Apple gadget lust for me, but anything for Ed Tech?

Apple gadget lust for me, but anything for Ed Tech?

Summary: I have to get a new MacBook Pro. I need to find a way to convince my wife that one of my kids needs my MacBook and I must therefore have one of the latest MBPs introduced today.


I have to get a new MacBook Pro. I need to find a way to convince my wife that one of my kids needs my MacBook and I must therefore have one of the latest MBPs introduced today. Because seriously, folks, if you haven't checked out coverage of the Apple notebook event today, they're just incredibly cool.

Not only do they include some serious graphics horsepower via a new NVIDIA chipset (the GeForce 9400M that provides, according to Steve Jobs, about 83% of the graphics speed seen on the current MacBook Pro in an integrated solution), but have some features that put every other laptop maker to shame. It's almost mean, actually. How can I pass up a glass trackpad with multitouch and no physical buttons, but multiple software-enabled buttons that are part of the trackpad? Did I mention the turbo mode that kicks in a dedicated graphics card (at the expense of battery life) for serious video editing performance? I'm thinking that remastering those old home movies just might be my rationale for this one - iMovie is a bit sluggish on my MacBook.

The base model is only $2000 (plus a RAM upgrade that I'd do after market since Apple is so silly about its memory prices) and it's thinner and more energy efficient than my MacBook (although the $2500 model with 6MB L2 cache and 2.53GHz dual core processor just might be a siren song I can't resist). My tree-hugging wife should appreciate that, right, along with the elimination of BFR, mercury, PVC, and arsenic? The specs are available on all of the live blogging sites now, but suffice to say it's going to be fast, light, strong and efficient with its new unibody construction (solid aluminum blasted out to make the shell, just as rumors have been suggesting lately).

Of course, that's just me. What about those of us in Ed Tech who might want cool stuff like this (or the faster MacBook Air they announced as well), but just don't have the budgets to get them into students' and teachers' hands? After Jobs' famous "One more thing line," he indicated a $100 price cut on current MacBook models. The next-generation MacBook was also introduced and includes unibody aluminum construction like the new MBP's, the multitouch glass trackpad, and the NVIDIA 9400m chipset.

Here's where the Ed Tech just might come in, especially for students looking at a high-performance but reasonably-priced laptop. Performance near that of the previous MBP can be had for $1299 on the next-generation MacBook.

Is this affordable for everyone? No. However, a journalism lab or digital media lab could now be outfitted with these guys for a pretty nice price. We can also recommend MacBooks without reservation for most students now, regardless of what they are doing graphics-wise (with the exception of students headed for serious professional graphics careers).

Geez...I really want a new Mac. That Steve Jobs is a sneaky one, isn't he? Coercing me into the cult of Mac and then making me buy more products that I can't afford because they're just so darned cool and useful. Now if I can just make my wife join the cult, too, I'll be golden (or aluminum, as the case may be, terrible pun definitely intended).

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • Your Mac Lust borders on Creepy....

    Geez... that article is just a little bit scary. The kid on the eTrade commercials is in my head..."I seriously underestimated the creepiness factor"... he says this about a clown and I am applying it to you...

    Wipe that drool off the keyboard, we wouldn't want you to short-circuit your current mac before your kid gets to use it!
    • His RDF Radiation Readings are off the charts!

      I agree, this is one spooky blog post... perhaps in time for Halloween?
      • The only thing spooky

        will be the disappearing act my money does from my bank account :)

        Or the monster my wife becomes when I start talking home equity lines to finance my gadget lust!

        Happy Halloween, folks!

  • Apple gadget lust

    Still just a toy with so many UNNECESSARY Bells and Whistles. For a student machine price is a determining factor, whether a home budget or a school budget, a MACs simply can't cut it against a PC machine. Really the only good Apple has a red or green skin and has pips inside.
    • Explain your reasoning...

      [i]"... just a toy with so many UNNECESSARY Bells and

      What bells and whistles are unnecessary? Is it the iSight
      camera? Well, maybe it is, but with a student, a lot of
      them like to iChat (or whatever chatter they use)
      visually. Maybe it's the Bluetooth. I mean, who wants to
      use any kind of wireless anyway? Of course, that would
      have to include the 802.11 as well. These are the three
      main components cheaper PC laptops lack.

      Or are you talking about the higher-level graphics
      capabilities? Students in particular can't afford to buy
      both a laptop for classes and a desktop for gaming and
      other things; the laptop has to do it all. Including

      It looks to me that all the Apples are as good if not
      better than any PC machine you can name.
      • Unnecessary Bells and whistles

        Students get distracted so easily. I teach Computer Applications and Comp Science. In order to keep them on task I frequently have to turn off access to internet and email. we have a Mac lab and in there they are constantly playing with the features. Some (non-chalkface teachers) may think this is good but it tends to throw the class into chaos.
        • As a former instructor...

