The new MacBookPro: top of a multimedia journalist’s wish list?

Apple’s decision to rebrand the aluminium MacBook as a MacBookPro makes a lot of sense.

The lack of any real replacement for the original 12-inch PowerBook has long been a source of complaint for Mac users. At the same time, offering two different types of MacBook — plastic and aluminium — might have confused some buyers. Then there was the issue of connection options. The aluminium MacBook had neither the FireWire 400 connector of the white MacBook, nor the FW800 and ExpressCard options on the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros.

The new machine fixes both the marketing and the connectivity. The 13-inch model has a FireWire 800 port, so journalists using video cameras, as well as high-end audio hardware, can hook their kit up to the smaller MacBookPro. The new machine goes one better, and adds an SD card slot. This is reasonably common on consumer PCs, but it is a first for Apple.

The SD card slot is actually a pretty neat addition to the computer. Anyone working to deadlines knows how fiddly external card readers can be (try it perched on a chair at the front row of a keynote). At the same time, many digital cameras, audio recorders and video cameras now use SD cards.

Some users will complain that there is no ExpressCard slot. ExpressCard is useful, for example, to provide an additional FireWire connector for video sources whilst using the internal FireWire bus for external drives. But reporters working mostly in video will probably want the 15-inch or even 17-inch machines, with their larger screens and more powerful processors. The 13-inch MacBook Pro’s video hardware does not officially support Final Cut Pro in any case.

But as a step up from the white MacBook, the 13-inch model looks attractive. The more robust body would probably swing it for me, especially as the MacBook Pro weighs just a touch over 2kg. The SD card slot is a bonus, and at £899 the machine is not much more expensive than the recently updated (white) MacBook.

  • If you are on a budget, and can live with FW400, the older (2Ghz) models of the white MacBook are being discounted, in some cases to under £600. That’s something of a bargain. I hope to post a comparison of the two machines here in due course.
  • About stephenpritchard
    Freelance journalist specialising in business and technology, based in London (UK).

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