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Now that Apple has decided to switch to Intel chips, I am pretty sure they will be working on a whole new line-up of Powerbooks. I have been wanting to upgrade for a while – that is about six months – but have seen no compelling […]

Now that Apple has decided to switch to Intel chips, I am pretty sure they will be working on a whole new line-up of Powerbooks. I have been wanting to upgrade for a while – that is about six months – but have seen no compelling reason to spend the dollars. I have both 12 and 15 inch versions, but at times I wish they were more brisk and the screen was more crisp. I have a big wishlist for the next Powerbook, and hopefully Apple will give me a reason to spend. So what’s on my wishlist?

  1. Powerbook with 13.3 WXGA Screen. 12 inch is too small, 15 inch is too big, and the current screens lack a certain crispness to it.
  2. Don’t change the Aluminium casing. Perfection should not be messed around with.
  3. Don’t muck around with the keyboard – its perfect and makes you want to write.
  4. Keep connectivity options as they are – WiFi and Bluetooth, but add an EDGE/EVDO module as well.
  5. Add an audio-port similar to the ones found on cellphones, so we can use the same wired headsets.
  6. More battery life – five hours at the very least.
  7. Make the power charger smaller by 25%.
  8. Keep the weight of the machine below 4 pounds. 3.5 pounds would be ideal.
  9. Standard memory included in the device – one gigabyte, and standard storage 100 gigabytes.
  10. All this for around $1750. Now that would be awesome.

So now, you folks think Apple will roll out these features?

By Om Malik

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  1. Electric Monk Saturday, July 23, 2005

    1) The widescreen yes, hopefully also an 10 or 11″ widescreen sans optical (like the Sony X505) for the subnotebook and Japanese market, mostly for the Japanese market because that’s where they’re in a stall.

    1b) Also improve the quality of the screen, the matte version of Sony’s xbrite or something.

    2) Nah, they should change it. The aluminum gets too hot and is too fragile. Possibly aircraft grade aluminum instead for the somewhat improved strength? Or some other metal; nickel-carbon or magnesium and something. Maybe carbon fiber, but there are problems with that. Either way, I think they need a new metal.

    3) heck yeah, but add the backlit keys to all the PB’s.

    4) ehh. Would be passed by 3G soon enough (or already is in most of the world), leave it as a separate card.

    5-8) All good

    9) 1 GB of memory? Maybe half soldered in, the other half in the one memory slot given Apple’s chintzy memory ways. But yes, 1 GB soldered in would be awesome.

    10) Dare to dream. But probably not far off.

    11) Graphics card parity with the larger PB’s. At least for the 13.3″ one.

    As for how likely they are, well not that implausible I think. Apple knows that their Intel machines need to represent some cool pieces of work to convince macheads that this was a good idea. Presumably the first upgraded machines will be the Mac mini and the laptops so we’ll see within 6-12 months…

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  2. I’m no so sure I want a widescreen small size laptop. To me I would much rather have the 12″ PowerBook have just a greater resolution screen then its current 1024×768. This being said however I get around my lack of screen real estate by using the open source Desktop Manager program to have 4 virtual desktop on my 12″ PB.

    Also I dont think having a PB without an optical unit makes any sense, its too small of a market even for Apple. I’ve yet to see Apple do anything specifically for the Japanese market and I see no reason for them to start anytime soon.

    I would keep the Al case and I would just hope they backlight all the PB keyboards, its a useful thing. Oh and for those who say the current Al case is too fragile perhaps you should see my 12″ PB that had a 400W floodlight crash onto the top lid of the PB and arc live current through the PB while it was running with the only damage being done to my PB being two small marks on the top lid denoting where the leads for the flood element melted some of the Al. The machine didnt even reboot.

    Making an EVDO/EDGE module isnt entirely up to Apple per se, they just need to write the driver for whichever OEM starts making Mini-PCI cards with those capabilities. Besides, Bluetooth makes this unecessary if you have a nice BT enabled phone not to mention frees you up from having to wait for Apple or an OEM to do this as they are not in the phone biz whereas Nokia, etc are.

    With regards to cellphone wired headsets I have to disagree, its the cellphone people who should really be compatible here, not the laptop people. Mini stereo jacks have only been in existance for a small eternity. The only reason cellphones dont have the regualr size is to force people to by overpriced “cellphone headphones” and other wired headsets. Cellphones are all about selling accessories and if they allowed themselves to use the more common standard then they would have to compete against even more companies.

    Battery life will be highly dependant on the CPU/display/video/HD combination. If the new PB ends up being Yohan based then the biggest user of power will be the LCD probably then then video chipset (Mobility Radeon X800 XT uses 35W on a .13 micron process and thats the high end of mobile video right now) and then the CPU.

