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High-quality photo comparison: the new unibody MacBooks

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
While Apple didn't make mention of it at the time, the MacBook Air silently debuted the start of a new unibody MacBook line. The new 15" MacBook Pro and its 13" MacBook sibling have managed to carry out the same lines and execution, harmonizing the plastic MacBook and the now half decade old Aluminum Powerbook design carried forward by the MacBook Pro. Here's how the two models compare.

See also:
High-quality unboxing photos: late 2008 13" MacBook
High-quality unboxing photos: late 2008 15" MacBook Pro

The first hint that the new MacBooks are riding the same jet stream of the Air is the slim thin boxes each ships in. Compared to the MacBook Pro boxes from just a year or two ago (below), the new MacBook and MacBook Pro come in implausibly small white boxes. Somewhat ironically, Final Cut Studio ships in a significantly larger box than the new notebooks. The middle box is the 15" MacBook Pro, while the box in front is the 13" MacBook.







The new MacBooks claim a small box profile by following the packaging rules originally laid down by the iPhone: a thin plastic bed holds the notebook snug against a thin foam pad attached to the box lid (below). This removes the need for large styrofoam inserts, in addition to providing a clean and more luxurious unboxing experience. The side benefit is that there's much less waste, the carbon footprint of shipping the boxes is smaller, it's cheaper to ship, and it's easier for customers to save their box for reuse later.



With the notebooks and trays removed (below), the standard booklet of product information and the units' MagSafe power adapters are exposed.



Nearly identical in size, the 13" 60 watt and 15" 85 watt adapters (below) are much smaller than the original 85 watt power adapter for the full size MacBook Pro (top right in photo), but still larger than the very small iPod adapters and the brand new, tiny adapter for the iPhone 3G (top left).



Compared to each other, the 13" and 15" models have identical outlines that capture the smoothly rounded edges of the MacBook Air. From above, the machines look like polished metal tiles emblazoned with an Apple logo, not notebook computers.



From the front (below top), the two models look devices built by the aerospace industry. From the back (below bottom), both reveal their solid black plastic hinge cover.





On top of each other, the smaller 13" MacBook reveals its slightly less deep but significantly less wide outline.



Compared to the MacBook Pro, the 13" MacBook has no speaker grill at all (below top) and significant less depth (below bottom) from the inside hinge to the front of the unit.





From the port side on the left, the smaller MacBook reveals its lack of Firewire and the Pro's ExpressCard slot.





Both machines feature an identical battery indicator built into the front left side of the unit (below).



The MacBooks' batteries are longer and slimmer than the previous MacBook Pro battery (previous model on left, 15" MacBook Pro in center, 13" MacBook battery on right, below), and also interfaces with the unit itself to display the power charge indicator on the side of the unit. One side effect is that extra batteries now lack an easy way to tell if they're charged or not, but if the battery isn't in your notebook, you probably already know if its charged up or not. If you can't keep track, you'll now have to swap them in and out to find out. The convenience of the side mounted display is probably enough to outweigh the lack of an integrated battery indicator on the unit itself.

While a replacement battery has always seemed like an important feature, I have to admit that I have very rarely ever used any of my extra batteries over the last decade.

post #2 of 48
There is plenty of room on the MacBook for a FW800 port. That would've made a great selling point, and most likely, it would only add a couple of bucks to the manufacturing costs.
post #3 of 48
That's what you want. A solid piece of kit!
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #4 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

There is plenty of room on the MacBook for a FW800 port. That would've made a great selling point, and most likely, it would only add a couple of bucks to the manufacturing costs.

They want to differentiate, this was a judgement call about that. It's annoying as hell though.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #5 of 48
Where are the Macbook 13'' sound columns?

I can only see the Macbook Pro 15'' sound columns grill.
post #6 of 48
IMO it was a huge mistake not putting FW at all on the MB. This will exclude most people who need to connect their camcorders to their MB. Not to mention all the people who have already invested in FW external drives. What about booting into target mode? Have they made this work over USB?

Also, I find the black keyboards ugly. I get that people like the "chiclet" style keyboard but why not silver like on the last MBP's? The MBP's key covers are plastic in the last couple gens so materials/manufacturing should not be the issue. Even if it has more plastic, screws, etc. I think my MBP in all silver looks way better than the new two tone look. If they had used an all silver/aluminum color scheme on these new MBP's they might have reached design Nirvana.

