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Apple's iBook successor may sport fashionable hues

post #1 of 209
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When Apple Computer introduces its new line of Intel-based consumer notebooks this spring, the company may once again offer buyers a fashionable option it phased out of its iMac product line nearly half a decade ago: colored enclosures.

Like the Cupertino company's current PowerPC-based line of iBook G4 notebooks, the upcoming Intel "MacBooks" have been described by the few people who claim to have seen them as "fashionably clad in iMac white."

iMac white is the glossy shade Apple introduced on the face and under-compartment of its original iMac in 1998. Eventually, the popularity of the iMac amongst consumers drove the company to wrap almost all of its consumer products, including the iBook and iPod, in the same cleanly shade.

Still, some would argue that it wasn't the white, but the bondi blue risk Apple took with the remainder of the original iMac enclosure that paved the way for the iBook, iPod and one of the most astonishing comeback stories in corporate history.

When Apple chief executive Steve Jobs pulled the sheet from atop the original iMac on the afternoon of May 6th, 1998, many were expecting to see another beige box with sharp corners. Instead they were treaded to a bulbous, but friendly looking all-in-one Mac, wrapped in white and translucent blue plastics that forever changed the landscape of the personal computer industry.

While rival PC manufacturers struggled to duplicate the appeal of the bondi blue iMac in their own products -- albeit to little success -- Apple lead its colored iMac revolution through seven revisions and thirteen color variations, all the while selling millions of units.

Apple followed its inaugural bondi blue iMac early the next year with models dressed in flavorful hues called Strawberry, Lime, Grape, Blueberry and Tangerine. By mid-year it had also unveiled iBooks in the latter two flavors and subsequently tacked on a graphite colored iMac special edition later that autumn.

After introducing refreshed iMac models in 2000 bearing Ruby, Snow and Indigo-colored translucent plastics, the company became a bit daring with two additional models it wrapped in Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian patterns. It wasn't long thereafter that Apple dropped the patterned and colored iMacs altogether, redesigning the desktops around a a 15-inch flat panel display, white base and adjustable swing-arm in January of 2002.

Its been over four years since the company rolled a flamboyant Mac off its assembly lines, instead choosing to standardize on graphite- and aluminum-colored enclosures for its professional computers and white for its consumer models. However, with the recent success of its black-colored iPods, and to a greater extent its multi-colored iPod minis, there is talk that the company is once again "thinking differently" about the appearance of its upcoming MacBook consumer notebooks.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Apple was considering a black version of the yet-to-be-announced notebooks, which it will target towards education, entry- and mid-level customers. However, as development progressed without a black MacBook in sight, the company was believed to have discarded the notion.

To the delight of some insiders and likely the company's fans, just as word of the MacBook's competition began to spread, so did rumors that Apple continues to pursue the colored enclosure option.

People often familiar with the tight-lipped company's ambitions say current plans call for the Mac maker to introduce the MacBook in colors other than white. Apple has reportedly been guarding the colored models closer than the notebooks themselves, in area of its labs privy to only a select few of its elite, these people say. Therefore, it's unclear precisely what colors the company will ultimately approve for production and if it will indeed offer a black model like it does with its iPod and iPod nano digital players.

Still, the most reliable information appears to point to at least two colored MacBook models. Unlike the 90's when Apple jazzed up its iMacs in semi-translucent plastics, the colored MacBooks are more likely sport solid-shade, sleek enclosures similar to the company's professional MacBook Pro laptops. In fact, those people familiar with prototypes of the forthcoming notebooks say their overall design is reminiscent of the MacBook Pro, only "comfortably smaller."

In deciding to release multiple colors, Apple must weigh the risk-to-reward factor of managing an increasing number of retail SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) that comes with offering more than one color. However, since sources have reported that the notebooks will be standardized around a 13-inch widescreen display and Intel's Core Duo processors, it's likely the company plans only two distinct hardware configurations: a "better" and "best" model. As a result, offering two colorful models in addition to the standard white colored units would yield it the mere burden of managing just six SKUs -- a challenge Apple has met with little difficulty in the past.

