. Updated versions of Keynote and Pages. Available today. LINK

Cool new ways of sharing your media, storage raised to 10GB, and you can now use your own domain name. Available today. LINK

As usual, Engadget live blogged the whole event, complete with pictures, and a Q&A session afterwards.

During the Q&A, Apple suggested we may see updates to Apple TV sometime soon, and also said the Mac mini line will be updated today as well, but since they didn’t make much mention of it I image it’s just a small speed bump.