Then again, what appeals to one, may not to another.
post #7 of 48
Looks good!
post #8 of 48
AppleInsider thanks for the article I enjoyed it and I am resisting going to my local Apple store to see them so this suffices. (My local Apple store is run by idiots and I cannot stand going inside.)

Apple is making consistent bounds in their products, more so that the likes of others (e.g., HP that has gone downhill since Hurd took over).
post #9 of 48
A year ago when I bought my Macbook I had wished for the LED display and it is nice, but I do not lust after these Macbooks due to their lack of firewire. For my old camcorder I needed firewire. There's no way I'd trade that for LED at this point. Unless, I got a new camcorder.
post #10 of 48
Is AppleInsider going to be purchasing one of the 24" LED displays, so we can get some high quality photos please?
post #11 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

(My local Apple store is run by idiots and I cannot stand going inside.)

I find the apple store employees generally very knowledgeable and always helpful.

I was disappointed wednesday however when I drove two hours round trip to the apple store in tampa and there were no new computers on display. ("these new computers will be in the store tomorrow", which would have been wednesday, we were told during the product announcement.) "We have them in the store," an employee told me when i complained. "They're just not out on display."

In the store, but not "in" the store. It was like Bill Clinton parsing "What is 'is'?" I registered a complaint with the store manager and left, disappointed. As an apple investor, i can only imagine a move like that let down some would-be first-time Mac buyers, who enthusiastically went to the store only to find out they couldn't see the computers after all.

True: I don't know whether this unsatisfactory outcome was unique to the tampa store or true in all the chain's stores. And i know within a week, when i get a chance to get to the store again, this will all be only a minor bump. All I'm sayin' is, it shouldn't happen that way. Sometimes the devil's in the details.
post #12 of 48
I always wonder, where is the security slot on the macbook pro?
post #13 of 48
Amazing, too bad Malaysia will only be able to see the new Macs in November...THATS A FREAKIN 3 WEEKS! not to include if it will pass our amazingly slow SIRIM inspection. Seriously, the new iPod Touch haven't even landed yet and how long have the new iPod Touch released? Oh right, sometime in September and its now almost middle of October.

That's interesting, the new base MBP price is higher then last time, when I bought my MBP it was RM6999, the new one its RM7199, I thought that the new MBP price is the same as the old one? Oh yea and it seems the MB and MBP current stocks will finish quickly cause one of the authorized dealer is doing clearance already, imagine the outlets will be out of macs...
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post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

I find the apple store employees generally very knowledgeable and always helpful.

I was disappointed wednesday however when I drove two hours round trip to the apple store in tampa and there were no new computers on display. ("these new computers will be in the store tomorrow", which would have been wednesday, we were told during the product announcement.) "We have them in the store," an employee told me when i complained. "They're just not out on display."

In the store, but not "in" the store. It was like Bill Clinton parsing "What is 'is'?" I registered a complaint with the store manager and left, disappointed. As an apple investor, i can only imagine a move like that let down some would-be first-time Mac buyers, who enthusiastically went to the store only to find out they couldn't see the computers after all.

True: I don't know whether this unsatisfactory outcome was unique to the tampa store or true in all the chain's stores. And i know within a week, when i get a chance to get to the store again, this will all be only a minor bump. All I'm sayin' is, it shouldn't happen that way. Sometimes the devil's in the details.

That is because certain days of the week are set aside for this kind of setup when new product arrives. It's not as simple as just throwing them out on the sales floor. The product has to be imaged properly with the store demo and a locked HD. The "visuals" employees also have to wait for plano info from corporate before they can setup anything and it will almost NEVER happen while the store is open.

Rule of thumb: Always call first if you're driving a long distance for something.
post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nanotech View Post

I always wonder, where is the security slot on the macbook pro?

I'm wondering the same thing

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post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by diger4ai View Post

IMO it was a huge mistake not putting FW at all on the MB. This will exclude most people who need to connect their camcorders to their MB. Not to mention all the people who have already invested in FW external drives. What about booting into target mode? Have they made this work over USB?

What is worse is that not only can't you do target disk mode, you can't boot off of anything over USB, which is also slower with higher latency then FW800 or even 400.
I use external disks to boot up my computers whenever I need to, since they are faster then CDs, and are writeable. Booting off of an external HD is the best way to perform diagnostics or checks on a Mac, and now Apple has removed that option. I'm not going to be buying any Mac without firewire any time soon....