"Given that these new MacBooks [will be]Â*targeted at volume markets including academic and consumer customers including women, colors are a great way to idenfify with customers and diffentiate in theÂ*PC market place," said one analyst who covers Apple, but asked not to be named.Â*"Apple has proven fairly adept at managing different colors in the pastÂ*given its track record with iPod mini, color iBooks, and color iMacs using different shades of plastic and composite aluminum."

Even if Apple calls a last minute audible and scraps its plans to launch the MacBook in a variety of colors, its intent to do so thus far indicates one thing: it intends for the notebooks to be a significantly high-volume product.

Indeed, a recent report from overseas stated that Apple has lined up three display manufacturers to simultaneously supply 13-inch widescreen LCD screens for the notebooks. One supplier, AU Optronics, is expected to provide between 40,000-50,000 displays a month, or approximately 150,000 per quarter. If Apple plans to tap each of the three suppliers equally, it could be setting it sights on sales of over 400,000 MacBooks each quarter.

According to the same report, Asustek has won the contract to produce the MacBooks for Apple in the Far East and has received an initial order of 1.2 million units from the Mac maker.
post #2 of 209
i think this would be brilliant.

i also said they need a black laptop.


black,white, maybe blue? a green? a nice tinted gray?



thats it,perfect.
post #3 of 209
A black MacBook Pro???

I think that would be an ingenious plan...
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post #4 of 209
So, if these are similar to MBPs are they going to be alluminum?
post #5 of 209
So when's it going to be? Beginning of May, nice black laptop as a sort of iBook fifth anniversary wake, or what?

Wish list -- and this is a WISH list, I don't necessarily expect it . . .

LED screen (some PC books already have it, it saves power).
The successor chip to the Intel 950 integrated graphics (unfortunately this probably isn't quite ready for market yet, but it would be Radeon 9600 performance with integrated graphics energy efficiency).
1280x800 display (fear it will settle for 1280x720).
Keyboard up to 12 inch Powerbook standards.
Battery life equal to current 14 inch iBook or better.
8X Superdrive as per 14 inch iBook.
At least same port selection as Mac Mini (three USB, FW400, DVI/Mini DVI, Gigabit Ethernet).
Core Duo 1.66GHz, as per Mac Mini.
post #6 of 209
Doesn't the black iPod have issues with scratches showing really well? I can see complaints to no end if shiny black MacBooks look all scratched up.
post #7 of 209
Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian!
post #8 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
So, if these are similar to MBPs are they going to be alluminum?

That's a good question.
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post #9 of 209
The same material they used for the iPod mini would be nice. Those things were extremely durable.
post #10 of 209
Doesn't Apple have a patent for a case design that can change color? That was rumored to be part of a future iMac (now past), but I wonder if the iBook could have a feature like that...
post #11 of 209
I have a feeling they might do something with customisable enclosures.

Ideally some kind of projection onto the skin from the MacBook OS itself.

If not I think they might break out customisable physical covers - there is a whole world of accesories waiting for these MacBooks to create the same kind of stir as the iPod has done.

Of course it would have to be done well though...
post #12 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by solsun
The same material they used for the iPod mini would be nice. Those things were extremely durable.

you mean... aluminum?
post #13 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by amsterdam33
I have a feeling they might do something with customisable enclosures.

Ideally some kind of projection onto the skin from the MacBook OS itself.

If not I think they might break out customisable physical covers - there is a whole world of accesories waiting for these MacBooks to create the same kind of stir as the iPod has done.

Of course it would have to be done well though...

I think that making customizable physical covers might be at the expense of the durability of the current generation. I'm all for alluminum, though 8)
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post #14 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by dillyo1001
you mean... aluminum?

