"Hi, I'm a Mac."
"And I'm a PC."
"I appeal to a small but ferociously loyal chunk of the personal-computer market, and I'm typically used by folks in publishing and graphic design."
"I, on the other hand, am used by pretty much everybody else — businesspeople, tech geeks, and gamers."
"But if you're not into computers much and you just want a machine that'll get you online and for day-to-day stuff like organizing your digital photos and instant messaging your friends, you definitely want me. In fact, your friends probably want me, too."
"Hold on — why wouldn't they want me? I'm less expensive, after all"
"Well, apart from the fact that you suck, a lot of the features and software that come with me right out of the box would have to be bought separately if they got you. And even if they did that, it's unlikely it would all work together as neatly as my applications do. Plus I just look pretty hot, don't you think?"
Yeah, that's pretty much the MacBook ad, if Apple produced one for that specific product line — and had zero humility. The thing is, whether you use a Mac or a Windows PC, you're already pretty much entrenched in whatever side you've taken in the longstanding personal-computer cold war. If you already had an iBook or entry-level 12-inch PowerBook, both of which the MacBook replaces, then the new machine is already on your list (and you pros who had high-end PowerBooks got your MacBook Pros when they first came out, right?). And if you're on a PC, you probably think you've spent too much money on software and invested too much time figuring the damn thing out to switch now. No, the MacBook's best bet is to appeal to folks who aren't really into computers and these trendy "Internets" but now feel like they're adrift at sea with whatever ancient model they have, if they even have one at all.
WHO WANTS THIS: Anyone who's not that into computers, wants a serious speed upgrade from an older model, or is a Mac disciple (of course).
WHY: The MacBook has impressive speed for what's essentially an entry-level notebook, and its iLife suite of software apps will keep happy amateur artists and auteurs (isn't that everybody?).
WHAT'S COOL: The beautiful and bright widescreen display, for one. Add to that a nice suite of software apps for playing with your media as well as hard Core Duo processing power.
WHAT'S LAME: Although the MacBook will perform everyday stuff, and even some memory-intensive tasks, with blazing speed, serious gaming would need something even more robust. And it's doubtful iLife will impress many pros.
FINAL MARK: A. iBook owners, it's time to upgrade.
PRICE: $1,099 to $1,499. Check out Apple's MacBook page for details.
Good stuff, sure, but that's not really putting this machine to the test. Determined to push my 2-GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM to the limit, I fired up as many iLife applications — iTunes, iWeb, iPhoto, and iDVD — as I could and jumped into some heavy editing in the memory hog of them all, iMovie HD. After ripping some DVD-quality footage, I proceeded to chop, edit, and save, all the while giving the other iLife apps their own tasks. In the end, I saw the infamous "spinning beach ball of death" only once, and it didn't stay for very long. Not bad at all, really — and definitely miles ahead of G3 and G4 machines, on which I often get the so-and-so application has unexpectedly quit, sure sucks to be you message.
But by far the most addictive thing about the MacBook is the iSight camera. Seeing it demo'd at presentations, I originally dismissed the cam as a cute perk you'd never use. But the Photo Booth app, which can take your picture with innumerable cool-looking effects, kept me amused for hours. And iSight's video quality when used as a webcam looked decent even over a finicky Wi-Fi connection. The MacBook has pretty much convinced me that webcams should come standard in all laptops.