But I am loving the new MBPs, and it's getting about time to upgrade from my tired old Mac Mini...
I can't wait to see the prices on the new 17 inchers when they come out whenever!
17" i7 Macbook Pro (Mid 2010), Mac Mini (early 2006), G3 B&W, G3 Beige Tower, 3 G3 iMacs (original, bondi, snow), Power Mac 7600/132, Power Mac 7100/100, Power Mac 6100/60, Performa 5280, Performa...
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17" i7 Macbook Pro (Mid 2010), Mac Mini (early 2006), G3 B&W, G3 Beige Tower, 3 G3 iMacs (original, bondi, snow), Power Mac 7600/132, Power Mac 7100/100, Power Mac 6100/60, Performa 5280, Performa...
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post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeTheRock View Post

What is worse is that not only can't you do target disk mode, you can't boot off of anything over USB, which is also slower with higher latency then FW800 or even 400.

All Intel based Macs can boot from USB drives that have been properly formated and have OSX installed. I've done it.
post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

I find the apple store employees generally very knowledgeable and always helpful.

I was disappointed wednesday however when I drove two hours round trip to the apple store in tampa and there were no new computers on display. ("these new computers will be in the store tomorrow", which would have been wednesday, we were told during the product announcement.) "We have them in the store," an employee told me when i complained. "They're just not out on display."

In the store, but not "in" the store. It was like Bill Clinton parsing "What is 'is'?" I registered a complaint with the store manager and left, disappointed. As an apple investor, i can only imagine a move like that let down some would-be first-time Mac buyers, who enthusiastically went to the store only to find out they couldn't see the computers after all.

True: I don't know whether this unsatisfactory outcome was unique to the tampa store or true in all the chain's stores. And i know within a week, when i get a chance to get to the store again, this will all be only a minor bump. All I'm sayin' is, it shouldn't happen that way. Sometimes the devil's in the details.

They weren't on the sales floor but were available for sale at my local store.
Another customer purchased a MacBook sight unseen.
After she purchased it she took it out to inspect it.
She allowed me to briefly examine it.
It is amazing! So solid... like a brick!
The screens are much brighter than the old MacBooks.
post #19 of 48
We're going to need a separate thread for the Firewire port discsussion - or is there one already?

I don't do much work with video, so I didn't know so many cameras had moved toward USB. That said, there are still tons of DV cameras out there in the middle of their useful lifespan. The way iLife has been positioned, including iMovie, it's not right to drop the Firewire port just yet.

iLife tells us that editing video is for casual consumers. Macbooks are for casual consumers. But not with casual consumer Firewire cameras.

Apple has established itself as the leader in moving away from older ports, clearly. But in this case they jumped the gun. Next year - I can see dropping it. This was too sudden.

We have both a Macbook and a MBP in this house. I've started using the Macbook more because of the size. If I wanted to upgrade to aluminum today I'd be pretty irritated by the lack of Firewire.
Emailing video from iPhone to Apple TV , sort of..
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Emailing video from iPhone to Apple TV , sort of..
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post #20 of 48
GREAT Photos! I'm not even in the market for a new laptop and those pics got my mind wandering...

As a man, I think I can speak for most of us salivating at the idea of a solid, metallic, curvy object.

I agree with a previous poster about the black keys. It's a little jarring. But the screen bevel is black so they really had no choice. Women would have noticed the disparity right away.

These are basically generation 1 of a new paradigm, so it will be fascinating to follow Apple's improvements. I'd like to be able to switch GPUs via a software toggle instead of rebooting. And when are the supposed breakthroughs going to come as far as battery life? 10 hours should be a moonshot goal by the end of this decade!

Those are niggles in what I consider to be Apple's sexiest product yet! Anyone want a 12" Powerbook?
post #21 of 48
> That would've made a great selling point, and most likely, it would only add a couple of bucks to the manufacturing costs.

As other said, it's probably about differentiating the products, or upselling more customers to the Pro. However, Firewire isn't that cheap. The Firewire chips cost more than a few bucks, require space on the logic board (USB is built-in to the chipset), and require power. Although I personally want a notebook with Firewire, it's reasonable that they would leave it off the consumer notebook. I use target disk mode all the time, but my less-savvy friends and family never do.

