Check those wee MacBook factoids

Macworld have been taking a closer look at the new MacBook (Pro)s. There are some interesting factoids about the machines, both positive and negative:

Within the Energy Saver preference pane, you can choose between “Better battery life” (the 9400M) and “Higher performance” (the 9600M GT) for graphics. However, this isn’t a switch you can do on the fly—nor can you set the system to use one when you’re on battery power and the other when you’re attached to an outlet. In fact, to switch between the two cards requires you to log out of your user account and log back in.

Bonkers! Hopefully the full story re dual GPUs will filter out in due course. I’m still scratching my head a little over why this design feature requires two chipsets, and not just one that scales down, but there must be a good reason for it.

Anyway, then there’s this wee feature, which is pretty nifty:

…these new MacBooks work with your iPhone headphones. If you click the button on your iPhone headphones, iTunes pauses. Click again, and the music resumes. A double-click advances one track, and a triple-click moves back a track…

(I note from photos that the MacBooks boast re-assigned function keys to cover iTunes (and video?) playback shuttle operations, which is quite nice). Continuing the keyboard theme, this is basically the same as that in the older MacBook range. I love the keys on Kinky (my “Blackbook”), and the general feedback I’ve read is that the MacBook beats out the old Pro in the keyboard stakes (bar the backlighting), so this sounds like another positive (unless of course you just hate the MacBook keys).

Summary? Nice machines and all—but read the reviews before you decide for sure; on that front, I sincerely hope Ars Technica’s John Siracusa steps up here: his stuff is exhaustive and amazingly well-informed.

Read more: Macworld - First Look: MacBook and MacBook Pro.


  1. Very nice machines. Just wish they'd add a "real" Delete key to the keyboard.

    The Lenovo Thinkpad T500 also has two graphic chipsets (ATI Mobility Radeon 3650 and Intel X4500 integrated). You can switch between them dynamically. Take that Apple! ;-)Bob Congdon#
  2. Ditto for some more bespoke machines—m’colleague Mark informs me that Alienware manufacture laptops like that.

    I suspect the OS is lacking when it comes to switching graphics chip-sets, hence the need for logging out / in.Ben Poole#
  3. The 9400M is the chipset…the bit that ties the CPU, Memory etc together. Its also happens to be a GPU. Either way, the machine needs a chipset and the fact that they put a high end GPU in the MBP (to differentiate if from the MB) and still allow you to use the low end GPU that happens to be there by default is pretty clever from a marketing perspective. This sharing of the base chipset/GPU also surely translates to easier maintenance of OSX builds across models.Colin Williams#
  4. I still think these keyboards look like the one I had on my old ZX Spectrum!Simon Barratt#
  5. See what I mean: Barratt#
  6. True! They work a lot better though, trust me ;-) Ben Poole#
  7. Update!

    “Top 10 things you didn't know about the new MacBook”

    Heh, love the immersion sensors idea—crafty Apple!Ben Poole#
  8. @7: Number 4 -- "Break the glass screen fascia; replace the whole screen". Ouch. The screen on our MacBook got "dinged" earlier this year and developed a crack. TechRestore charged a few hundred dollars to do the replacement. Sounds like it's going to be a lot more expensive for these new MacBooks.Anonymous Coward#

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