Improving the Powerbook

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by will, Dec 14, 2002.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2002
    #1
    The powerbook is already a very nice laptop, but there's always room for improvement. In this post I look at how Apple might change the powerbook in its next update.

    CPU
    More processor power is always good, however as there are already numerous threads on this subject, there seems little point in bringing them all up again. As fast as possible (without setting fire to my lap or eating all the battery). Perhaps Apple should have different clock speeds for battery/mains use?

    Screen
    The powerbook screen is nice, but it could have a better viewing angle. As for a higher resolution, I'm not sure. I wouldn't want the screen to be physically any larger, so it would be a matter of squeezing more pixels into the same space, how's about upping the resolution to 1400x1024?

    Design and Build
    This is one of the most important aspects of the powerbook. While the form factor is nice, it definitely needs to be tougher, after all laptops are bound to get a few knocks and bumps. The paintwork is far too fragile, I'd do away with the painted exterior totally. I expect Apple will do some sort of redesign soon as it is several years since the Ti was introduced.

    Graphics
    The new powerbook already has the fastest mobile graphics card there is, Apple should just make sure they keep up with developments.

    Optical Drive
    The powerbook already has DVD burning, but it could be a bit faster, the same applies to CD burning. Otherwise I can't see much room for improvement here, but whatever they do it should stay slot loading.

    Ethernet and Modem
    The powerbook already has gigabit ethernet, I can't see any need for improvement here. The modem can't really be improved, Apple should just be sure to continue to include one.

    Battery Life
    Battery life is already pretty impressive, but you can always use more. With improvements in motherboards and integration of airport there ought to be a bit more space for a bigger battery, at present 5 hours is the claimed life (which you can just about get if you avoid spinning any discs), it would be nice to push that nearer to 8.

    Camera
    A basic integrated stills/video camera would be a great addition IMHO. Video conferencing and chat are going to increase in future. Integrating this with iChat would make sense.

    Hard Drive
    Bigger is obviously better, but faster is important too. from the evidence I've seen it was a mistake for Apple to drop the faster RPM drives from the new models. To conserve battery life couldn't they have a drive the spins at a lower speed when on battery, reverting to full speed when on the mains?

    Wireless
    Apple should integrate bluetooth and airport onto the motherboard and increase the airport range of the powerbook. Integrating airport into the motherboard ought to save space and money. With bluetooth onboard it should be possible to use the Internet via your mobile, something that with the availability of GPRS is a reasonable proposition.

    Ports
    When firewire2 arrives it would obviously good to have this integrated, but I also think Apple should include USB2. Perhaps we could also have at least one USB port on the side of the machine where it's easier to access (like the iBook). A line out would be nice.

    keyboard
    The keyboard could be better, it could take up a greater width of the laptop.

    RAM
    Apple should be more generous with RAM, I'd expect 512 MB on the low end model these days, and 1 GB on the high end, with support for up to 2 GB of RAM.

    Price
    It's no good having a fantastic laptop if no one can afford it. Apple have moved in the right direction recently, but I'd like to see the low end model come down below $2000/£1400.
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Location:
    Caracas, Venezuela
  3. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    #3
    I agree about the videoconfrencing. When it comes to chatting, it might be the wave of the future. Apple should first include it as an add-on.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2002
    #4
    well that pretty much sums up what id like to see in the powerbook as well.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    #5
    One thing missing...

    ... and an autographed picture of Steve Jobs in each one...

    :cool:
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    JSRockit

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    I do not want a camera built into my PowerBook...that is wack. Faster HD and Optical Drive is my biggest concern... then durability. I just hope that durability doesn't come at a price...weight! The number one pro of the TiBook is that it is 5.4 lbs with a 15" screen.
     
  7. macrumors 68020

    idkew

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2001
    Location:
    where the concrete to dirt ratio is better
    #7
    apple already has a higher capacity battery, i can't remember the name of it, but it is in the iPod. Much better than the current lithium ion batteries they use.

    so- how about apple put those in the 'books. i would be willing to pay $50-$100 more for a battery that lasted TWICE as long. I bought an extra for ~$130 more, so i would be saving money in the long run.
     
