Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Apple MacBook (13-inch, 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo)

CNET editor's review

Reviewed by ; Justin Jaffe
Reviewed May 17, 2006

Yesterday afternoon, our executive editor ran down to the Apple store on Market Street in San Francisco and nabbed one of the first MacBooks to be sold. (He also witnessed an alleged thief get gang-tackled by Apple's beefy security detail.) You can see the MacBook unpacking process in all of its pornographic detail in CNET's slide show and on Engadget and Gizmodo.

I've been playing with the MacBook since then and have come to a preliminary verdict: Apple may have finally nailed it. The company has corrected a handful of the iBook's shortcomings, hit a totally reasonable price point (at least for the $1,099 baseline white model), and finally delivered a laptop with a 13.3-inch display, which I believe offers a better compromise between size and portability than any other screen size on the market. Although plenty of laptops out there start for many hundreds of dollars less than the MacBook, I believe that with the MacBook, the value gap between Apple laptops and the PC competition has narrowed significantly.

After spending a few hours with the MacBook, some early impressions:

Size, weight, materials: At 5.1 pounds, the MacBook weighs about a half-pound more than the 12-inch PowerBook; it's totally portable, though not exactly lightweight. It measures about an inch thick, 12.75 inches wide, and just shy of 9 inches deep. I'll get into more detail about the keyboard and display below, but suffice to say that the MacBook hits the sweet spot between portability and usability, much like the Sony VAIO SZ, another 13.3-inch laptop. The MacBook is glossy on the outside and matte on the inside; it feels sturdily built and quite well put together.

Latchless lid: Apple is getting a lot of design mileage out of magnetic attraction. The MacBook does without a physical latch, instead, using magnets to hold the lid closed. Like the MagSafe AC adapter, it's a perfect solution. A small notch on the front edge affords just enough room for your finger, and the lid and case separate very nicely.

Keyboard: This is perhaps the MacBook's most notable feature. It looks markedly different from what we're accustomed to with an Apple laptop. The keys have a flat top surface and are more rounded and less jammed together than the MacBook Pro's and PowerBook's. And with about half as much travel as other Apple keyboards, the MacBook's keyboard offers a considerably firmer typing experience. So far, I really like it, though I'm hesitant to make a final pronouncement until I spend more time using it.

Touch pad: Yes, there's still only one mouse button. Apple seems to be overcompensating for it, too, because the touch pad is simply huge--about the size of a Treo--and considerably bigger than the 15-inch MacBook Pro's. It still features all of the same magical, two-finger scrolling functionality that we've seen from the others, though.

Display: The MacBook's glossy display is a bit schizophrenic. It looks really nice from straight on: bright, crisp, and clear, and the 1,280x800 native resolution makes text readable and still gives you enough screen real estate to have a few windows open at once. From the side, however, the level of brightness drops off considerably, and like all glossy displays, the MacBook's picks up some serious glare from ambient light sources. If you work primarily in a dimly lit, cave-style office, you'll love it; if you spend a lot of time working outside, the glare may be too distracting. The MacBook's display delivered 230cd/m² on our Minolta luminance meter, compared to about 260cd/m² on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Both are considerably above average for laptops.

Components: Again, a very competitive set for the price. Our $1,299 unit came with a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo processor; 512MB of RAM; integrated Intel graphics; and a 60GB, 5,400rpm SATA hard drive. (The baseline $1,099 may be an even better deal. We'll know for sure after we test both of them.) The Dell Inspiron E1405, which has a larger display but weighs about the same as the MacBook, costs about $1,000, with an Intel Core Solo processor but otherwise configured as similarly as possible. Based on what we've found with the MacBook Pro, we think we can expect pretty competitive performance from the MacBook, though we're less sure about its battery life; we're currently running it through our benchmarks and will post our results as soon as possible.