The black plastic hinge cover is ugly, but that's probably where they stuck the antennas.

> Also, I find the black keyboards ugly.

Agreed. I think that if they were the same color as the body, it would look a little weird, but no worse than the black keyboard. I think they should have used dark grey instead.

> I drove two hours round trip to the apple store in tampa and there were no new computers on display.

If the trip was so long, you should have called first. Not all the stores get new models on display immediately. (They may have had the new notebooks in stock, but perhaps they didn't have the displays to go with them, or they were waiting until after hours to set it up.) Also, Steve said "should" be in stores tomorrow.

> I always wonder, where is the security slot on the macbook pro?

Next to the optical drive, on the right side.
post #22 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nanotech View Post

I always wonder, where is the security slot on the macbook pro?

and
Quote:
Originally Posted by robb01 View Post

I'm wondering the same thing

Don't stress your brains too much guys:


http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...cbook_pro.html
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post #23 of 48
forget FW. give me an eSATA. Much more useful (speed and booting)
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by pandutzu View Post

forget FW. give me an eSATA. Much more useful (speed and booting)

Right on. DisplayPort was a great move, doing away with the old and getting onto an extensible new standard. eSata would not have surprised me either. Definitely more useful than old FireWire. Based on SCSI too, just like it.
post #25 of 48
What is very disappointing to me is that the only difference between MB and MBP now is the missing FW port. Now it's the MBP and MBP Mini...and...the old COOL TIMELESS design Macbook

So when do we get the "pro version" of the MB - including FW?
post #26 of 48
BTW...the "old" FW enabled us to use 2,5" harddrives without further power supply, and most cool NEW audio interfaces as well as video equipment uses FW
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

They want to differentiate, this was a judgement call about that. It's annoying as hell though.

And it's gonna bite'em in the ass. The judgement differentiation should have been a motherboard that offers 8GB of Ram and offers a 500 GB HDD.
post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by pandutzu View Post

forget FW. give me an eSATA. Much more useful (speed and booting)

You're joking, right? If your life evolves around your 1TB music collection on an external HDD and you want it to be eSATA, then explain how come that hasn't caught on in the PC World.

eSATA doesn't cover the Video industry, doesn't chain devices like FW and much more.
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zauner View Post

BTW...the "old" FW enabled us to use 2,5" harddrives without further power supply, and most cool NEW audio interfaces as well as video equipment uses FW

Most 2.5" hard drives require less than 500mA of power, and can be powered by the USB bus.
post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zauner View Post

What is very disappointing to me is that the only difference between MB and MBP now is the missing FW port. Now it's the MBP and MBP Mini...and...the old COOL TIMELESS design Macbook

So when do we get the "pro version" of the MB - including FW?

The MBP also has two graphics processors, expresscard slot, up to 2.8GHz processor, and a larger screen.
post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

And it's gonna bite'em in the ass. The judgement differentiation should have been a motherboard that offers 8GB of Ram and offers a 500 GB HDD.

7200RPM drives standard on the MacBook Pros wouldn't have hurt, either. And a higher density screen. That extra $400 between the MacBook and the MacBook Pro really doesn't get you much.
post #32 of 48
I was so looking forward to the Vent Shot. Please?

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
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Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

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post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

I find the apple store employees generally very knowledgeable and always helpful.

I was disappointed wednesday however when I drove two hours round trip to the apple store in tampa and there were no new computers on display. ("these new computers will be in the store tomorrow", which would have been wednesday, we were told during the product announcement.) "We have them in the store," an employee told me when i complained. "They're just not out on display."

In the store, but not "in" the store. It was like Bill Clinton parsing "What is 'is'?" I registered a complaint with the store manager and left, disappointed. As an apple investor, i can only imagine a move like that let down some would-be first-time Mac buyers, who enthusiastically went to the store only to find out they couldn't see the computers after all.

True: I don't know whether this unsatisfactory outcome was unique to the tampa store or true in all the chain's stores. And i know within a week, when i get a chance to get to the store again, this will all be only a minor bump. All I'm sayin' is, it shouldn't happen that way. Sometimes the devil's in the details.


was it worth the petrol though?! don't you know there's a war/recession/climate meltdown on?!
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

and

Don't stress your brains too much guys:


http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...cbook_pro.html

would it not somewhat hinder access to the optical drive if you? should've been out of the way towards the back.
post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosstheboss View Post

would it not somewhat hinder access to the optical drive if you? should've been out of the way towards the back.