  8. macrumors 68020

    Moxiemike

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2002
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #8
    Exactly. And i think that maybe, just maybe, if they could figure out how to cheaply anodized the tibook--- yum.

    Give it the same appearance as the shiny logo on the iMac. Then maybe... just maybe....take some lucite or whatever that area of the iBook is made from and use it for the inside of the laptop---around the keyboard and the trackpad.

    I've noticed two things about my ti (rev.b 667):

    The trackpad sticks a bit. Especially if you're working on a couch or bed. Which NEVER happened with my lombard.

    And the second thing is that, when this chick i know needed to update her blog from my machine at a net café---well----her bracelet made a couple minor surface scratches next to the track pad.

    So if they could figue out a way to eliminate the paint on the outside, and eliminate the potential for nasty scratches from watches and bracelets and whatnot.

    That would be killer. mid range: 1.0ghz, 40gb 5400rpm drive, same screem (the new ones are SO bright!), 64mb vram, 256 ram standard....combo.... $2299. HOT!

    Then how about a low-end: 933, 30gb 4200rpm drive, 32mb vram, 256 ram, combo. $1999

    High end: 1.25ghz. 60gb 5400 rpm drive, 512ram 64mb vram. airport built in. superdrive. $2999

    And what if, just what if, Apple offered a "traveler's package" with the 1.25ghz, with a 1gb of ram, 60gb 5400 drive, 64mb vram, faster superdrive, lock and key thing, a good case (zero halliburton or brenthaven.... yea) web cam, etc etc etc... for like, $3399..
     
  9. Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #9
    Well...

    Hard drive
    I'll be testing the HD speed on my new one coming in a few days. I'll compare it to the 40GNX that I put in my rev a 400. Apple claims that higher RPM is not necessary for fast access in the new drives. We'll see...

    Wireless
    From what I've read, the poor wifi reception is due to the fact that titanium is a poor receptor/transmitter. Other than changing the metal they use in the body, there's not much they can do.

    Ports
    A port on the side would require a complete redesign of the motherboard, and would be very difficult to do, engineering-wise. There's a reason they keep the ports all along one side.

    Keyboard
    If you make it larger, you won't have room for the speakers in their current location. What would you do? Move them to the palmrest area?

    RAM
    Apple can't add more slots for RAM expansion, so they are stuck at 2, therefore they have to wait for 1GB SO-DIMMs to be released before they can support over 1GB.
     
  10. macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2002
    Location:
    All up in your bidness
    #10
    Screen

    I think a 1400x1024 screen would be fantastic if Apple allowed changing the sizes of the system fonts in OS X. Because there will invariably be people who bitch about how that makes things look too small, even when basically every PC laptop with a similarly sized screen is even higher-res than that.

    Design and Build

    I say get rid of the titanium enclosure entirely and move to anodized magnesium in various colors. (Silver & black?) Titanium is too flimsy when it's stamped as thin as it is, and you can't not paint it because it absorbs fingerprints. (I don't understand why they don't give it a clear coat.) Whatever they do, I hope they don't continue to paint it. I do hope they stick to using some kind of metal, though, as that kind of Apple-trademark transparent plastic seems a bit passé.

    Camera

    I'm not sure about this. I guess I would be in favor of it if it could be integrated somewhere where it wouldn't look too ugly and if it wouldn't add a lot of cost. I don't know where they'd put it with the current design.