Audio: Like the 12-inch PowerBook, the MacBook's speakers sit along the back edge underneath the screen hinge (when the lid is open) and somehow still deliver rich, multilayered sound. It's not as loud or powerful on the low end as what you'll get from the Dell Inspiron E1405, for example, but it's crisp, clear, and totally decent.

Ports and connections: This is a rock-solid lineup for the price. On the plus side, you get an optical output, which the iBook lacked and which is an awesomely high-end feature for a $1,099 laptop. On the downside, the combined DVI/VGA output requires an adapter (sold separately), and there's no ExpressCard slot, which narrows the MacBook's opportunities for future TV tuner and WWAN connectivity.

Left edge: MagSafe AC connector, DVI/VGA output, one 400Mbps FireWire port, two USB 2.0 ports, optical output, headphone jack, security cable slot
Front: battery indicator, infrared sensor (for the included remote) .

Right edge: slot-loading, multiformat DVD burner.

Networking: 802.11g wireless, Gigabit Ethernet, and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR; modem not included

Other notable features: On top of everything else, you get Apple's best-of-breed software package, which includes almost everything that comes with the higher-end MacBook Pro; a built-in iSight Webcam for videoconferencing; and a small, iPod Shuffle-looking remote for controlling iTunes, DVDs, photos, and videos from afar.

Digital Publishing - Make Your Fortune Here

Author: Jaz Lai

Ebooks are part of the new frontier of cyberspace. They are an entirely new medium for sharing marketing information, ideas, techniques, and expert knowledge. Each day the number of people accessing the Internet grows, causing the exposure of your ebook to increase incrementally. It's obvious why electronic self-publishing has become so popular so quickly.

And here's how you can make a fortune from digital publishing: The publishing industry, I hope, does not intend to forever banish the printed word to the dustbin of history. Books in print have their own special qualities and merits, and the world would be diminished by their disappearance. Having said that, let's look at what makes ebooks so important and so unique. Ebooks have certain abilities and qualities that other mediums do not possess. For example, ebooks are fairly easy to produce, and their production cost is inexpensive.

Just think about it: you don't need a publisher, an agent, a printing press, offset film, ink, paper, or even a distributor. You just need a great concept, the ability to write it or to hire a writer, and the right software. Additionally, ebooks are easily and rapidly distributed online. They are also easily updated; they do not require a second print run. All you need is to go into your original creation and modify the text or graphics. Because of this flexibility, ebooks can change and grow as fast as you can type.

Ebooks are also immediately obtainable. You don't have to go to a bookstore or search through endless titles at an online bookstore. All you have to do is download it from a website, and presto! It's on your computer, ready to be read. Ebooks are interactive. This is one of the most unique and specific qualities that ebooks offer. You can add surveys that need to be filled out, order forms for customers to purchase your products or goods, sound and video that draw your reader into the virtual world of your ebook, even direct links to relevant sites that will expand your ebook outward.

The potential is virtually limitless. Ebooks have a particular kind of permanence that other mediums do not possess. Television shows and radio shows air once, and then may rerun a few times. Ebooks remain on your computer for as long as your choose, and they can be read and reread whenever you choose to. They can even be printed out and stored on the shelves of your traditional home library. Another wonderful quality is that ebooks have no barriers in terms of publishing. You don't need to go through the endless process of submitting your manuscript over and over again, and then once you land an agent, having the agent submit your manuscript over and over again. Nor do you have to shell out thousands of dollars for printing a self-published book. All ebooks require is a writer and appropriate software. Figure out your market, write your book, post it on your website, and with the right business savvy, your audience will come to you. Finally, you have creative control over your ebook.

You don't have to compromise with an editor or the publishing trends of the time. You don't have to haggle with a designer or wait for copyedited galleys to arrive by snail mail. You are in complete control of the design and the text.

About The Author: Jaz Lai is an Online Business Entrepreneur. He recently twisted the arms of 2 well-known internet marketers to share with you their secrets on How Little Guys can level the playing field and complete with the Big Guys For more information on how to easily create your own ebook, click here