    Making the current charger smaller is likely to happen unless you’d like them to leave burn marks anywhere they are sitting during a charge cycle. Try feeling the AC adapter on your PB after an hour of charging the battery from 5% to full charge. Now take the same amount of heat but put it into an even more confined space I would worry about it shortening the life of the adapter. The current size is pretty good I think

    #8 is unrealistic with your other wishes. You have to add weight for more battery at some point. Ditto if a bigger screen too.

    #9 512MB is a good standard amount of RAM to ship with. Going to 1Gb while nice would increase the cost of the producat and force Apple to be even more at the whim of market RAM prices for inventory control.

    10# would be nice if they could even get it in at the 12″ PB pricepoint

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  3. generally yes; which is to say,

    13.3-inch widescreen: yes! oh god please yes! But, what is WXGA? I think the resolution on the current 15″ and 17″ is fine; a hypothetical 13″ screen would basically be a 12″ stretched horizontally, no? I think the same resolution as the old rev. A tibooks (was it 1152×768? whatever it is it’s what I’m using right now) would be perfect at 13″.

    5 hour battery life: I won’t upgrade until I see this. This alone is why I’m still using a rev. A 500MHz tibook.

    Aluminum: word, keep it. Keyboard: it’s the best keyboard ever put into a laptop. I went to the trouble of putting the albook key caps on my tibook — it’s that good.

    EDGE/EVDO? Whyever? Make a standard feature something only a smidgen of a percent of customers will use? And even if they want to use it, they have to get a contract with some other company to do so? Makes no sense. Shouldn’t and won’t happen. Someone should make a USB2 module for the very few people who want this capability. Or: just get a bluetooth cellphone.

    A gig of memory? As the base? You’re talking about a minimum? That’s crazy, ridiculous overkill. It would push up the price of the machine for all the people who don’t need a gig of memory, and the ‘Apple=expensive’ myth is already prevalent enough. The ibooks should have a 256 minimum, the powerbooks should have a 512 minimum.

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  4. Re: the WiFi, importantly, it should be a true MIMO endpoint, don’t you think?

    Re: the power supply, small is good, but the only thing I miss about the Dell laptop I used to use is the power supply was designed to make it very easy to wrap the cable around it (with a nice guide and a velcro strap to secure the whole thing).

    Also, wouldn’t you like the thing to be a little cooler than it is right now? Lapburn sucks :-(.

    Cheers,
    Andre

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  5. George Lien Sunday, July 24, 2005

    Personally, I think 14-inch widescreen would be perfect. It would be best if it is High Definition, HD, ready.

    Aluminium casing needs to be ditch as many of us–me–have been buying iBooks instead of PowerBook because their ugly aluminium casing design.

    While the painting on the keyboards had been improved over the years, those keyboards still look like they come with very cheap-looking spry finished.

    If Apple keeps the casing, then I guess I will continue to buy iBooks instead of PowerBooks.

    Best Regards,

    George Lien

    Owner of PowerBook 1999, PowerBook 2000, PowerBook 2001, PowerBook 2003, iBook 2004 and iBook 2005.

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  6. Justin Mecham Sunday, July 24, 2005

    I’d like to see a GPS module included with hooks in OS X for location-based preferences… that is, based on your GPS coordinates. So, if I’m at work, or my parent’s, or in a different time zone the OS will update any locale-sensitive details to my preferences or other logical settings (time zone, weather data, etc).

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  7. so what i am hearing, is that 13.3 inch powerbook at four pounds with five hours of battery life is on the wanted list of others as well. someone asked about wxga, well i am getting old and perhaps that’s why hope for a more crisp screen.

    George, I am not too married to aluminium casing, but it is astheically so distinictive, that i have a little fondness for it. I can however, go for the ibook look as well.

    on the topic of mini stereo jack, you know i am good with it because actually with more than 500 million phones selling, the headset progress is much faster compared to the PC headsets.

    now, i just hope they make a cool machine and let me upgrade.

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  8. The aluminium kills the wifi signal. So a non-metal casing would be better. But then you have heat dissipation problems. Quite a tradeoff.

    There is *no* standard for headset jacks on phones. Sony Ericsson jacks won’t fit Nokia phones won’t fit Moto… so let’s leave that alone.

    Longer battery life? Sure. How? Ah.

    More RAM? Perhaps the price will have come down by then, but given how long it’s taken to get up even to 512M as standard, don’t hold your breath.

    I think “faster, cooler, lighter, with better Wifi reception” is your four-sided triangle of wishes, really.

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  9. This is somewhat off topic – just saw this at – http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/1394/USB/EliteAL/RAID/
    1 TB storage -

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  10. One thing that I’d really like to see would be better power to the USB 2 ports on the 15″ powerbooks.

    Also, I have to agree with the slightly stronger case. I like the aluminium casing for it’s looks, but my Dell systems resist dents and dings far better. Maybe another ti case, or something cool in another advanced metal.

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