Even though the original Aluminium PowerBook G4 looks almost identical to the MacBook Pro of today, there have a been a lot of changes including:
- Wireless antennae moved from the screen sides, to the hinge
- FireWire 800 port was added
- USB ports upgraded from 2 to 3
- TouchPad changed from ADB to a USB touchpad, allowing multi finger scrolling
- The keyboard backlight was made a lot brighter
- The sound inputs and outputs changed from Analog to Analog and digital
- A Sudden Motion Sensor was added
- Increased screen resolution
- Glossy screen option
- MagSafe adaptor replaces the easily bent power plugs of the past
- Infrared makes a comeback with the remote control
- Built in SVideo was replaced by a DVI adaptor
- DialUp modem port was replaced by a USB modem adaptor
- A camera was added
So with a likely design refresh approaching, how can Apple improve the MacBook Pro any further? Here's our wish list.
If you've ever tried to use a MacBook pro while lying on the couch with your knees up, you'll quickly discover the MacBook Pro screen simply doesn't tilt very far back. Somehow it manages to tilt back a few degrees less than the PowerBook that preceded it. If you're using the laptop on a steep angle, it's not possible to make the screen stand vertical, and thanks to the way the hinge is weighted, the screen flops down very easily. While on a flat surface the hinge is very good, and is miles easier to open and close than many laptops, especially with one hand. It would however be nice if it was tighter when vertical, or if it could bend back further, preferably completely flat.
For some reason the PowerBooks and MacBook Pros have always had a line in port, but not a microphone port. A line in port does not provide power, meaning all the unpowered microphones and headsets you can commonly buy won't work. While the built in microphone is often adequate, being able to plug in a microphone would be very handy. This is especially true now that VOIP applications such as iChat and Skype are so popular. If you want a microphone input, you have to buy a USB or Bluetooth microphone, or invest in an iMic from Griffin.
Ideally this port would be software switchable, so it can be used as either.
With the recent release of the stunning new Apple keyboards, it's obvious Apple will update the MacBook Pro keyboards to match, probably with the next major revision. From all accounts, they are great to use, and it will be good to have consistency with the function key placements. Here's hoping they also bring out a full wireless keyboard with number pad soon.
Second Trackpad Button
For a long time people have wanted a second trackpad button, and Apple seem adamant not to let it happen. The two finger tap is certainly a step towards the right direction, however it would be nice if the button worked like a mighty mouse, where the trackpad button could be divided into left and right. With many users running Windows and other OS's on their Macs, this would be even more handy.
Improved Visual Design
While visual design is very subjective, I've always felt the monotonous silver design never looked as 'stunning' as it should. When the Titanium PowerBook was released it blew everyone away with it's super slim design and the dual grey scheme and black keyboard. When the Aluminium PowerBooks were introduced, it was more like a safe, lacklustre step sideways. While not a bad design as such, it just wasn't the boundary pushing works of art like the various iMacs, the UFO style Airport Extreme basestations, or even the new keyboards. On the positive, the fact the MacBook Pro still looks good is a testament to the timeless design, it's just not as amazing as it could be. It's also proved to be pretty durable which is probably more important than looks. Hopefully Apple can produce that wow factor with the next version, and keep it functionally as good.
Dual Hard Drives
Imagine having 2 hard drives in your MacBook Pro. There could be two great reasons to do this. Firstly you could simply opt for 2 large hard drives. This would be handy for video editing work, storing all your stuff, or for running Windows and MacOS, each with it's own drive. The other idea is to run a Flash drive in conjunction with a normal hard drive. This would be good for boot up and virtual memory, and could be faster, quieter, and use less battery power. The only problem with flash is it's expensive and has smaller storage capacity. A flash drive combined with a typical hard drive would give the best of both worlds.
Better Airport Reception
One disadvantage to using a metal case is a wireless reception that's not as good as plastic laptops. What would people prefer? An aluminium case, or better WiFi reception?
Bring Back the Built-in Dial-up Modem?
Not having a built in dial up modem is a bit of a pain, especially for those that travel around. The one time you want a dial up modem is while travelling, now you have to buy and carry around a USB dongle, or an older Airport Extreme base station with built in modem (which are getting harder to find now). I guess Apple thought a modem is a device only a certain percentage of people will use, and thus it doesn't need to be built in. Also you have to carry around a cable anyway, so why not a cable and dongle. Do other people miss the built in modem?
MacBook Pro in Black
The black iPod nano really looks great, why not make a black MacBook Pro? Even better, being able to choose your colour.
Well that's our wishlist for the next MacBook Pros, if you have any other ideas feel free to leave a comment below.