I want to buy a new PowerBook. This one will be the fifth PowerBook I have bought, and I still have them two of them, only because I passed on the others to computerless friends. Old Macs never die, they just become servers or fancy hard drives.
I never research these purchases. I just buy the one in the middle, and take whatever features it has. What am I going to do, buy a Dell or a Gateway? Yeah, right. I did buy a Vaio once, when Vaio meant “really, really small”, and I put FreeBSD and an AppleShare thingy on it, so it looks like a Mac to the network. Nope, I just buy PowerBooks now.
Let’s pretend, however, that I was not only going to buy a PowerBook, but that I was in the market to shop for a PowerBook, meaning that I actually might say no, or choose something else, or just not buy anything. What would I want? While I was running along the Detroit River yesterday, I started to make a list.
Now, I know that the PowerBook I am going to buy already has a lot of features that I would look for, like a DVD Burner, BlueTooth, 802.11g, and so on. Not counting those things that I expect in a PowerBook, what else would I want?
Some of this might already be on the new PowerBooks. I thought about checking, but then thought I would be cheating for this little intellectual exercise by letting the Apple marketeers put thoughts into my head.
- Multiple Hard Drives - Not removable drives or external drives, but more than one inside the case. I want my system stuff separate from my user stuff so they do not have to compete for the read head on the disk.
- RAID - If we can do multiple drives inside, let’s do RAID! XServes do not count. I want this in my PowerBook.
- A sliding door - I have one of those models with the flap in the back that rotates down to expose all the ports. I like the idea of hiding that stuff (although it did not do anything to keep desert dust out), but what about a sliding, flexible door thing where the door coiled from a spool or slide along the interior of the case? Okay, that is dumb, but I thought about it.
- Detachable screen - I saw this laptop that an insurance assessor had. The screen was attached to the laptop by two arms that attached to the middle of the screen’s edge, allowing it to rotate. He turned in completely around then closed it again so the screen was facing out. Cooler yet, it was a touch screen! I know Microsoft has a tablet PC thing, but I am talking about just the screen.
- Stretchable screens - talking about screens, do you remember those movie projector screens from grade school? You had to pull them down just right for the clutch thing to engage, or the screen would violently roll itself up? I want an updated version of that, but for my PowerBook. Forget about 12, 15, or 17 inches. I could extend this flexible panel up, down, or sideways to create a custom screen size appropriate for the situation. At home I have it in cinerama mode, on the plane in 17 inch mode (just to show off), and for the World Series, I add a TV tuner and stretch the screen to 15 foot mode.
- Wireless Power - after they discovered radio waves, they completely gave up on this. I would even settle for a really small nuclear reactor inside the case, as long as I could get 3 years out of my battery. I already have to put a magazine between my lap and the Powerbook, so why not a lead blanket?
- External display - You know those little displays on the outside of some flip phones? I want one of those for my PowerBook. I would display WiFi signal strength, battery life, and the number of email in my inbox. That way I do not have to do anything to figure out if I have anything to do. I do not have to open my PowerBook if it is not worth it.
- Cellular Phone Jammer - just like they had in Mission: Impossible (the movie). Turn my PowerBook into a forced cellular free zone. This would probably be illegal, but so is a lot music downloading and I hear kids still like that a lot, and it would be really handy right now in this hotel restaurant.
- Flash card reader - I still want a BlueTooth camera, but until then, how about a flash card reader on the side of the PowerBook? Apple can take away my PCI slot if they like, but then I expect two flash card readers. Sure, I could hook up my camera with a USB cable, but then I have to remember where I put the cable, which I have not seen in months.
- Manual CD eject button - whatever happened to those? The paperclip used to be a Mac toolbox requirement. When I say to “eject the CD”, I mean “eject it now!”, not when the operating system gets around to it (which can take a while if your CD reader is horked, or the disk is bad).
- Pneumatic pads - pump these up to bring the Powerbook a comfortable height off the desk, or pump up only one of them to make the PowerBook sit level on an uneven surface.
- Sound input - whatever happened to sound input? Sure, I have a Belkin iMic, and I am getting an Mbox, but what happened?
- Track lighting - I know the latest keyboards light up, and I am really looking forward to that, but I would like tiny lights embedded on the top edge of the screen. These lights would light up the immediate area of the laptop, and reduce eyestrain from looking at the bright screen in the dark (at least I think so).
- MP3 Player - I cannot use my PowerBook when it is closed, so I need to use my iPod to listen to music while I am walking around. What if I could have a cable like some of the new MP3 palyers have, with a mini-display? I hook this into the PowerBook, which I stow under the seat in front of me. The PowerBook is put away, but I am still listening to tunes without having to carry around another hard drive.
- Carrying handle - my wife’s clamshell iBook has one of these, and it is pretty nifty. I am always worried about crushing the screen of my TiBook when I pick it up.
I could probably come up with more things, but I did not run that far.
What do you want on your PowerBook?