Yes, but the iPod mini aluminum is different from the PowerBook/MacBook Pro aluminum... Isn't it?
post #15 of 209
I hope these "fashionable hues" aren't cues to a story late last year about new Apple notebooks "attracting female users."
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post #16 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider

two distinct hardware configurations: a "better" and "best" model.

Well what will the "better" configuration actually be better than? I think this crosses the PR-BS line.
Quote:
"Given that these new MacBooks [will be]_targeted at volume markets including academic and consumer customers including women"

And here I was thinking that the colours were there to attract only metrosexuals...
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post #17 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by DHagan4755
I hope these "fashionable hues" aren't cues to a story late last year about new Apple notebooks "attracting female users."

Well, I'm sure they'll have one primarily girly color. Pink probably.

I'll guess, white, black, pink, and blue maybe. Of course, if they limit it to a small number like that, somebody's gonna want another color.

An ideal way to go would be this way,

post #18 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by Tag Me Back
Well what will the "better" configuration actually be better than? I think this crosses the PR-BS line.

Better than the competition's notebooks, obviously.
post #19 of 209
Let's hope the only colors are white and black.
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post #20 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by DHagan4755
Let's hope the only colors are white and black.

hear, hear! Colors only make the product look really dated in a few years. The graphite iMac still looks good, all the others look old and ugly as Sh_t.

Same with those Easter Egg iPod minis.
post #21 of 209
ok, so if its iPod white, how COULD it be alluminum?


Nother thought, how thick is it? Do you think they could pull off an inch? Or maybe an inch and a bit. My old iBook looks pretty thick compared to my MBP.
post #22 of 209
post #23 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
ok, so if its iPod white, how COULD it be alluminum?

I don't know. Anodizing?
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post #24 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
However, since sources have reported that the notebooks will be standardized around a 13-inch widescreen display and Intel's Core Duo processors,

My biggest complaint with Apple's product selection is their tying together sizes, capacities, and processing power. Let's hope there's the option of the highest-end processor with the smallest screen, and vice-versa.
post #25 of 209
My guess is that they'll have two colours, black and white...but both accented by brushed aluminum edges.
post #26 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by satchmo
My guess is that they'll have two colours, black and white...but both accented by brushed aluminum edges.


eew, in my mind that looks really gross.
post #27 of 209
It's hard to imagine gadgets nowadays not looking disgustingly 1999 with colors, but we're talking about Apple here.

I'm confident that if they returned to using colored exteriors, they'd do it like most others wouldn't.

However, it's pretty hard to imagine the use of color without it looking horribly dated 2 weeks after the gadgets' introduction.

I look forward to eyeballing whatever they release, but until then, I'm still smitten with my 12" Powerbook. I think this form will still look appealing 5 years from now, because of how minimalistic and well-designed it is.

Thanks.
post #28 of 209
Apple keeps reminding me of an updated 70s approach to design. Not always, but...

I could see strong colors that look really rich with the clear polycarbonate over the paint. Playful, but strong. Then again, my imagination is always much keener and more interesting than the actual thing I'm thinking of!
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post #29 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by geo06
A black MacBook Pro???

I think that would be an ingenious plan...

Anodized black aluminum? That would look incredible with the Apple logo glowing in the middle...would look very professional.
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post #30 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
eew, in my mind that looks really gross.

"Pimp My Mac"?
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post #31 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by Naraa Haras
Doesn't Apple have a patent for a case design that can change color? That was rumored to be part of a future iMac (now past), but I wonder if the iBook could have a feature like that...

I think the patent you're talking about is for light to be shined under the plastic to make it glow different colours. Apparently (this was way before I was a Mac user) everyone thought Apple was going to roll out glowing computers but it ended up just being the on/off/sleep light under the plastic on iMacs and laptops.


I don't think the colours will look dated or "1999esq". This is going to be done differently. The old iMacs were coloured and translucent and the plastic was slighty frosted. The Macbooks will be glossy with solid colours. It will look dated in a few years when there are new trends in design but I think it will look good while it's "in style".