          ... I agree: Students do get distracted too easily. And
          yes, I was a "chalkface."

          However, the discussion wasn't about classroom
          hijinks; it was about everyday use of the computers.
          While I accept computers can be useful in the school
          environment, it seems that too many students have
          taken to using it as a crutch and as a result, our
          average graduate is far less prepared for the real
    • Mac Book for Students ?

      This latest offering from Apple had made me chuckle, I know students get a discount for their mac books, but which student is going to seriously look at a Mac when it's differential with a comparable PC is almost ?500.
      Apple are having a laugh.

      In a time of pending recession, Apple need to get a grip if they are not to repeat the first iphone pricing fiasco. I was waiting for a cheaper mac book from Apple for my children at University and for me to use at work. I'll look for mine on e bay and let the kids buy their Windows laptop for College, much as it pains me. Well done Apple Marketing !
  • 9400 is entry level. But the article I read says 9600?

    That 9400 video card is really not a good reason to buy a $2000 laptop, especially for a lab. Even Nvidia calls it an entry level card. Might be good for a laptop, but for a video machine? If you really want to set up a lab for video, you could get better graphics and spend half as much by going with a PC desktop and adding a 9600 for only $100 more. Not to mention, that way the DVD burners would be faster than that stupid Superdrive, you can replace or add burners to the boxes at $30 a pop, and you won't have to spend any money on those stupid dongles to get video out of the box and into a projector/TV. I can still outrun an Intel iMac with my old 2GHz Sempron box with 1.5 Gb of RAM using the software that came with the DVD burner and a 64 Mb eVGA Geforce 440 video card. I don't know how or why, but it edits faster, renders faster, burns faster, and cost less. Which irritates me, as I really hoped the iMac would be the bees knees for video...and it isn't.

    And remember all those issues about TCO on a laptop vs a desktop? Better think again, and keep your Mac lust at home, and not in the taxpayers' pockets.
    • Looks like you missed a bit of information...

      The MBP at $2000 has BOTH the 9400M & the 9800M, selectable on just how much video power or battery life
      you want. This means the beastie can run faster than any
      previous MBP model for games and probably faster than
      most other models short of the Mac Pro itself.
      • Yes I did miss it, and I still can't see it.

        I can't find that 9800 mentioned in this or the other two articles I read; though I did see the 9600 mentioned in one. Where are you seeing it?
        • error on my part...

          I did mean 9600M GT.
  • I have sold every one of my old Macs

    I get the new models every year and sell the previous one to
    friends. Only once did I resort to eBay. You can always get a
    good price if selling within 18 months.
  • The problem with Apple

    The problem with Apple is, that it's so focused on selling expensive lifestyle gadgets, targeting mainly (but not exclusively) the "arty types" (no offence meant, Chris... I don't mean you).

    Apple lacks the down-to-earth cost-effective approach from Windows and Linux. Those have the working-class appeal of getting the job done, without glamour and to-do. Doing a hard day's labour to earn your wage. Real life.

    Apple has the potential to address that market, the biggest one, as well, but it aristocratically refuses to do so. That may well be it's undoing in the long run.
    • "...That may well be it's undoing..."

      Or it's formula for success. By providing a superior
      product at a reasonable price; even if that price is higher
      than you want to pay. Then again, do you pay the same
      price for a Lexus that you do for a Toyota?
      • No, I just buy the Pontiac.

        But then, I'm a PC....
      • Recession !

        You may not have heard it yet but we are approaching a recession. Apple Marketing is clearly trying to sell these laptops to a different planet not just a different market segment.

        Catch um young and they'll stay with you, because change is all too difficult. Well done Apple you've just thrown away a gloriuos opportunity to nail Microsoft and you blew it. ?720 for an entry laptop ! What are Apple Inc drinking ?
        • I'll tell you; it's not kool-aid.

  • Wah Wah I want...please Chris keep it in check.

    All of this Apple mania to the exclusion of other important topics.

    There is nothing noteworthy about the new MacBook other than a highly impractical process for manufacturing an aluminum case, the cost of which is being passed along to the consumer.

    Anybody buying into Apple is buying into a closed proprietary system.

    Wake up and smell the coffee would you?
    • I do smell coffee...

      And it's organic, shade-grown, and fair trade :)

      Sorry, I have become a real Mac devotee, but I still haven't completely lost site of PC value (I include Linux in that, by the way).

      I think that Macs have their place (including in my messenger bag), but not to the exclusion of truly cost-effective solutions for most mainstream educational applications.

      There's a reason these are popular with college students, though - they work really really well, out of the box; they are light and small; and they fit well into a variety of network situations with an impressive ecosystem around them (read iPod).