For the last five days, I’ve been near-obsessively refreshing the FedEx website, hoping for news of the whereabouts of my new computer. I’m transitioning away from a work-owned PowerBook G4 1.5Ghz, and into a MacBook Pro 1.83Ghz of my very own. This morning, when the knocking came at 8am, I was convinced it was anyone but the FedEx guy delivering my computer, as we all know that FedEx’s modus operandi is something on the order of overpromise and underdeliver, but there he was, dropping off the tiny box that I couldn’t believe actually held my computer.
To my shock and awe, there it was. The box itself is half as thin, and only slightly taller than the PowerBook boxes I’ve come so used to unpacking. Nestled within its polysterene innards was my computer, its monumental power adapter, a few discs, a remote and a display adapter. These are my first thoughts, from unpack to working system, are contained within.
Much has been made of the packaging of the MacBook Pro, as it’s a radical departure from the packaging of the previous PowerBook models. The box itself is barely 4″ deep, and probably only a few inches taller than the older model box. There’s certainly less styrofoam as well, molded into two flat sections that form the next for the PowerBook and its accessories. Gone is the medium format paper manual, as well, replaced by a manual that fits easily within the DVD package box, along with the smaller warranty papers. The intricate pattern on the top of the box makes a tempting grab point for removing the top panel, but sadly, this just ends up damaging the pattern. I managed to pop out a couple of the nice new patterned sections before I gripped it by the edge and popped it open that way.
The theme of the day begins here, as pressing the power button triggered both the screen lighting up and the power chime, in that order. Granted, light does travel faster than sound, but wow, that’s pretty amazing. Once pressed, it’s about 30 seconds from power on to setup screen. Not at all shabby when you think that my old powerbook’s boot time was measured in minutes, and not seconds.
Safari was the first application that I tried, and the first jaw-dropping discovery of the improvements made by the CoreDuo chipset. One bounce. Correction, half a bounce. By the time the Safari icon had risen to its apex, I had an open window, and by the time it had fallen back to the Dock, the page was half loaded. Not at all shabby. Next, I logged into my TypePad account, and prepared to wait for the SSL side of things to take effect. Much to my surprise, the login was nearly instant, and not nearly as slow as it had been prior to Safari for PowerPC. Subsequent pages and sites also loaded very quickly, much more so than in previous versions.
Mail shows a bit of improvement as well, but it’s much harder to tell what’s faster, though Search appears to be a bit zippier.
Dashboard is much improved for the Intel Mac, springing forth quickly and cleanly, unlike its invocation on my old PowerBook, which took an unacceptable amount of time, and did so in a jerky hurdy-gurdy fashion. The new, improved Dashboard will likely become a staple for me, where before I was unhappy to have to use it.
Microsoft Office are clearly Rosetta apps, and it shows. Memory Usage goes up, Speed goes down. It’s not a fatal flaw, but it’s enough to remind me to keep it shut when it’s not being used. I have a feeling this bodes not so well for Photoshop and other similar applications
Though it’s been just a few short hours getting things going, I’m very impressed with the MacBook Pro, which runs at a lightning pace compared to my 2 year old PowerBook G4.