|I received a MacBook Pro two weeks ago. Since then, I spent about 25 or 30 hours to configure, debug and repair it. The goal is to have a single production machine that have the possibility to run Mac OSX, Windows XP and Linux using Parallels, a Virtual Machine software that work under OSX (and that works pretty well!). However I had many, many troubles to get that production machine working and this blog post is the resume of what doesn’t work, for me, with that laptop computer.|
Everybody says that Apple is a design company: you pay 2000 dollars for a beautiful, reliable and well-designed laptop computer. Yeah well, they are quite beautiful, but are they that well designed? Is the quality (you have to pay for quality at that price) that good? I have some doubts.
The flaws: what doesn’t work for me
In this blog post I will enumerate the things that goes wrong with my brand new MacBook Pro with an Intel processor.
Problems with the CD/DVD driver
The quality is questionable
What is the first thing you do when you receive a new laptop? Yeah, you install software! What if the CD/DVD driver doesn’t works? You call the AppleCare service to change it and wait 5 days.
The problem is not that my driver wasn’t working, it can happen. The problem is that the company who sent me the laptop, OpenLink (more information about them and my relation with them later this week), had the exact same problem with others MacPro they bought. So, where is the quality I am supposed to pay for? I have no idea.
What about small CDs?
After a couple of days, I bought an external hard drive to use as a backup drive. Then I checked to install some software that was coming with it. I was looking at the small size CD, wondering how I could put it in my laptop’s CD drive? I couldn’t without loosing it and calling the AppleCare service again.
(view of the CD/DVD drive)
The CD/DVD driver on the MacBook (same for the iBook) is really beautiful. But I think that it is a design flaw considering that you can’t put these little flashy CDs. What can I do? Nothing since the drivers where not accessible from the Internet, so I send back the hard drive to the shopping store.
What about the USB ports?
It only has 2 USB ports
There are only 2 USB ports on the MacPro. My goal was to use the laptop as my main computer. So I have to plug a mouse, a keyboard, a printer, an external hard drive and possibly my digital camera cable to it. How the hell should I do that? With a USB hub. It works fine now, but I had to use a plug-in.
The position of the ports
I am right handed and I always use mouse with my laptops. The biggest design flaw is that they put one of the two USB port exactly where I should put my mouse. Normally it should be at the top of the laptop, near the screen, but this one is right at the middle of the laptop, exactly where it shouldn’t.
(Right USB port)
Where the problems came from?
I think the problem came from their screen since they can’t put any ports at the back of the laptop so this is why they put them on the sides.
(front view of the screen)
(back view of the screen)
The Intel Processor
“Is the bug coming from the new Intel Processor or it is something else?” This is a frequent question you ask yourself when you buy a Mac Intel. There is no way to know. I spent most of my time trying to figure out what was the problem with the software I was installing on my laptop. Are the bugs were because the software wasn’t compatible with the new Intel processor or it was something else? It depends on the software.
For example, I bought a Microsoft Natural Keyboard because it was working on both Windows and OSX and because I like its feeling. I installed the configuration software on OSX, I restarted OSX, and a message was displayed: not working with this type of instance. So, it wasn’t working for the Intel processor.
I spent a couple of hours to find the new drivers for the keyboard.
This is an example of the current problem (since it will be fixed over time): each time you buy something for the Mac Intel, you have to check if it has been only tested on the PowePC Mac, or the Intel too.
This is really frustrating since you never know.
Would you like to make a fried egg on your laptop? It is now possible!
What I like is checking the news on my couch and reading my Bloglines with my laptop on my knees. This is really hard to do with the MacBook Pro since it become really, really hot. I have a small 12” iBook, and it doesn’t have this problem.
It seems that you can change some settings you fix the problem, so I’ll have to try it.
The famous magnetic power cable plug
It was supposed to be a great feature, but in the end, it is a big flaw for me. It is great if you are in an Internet coffee and that someone kick your wire with his legs but for the same reason the one about the heat problem: I spend a great time with my laptop on my knees. The problem here is that the little magnetic plug always unplug: on my couch, in the bus from Quebec to Montreal, etc, etc.
The idea is great, but it is too easy to unplug it, so it makes it more frustrating than useful.
Try to open your laptop
One last design flaw I can note: the open button is quite too small and seems cheap (doesn’t always work smoothly). I am 6’5” and I have big hands. So when I try to open my laptop, I have to take the time to push the open button well enough to open the laptop. It can seem stupid, but what it would cost to make it s little bit bigger?
(front button to open the laptop)
Don’t miss understand me here: I didn’t wrote this little blog post to kick Apple with their new laptop model; but only to explain what was not working for me with it and to make people aware of the possible problems they can encounter.
Once I spent 25 hours to install, debug and repair (CD/DVD driver) my workstation, it becomes a real good productivity laptop with a full of advantages (the workflow between OSX and Windows XP via Parallels is really great and work quite fine).
Now I can say that I like my new workstation, but I had to tame it and it frustrated me to have to spend that much time to make it works well enough to work with.