MacBook Pro: Initial thoughts and impressions
Ordering & Delivery

So, after months of prevaricating, I finally bit the bullet and ordered myself a shiny new MacBook Pro direct from Apple.


I was a little put out at their stated delivery dates on the Apple store: After choosing my system configuration (the stock base-model with an upgrade to a 160Gb hard disc. Not that I’m expacting to use that much space, but the 160Gb variant is rumored to use Perpendicular Magnetic Recording – a fact that a call to Apple’s technical support line all but confirmed*. PMR should increase the data transfer rate (but, note, not the seek speed) of a disc with no associated increase in noise or power usage, by allowing data to be packed more tightly onto a smaller number of platters. This rumour makes sense, as even 120Gb is pushing the current limits of aureal density for the limited number of platters you can physically fit in a 2.5″ enclosure… 160Gb is simply not possible with conventional arrangements and current technology. P.S. Check that link – it’s great…) the store said “Ready to ship: Three days”. So I went ahead to the purchasing stage, and this magically became “Ready to ship: 15 days”. After actually authorising the purchase, it dropped down to “Ready to ship: 10 days”. Now, I can imagine that the ship time will alter dependant on configuration and availability – but from 3 days to 10 via 15, when all I’ve done is to enter my payment details? If you can’t give an accurate shipping estimate, then you shouldn’t say anything – it only antagonises people…


* I’d be remiss not to add that I was hugely impressed with the level of knowledge and understanding of the Technical Support guy I spoke to. Top marks, Apple – it was by far the most useful (and least frustrating) support conversation I’ve ever had!


One to note for the staunch environmentalists out there – Apple machines are shipped (individually) straight from Shanghai, rather than from anywhere in the UK. Although you don’t get your educational discount, perhaps the free extended warranty and greener credentials offered by John Lewis look a lot more attractive…


When the shipment did finally arrive, the outer box had a hole punched through it… but luckily Apple’s packaging is good enough that the display box within was completely unmarked. Removing the actual display box from the cardboard shipping container shows just how well designed even Apple’s packing materials are… even though the box is quite large in two dimensions, it’s almost impossibly thin. Inside, everything’s neatly laid-out, and lifting the actual laptop from the polystyrene padding (which is in itself beautifully scuplted into an interlocking series of circles) reveals a monolith-like black surface, with “Designed by Apple in California” emblazoned across it. Neat touch.