...that's where the security slot has always been. That's where it is on the three year old 15" PowerBook G4 I'm typing this on. The nearest port on the right side (looking at the display), one of the two USB2 ports, is the same distance from the slot, if not closer, which seems like it would create more of a problem as these days, most people use the USB ports of their computer more than the disc drive.

Of course, this is ignoring the fact that if you're in front of your laptop and using it, you don't need it locked to the table (unless you're really paranoid).
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post #36 of 48
post deleted
"We're Apple. We don't wear suits. We don't even own suits."
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post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

Most 2.5" hard drives require less than 500mA of power, and can be powered by the USB bus.

Most 2.5" drives use slightly more than 500mA that the official USB specifications allows. Typical power requirements I have seen range from 550mA to 700mA of current at 5V. This can cause problems because in the interaction between Mac and external drive, the external drive might ask for more power than the Mac can provide, and problems may be exhibited in two ways:
1) The computer may tell you that the external cannot be provided enough power and thus ask you to disconnect it, or
2) The drive might appear to have power, but won't have enough current to spin up the drive reliably. Sometimes a drive will mount on a desktop Mac but not a MacBook/PowerBook. Sometimes a drive won't mount and sometimes it will (and this is on the same Mac).

PCs generally don't concern themselves with the 500mA current that a USB port is supposed to be limited to and can often source up to 1500mA without complaining or dying in the process.

Many USB external 2.5" drives have two USB (A) plugs, and are meant to source their >500mA from a combination of both these ports. To use these successfully, you disconnect the drive from the cable, plug in the Power-Only plug (USB-A) into the computer, then the Power-And-Data (USB-A) into the computer, then plug the other end into the external drive (usually mini-USB-5). This has not worked well with the older MacBooks, MacBook Pros or PowerBooks where there is a single USB-A on each side of the computer and this USB Y-cable doesn't reach both ports at once. The New MacBooks with both USB-A ports on the same side will work better with these cables.

Another option for some external USB drives is to use a mini plugpack power supply to power the drive and use the USB cable to transmit data only. This requires you to lug around a power supply and possibly a double-power adapter to power computer and drive simultaneously. Some external USB drives don't have provision for additional power.

The last option is to use a powered USB hub to provide sufficient current - again, it's one more extra that has to be carried around.

Firewire external drives can often be chained together without the need for additional power supplies, but the FireWire400 plugs and sockets have killed many logic boards and drives due to them being forceably plugged in the wrong way. FireWire800 is a neat and sure connection and usually gives much better performance as well.
post #38 of 48
Now, I know some people are upset about the lack of firewire on the new MacBook. While many of your thoughts as to why it's missing may be plausible, you might take a look at the tear-down pictures to get a feel for the internals of the machines. Sure, from the outside it looks like there is plenty of room to throw in a firewire port, but if you look at the MacBooks logic board and case design, you will see that there is no more room without making the laptop larger.



Either you have to give up a different port or increase the overall size if you really want that firewire port. Would you be complaining if Apple only included one USB port, but gave you Firewire?
post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbansprawl View Post

Now, I know some people are upset about the lack of firewire on the new MacBook. While many of your thoughts as to why it's missing may be plausible, you might take a look at the tear-down pictures to get a feel for the internals of the machines. Sure, from the outside it looks like there is plenty of room to throw in a firewire port, but if you look at the MacBooks logic board and case design, you will see that there is no more room without making the laptop larger.



Either you have to give up a different port or increase the overall size if you really want that firewire port. Would you be complaining if Apple only included one USB port, but gave you Firewire?

As was said when that was posted for the first time, the cramped-looking logic board isn't a good excuse.

Features are set BEFORE the Logic board is designed, not the other way around.

If the smaller 12" Powerbook had the space for all the current MB ports PLUS a modem port and a Firewire port, you can be assured there is the room inside the laptop for Firewire this time around.
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post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

If the smaller 12" Powerbook had the space for all the current MB ports PLUS a modem port and a Firewire port, you can be assured there is the room inside the laptop for Firewire this time around.

Exactly. But they should reduce somewhat the battery size to accomodate some more circuitry.
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