This will be a huge boost for Apple. People love the minimalist look of the iBooks but I have heard people complain about them only coming in white. There are many people who buy based on look alone and now that people can run windows, this will be an awesome looking computer with a superior OS without the risk (not being able to run programs that are Windows only).

This will be a good move.
post #32 of 209
If they do colours they will do:

STRAWBERRY

and

GRAPHITE

Solid versions of the colours used for the old iMacs.

That's my bet.

And whoa I said they'd look similar to the MacBook Pro!

Quote:
Originally posted by ecking
Look at the names MacBook and MacBook Pro are that simliar for a reason, they're sister systems and will probably sport similar designs only being separated by specs and MacBook being plastic.

Score one for me!

But I Still see 3 configurations. Like I said before:

Quote:
Originally posted by ecking
$999 MackBook
13.3" Widescreen
1.66GHz Intel Core Duo processor
512MB memory (Expandable to 2GB)
40GB 4200rpm HD
Combo Drive
Intel GMA950 64MB shared
Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0
Built in iSight
Apple Remote

$1299 MacBook
13.3" Widescreen
1.66GHz Intel Core Duo processor
512MB memory (Expandable to 2GB)
60GB 5400rpm HD
SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Intel GMA950 64MB shared
Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0
Built in iSight
Apple Remote

$1499 MacBook
13.3" Widescreen
1.66GHz Intel Core Duo processor
512MB memory (Expandable to 2GB)
80GB 5400rpm HD
SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 128MB GDDR3 memory
Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0
Built in iSight
Apple Remote

So I"m seeing this:

- All models offered in white(obviously)

- The $999 and $1299 models being the only one offered in a solid shade of iMac Strawberry

- The $1499 model being the only model offered in a solid shade of iMac Graphite

That'd be too sick.

That said I'd probably still buy the white one.

But my girlfriend would probably want the strawberry one.

I think that would appeal to regular people, women, and professionals/business who are looking for a small MacBook Pro.

If not I see them using the silver and pink mini(2nd gen) colours.

If it happens you heard it here first!
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post #33 of 209
post #34 of 209
Doesn't look any less badass.
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post #35 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
I'll guess, white, black, pink, and blue maybe.

Three colors only: white, black and pink. Just like the Moto RAZR.

White for the traditional consumer, black for the guys/geeks and pink for the chicks.

Two models, three colors, six SKUs. More than that and it becomes an inventory nightmare.
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post #36 of 209
I think Apple left coloured computing was for inventory reasons. What if you have made a great computer and made millions of each of three colours before the introduction, if Graphite and Snow are flying of the shelves but one million flower powers are sitting there forever?
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post #37 of 209
I don't know about that black MacBook picture.. It's pretty ugly.. It looks like a leather briefcase or portfolio..
post #38 of 209
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman

A 13.3-inch model wouldn't have as much (if any) space to the sides of the keyboard. I also don't see ExpressCard appearing on the MacBook, although that would certainly be a welcome surprise. I like the strong black on the outside, but the glossy black on the inside could be too distracting.
post #39 of 209
Hmm.. What's "fashionable"? Heh. Only Apple knows. Yes, for those that have seen my mockup before, it's a blatant re-post. But feel free to comment.

Chucker: "I like the strong black on the outside, but the glossy black on the inside could be too distracting."
Interesting point... There are a hell of a lot of black-on-the-inside Toshibas and Acers... I wonder what they are like.
post #40 of 209
Back in the day, certain iMac configurations were limtited by color. The low-end model came in Sage, Ruby, and Indigo whereas the high-end model came in Graphite, Snow, and Indigo. While I don't think Apple really wants to offer this many stock models, this type of stratification can help keep the total number of units down and tailor towards different market segments.

And who is to say that with modern BTO we couldn't permit any color case with any specs inside? You can already customize a mini with a core solo or duo, and I don't see that changing when the MacBooks ship.
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