My MacBook Pro experience will, over the next few days, be drawing to a close. But what will be the things that I miss and those that won't I miss?
After nearly a month I have to admit that the sexiness of the notebook has faded. That never lasts long. It's a notebook, a nice one no doubt, but it's still just a tool. However, as style has given way to function, I've been pleased with how practical a machine it's been. Once I'd overcome the WiFi problem, the machine quickly started to pull it's weight. It quickly became a web surfing, writing and blogging platform. Using Grab to take screenshots soon became second nature (although it's nowhere near as good as SnagIt, my screen capture tool of choice, but Grab is better than Snipping Tool which comes with Vista).
There are a number of aspects of the MacBook Pro's hardware that I really like. For example, I love the screen. It's one of the best that I've used - clear, crisp, bright. I really enjoy using the trackpad - the double-tap acting for a right-click is a real timesaver and I find myself trying to do this on my other notebooks all the time now.
The backlit keyboard is also a feature that I'll really miss. I don't like the keyboard layout that much because I keep hitting the CAPS LOCK key but that's something that I'd get over after a while. Even little things like the button on the back that shows you how much charge is left in the battery is a neat touch that I now wish my other notebooks had. The MacBook also runs cool and seems to dissipate heat well. I can use it on my lap without discomfort. The MagSafe power connector is also a winner. Very nice indeed.
As for the Mac OS itself, I've been quite surprised as to how much I've warmed to it. There's a simplicity to it that I find comforting. What can I say about it apart from "it just works". I appreciate how clean the notebook is - there's no craplets to uninstall or get in the way of the Mac experience. To be honest, this MacBook was set up for me by the kind folks at Apple who loaned it to me, so I'm not sure how much setting up there is when you get a new MacBook. As a rule I buy notebooks without operating systems on them and set them up myself and I've done this so many times that it's almost second nature. If Apple had given me a Mac OS X disc I would have gone through an install process to see what it's like, but since I don't have one, I can't.
One software feature that I really like is BootCamp. With Leopard I'm pretty sure that Apple is going to be making a really big deal of the ability to run Windows on a Mac. It's the safety net that I think many Windows users have been waiting for in order to give Apple and Mac OS a go. BootCamp makes a transition to the Mac OS a lot easier and offers some the opportunity to live and work in a multi-OS world. BootCamp also removes a major home limitation - gaming. Just install Windows and get the best of both worlds. Yes, it's two systems to administer, but it's worth it. If you keep the Windows OS off the net and don't download email to it, you could dispense with having to download and install patches from Microsoft.
There are, however, a few things that irritate me about the MacBook Pro. They don't irritate me in any huge kind of way, but after a month I'm still irritated. I still feel that they keyboard is too far away from the front of the MacBook and I find myself hunching over to type. The buttons on the trackpad feel clunky and out of place. I'm surprised that Apple haven't come up with something smarter (my recommend would be to trash the buttons and replace them with touchpads).
Another irritant is the Mac lunatic fringe. I don't mean fans (there's nothing wrong with being a fan), but instead those that make broad, crazy claims or seem to seem to take any criticism as though it's a personal attack. There are far fewer of these lunatics around today than there were a few years ago but they're still there, on Mac forums and websites. These people do Apple no favors at all and I'm convinced that they actually put people off buying Macs.
If you're a MacBook user, what's yur favorite feature? If you use a Windows-based notebook, is there a MacBook feature that you'd like to see on your next notebook?