    Ports
    I don't want the PowerBook to have USB2 because I think that would hurt Firewire. Peripheral companies would rather make USB2 things because it's cheaper and faster (on paper). If every Mac included USB2, these companies wouldn't have as much reason to include Firewire ports on their products.

    keyboard
    If the keyboard gets widened, the speakers would have to be relocated or shrunken. I think the keyboard and speakers are fine as they are. Whatever Apple does, I hope they don't attempt that ridiculous "laptop subwoofer" ****e. Audio fidelity from the built-in speakers shouldn't be a priority in a laptop. I don't care if they sound like ass as long as I have a line out.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2002
    #11
    If titanium blocks the signal, why not embed an antenna in the OUTSIDE of the case? Maybe I'm missing the point, but doesn't that seem like the ridiculously obvious thing to do?
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2002
    #12
    Have you seen the tiny camera in the hinge of the Sony Clie PDA? That thing could probably fit in the bezel above the screen. And whether you personally would use a video chat system or not, apple needs to make cameras standard in order to create third party interest. Not that that has historically been a big drive of theirs but...
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #13
    There already is an antenna peeking out through the sides, but the titanium still blocks some of the signal if the signal isn't in one of the antennas' line of sight. (As I understand it)
     
  14. macrumors 68020

    Moxiemike

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2002
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #14
    A cool thing would be a titanium case wrapped in airport reception atennas made to glow in a variety of colors-- pink, green, purple, red, blue, etc.

    Wouldn't it be great??

    Geez. I've reallly swallowed some sarcasm pills.....
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    JSRockit

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #15
    iBook material, TiBook demensions. This would be way too heavy correct?
     
  16. macrumors 68020

    Moxiemike

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2002
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #16
    you seem to have sorely missed the point of that post dude.

    It would all be titanium, save for the plate around the keyboard and trackpad. That stuff doesn't scratch anywhere near as easily as titanium

    Which is prolly only a few ounces anyway, and would stack up, weight wise, pretty well against the titanium.

    The rest would be anodized titanium. Maybe a VERY light silver. ya know?????

    word.
     
  17. Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Gone but not forgotten.
    #17
    Maybe that's not so far off. A colourless urethane cover with a grid of antennae could be used both to protect the PB and to give it much great reception.

    As for the colours...only if they flash like the PC lights do. :D
     
  18. macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

    Joined:
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    #18
    Yes, that reminds me. The new PowerBook needs lights. Lots and lots of lights. We need a power light, and a HD access light. Then we need lights that come on when we press certain buttons, like a "volume up" light for when we hit "volume up." What the hell, why not even throw in a Turbo light. And an LED gigaflops meter. Mouse movement & button press light, trackpad clicker light, etc. Last but not least, we need LED status lights that show us the status of all our LEDs, and then an extra LED to show us the status of our LED status lights. Oh, and we also need a built-in "love sensor" where we press our thumb somewhere onto the machine and an LED light scale measures our love intensity. And so on. I'm sure everyone will agree that Apple is sorely falling behind in the lights area. We need to catch up to Gateway.
     
  19. Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #19
    You forgot one, alex_ant...the seizure indicator light!
     
  20. macrumors 68020

    Moxiemike

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2002
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #20
    a mood powerbook! word!
     
  21. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Location:
    Muncie, Indiana
    #21
    My suggestion is electric blue...

    ... very faint blue cast on brilliantly shiny stainless steel with a clear coat. Innards and plastic parts all colored the same pale cobalt blue color. Sure steel is heavier than titanium, but in this thickness it won't make much difference, and the durability will be improved. Make the hinges out of metal (probably aluminum).
     
  22. macrumors 603

    shadowfax

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #22
    they really need to just put an ambient light under the keyboard. think LCD backlight, but MUCH dimmer so it uses ~1-2 watts. that would be groovy, and help people in the dark. and don't anyone post about how the USB flylight thing solves this, i hate that thing.

    they could make it like ambient neon blue or something, maybe with a controller to change it at your whim, yeah

    lol :cool: ;)
     
  23. macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    Location:
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    #23
    That's a very good idea actually... I always wished the keyboard had something like the Timex Indiglo watches do. A light like that uses very little power. Or maybe they could make the white paint on the keys glow in the dark. I would be all for it as long as they could keep it from looking all retarded and tacky like a PC with a retrofitted neon light window or something.
     
  24. macrumors 68020

    Moxiemike

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2002
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #24
    I'm thinking neon on the bottom, lowered. with hydrualics.

    word.
     
  25. macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

    Joined:
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    #25
    Well, ok...

    As long as the shocks below the screen can bounce.
     

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