Apple Announced MacBook; Skype offers Free SkypeOut

Written by rob on May 16, 2006 – 3:36 pm -

Apple announced the MacBook Pro a few weeks back, as the Intel replacement for their Powerbook product. Their iBook line of laptops, however, went unupgraded… until now. Today, Apple showed off the new MacBook. MacMinute summarizes its features:

Apple today unveiled the newly designed MacBook with a new 13-inch glossy widescreen display, which the company says is up to five times faster than the iBook and up to four times faster than the 12-inch PowerBook. Together with the 15-and 17-inch MacBook Pros, the new MacBook completes Apple’s Intel-based portables lineup and replaces both the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook. Apple’s entire portables lineup now offers Intel Core Duo processors; a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing on-the-go; its Front Row media experience with Apple Remote; and several advanced features including DVI with dual display support, optical digital audio input and output, Gigabit Ethernet, Sudden Motion Sensor, Scrolling TrackPad and MagSafe Power Adapter. Pricing starts at US$1,099.

I am extremely excited about this. Not all of us can afford a MacBook Pro, but, more importantly, not all of us want a MacBook Pro. I use my 700mhz iBook G3 very happily, with no complaints whatsoever. The only reason I want to upgrade, however, is because the ability to tri boot Windows, Linux and Mac OS X natively would be unbelievable. There are some applications that only run on Windows, and Virtual PC (the PC version is fine, but the one for Mac is horrendous) just doesn’t cut it. I would love the ability to use Parallels to quickly switch for simple tasks, or just to reboot into Windows or Linux for some dedicated tasks that they perform better (Windows for games, and many proprietary apps; Linux for war driving and general programming).

Also announced today was the increase of MacBook Pro speeds to make the gap between them and the new MacBooks enough to warrant the extra money. MacMinute covers this as well:

Apple today also increased processor speeds on both models of the 15-inch MacBook Pro. The $2,499 model now includes a 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, up from 2.0 GHz, and the $1,999 model now includes a 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, up from 1.83 GHz. Beginning today, the MacBook Pro also offers the new glossy widescreen display as a CTO option on both the 15-and 17-inch models at no additional cost.

This was to be expected, given the introduction of a lower end that may attract the attention of would-be MacBook Pro purchasers. The news that was not present, however, that many rumor sites expected, was new iPod Nanos. In the same way the upgraded MacBook Pros will create a bigger gap between the low and high ends, justifying the huge price difference, larger iPod Nanos need to be introduced to lessen the gap between the iPod Video and Nano lines. They are 26GB apart, yet only with a $50 difference. That obviously is bad for the Nano line, as most people just spend the extra fifty for the much larger capacity.

In completely separate news, Skype announced yesterday that their SkypeOut service would now be provided for free for U.S. and Canada calls until the end of the year. While not many people understand why it will be ending at the end of the year, it doesn’t change the fact that it is an unbelievable thing! For those readers who aren’t aware, Skype is the leading provider of Voice over IP (VoIP); that is, transporting telephone voice data over the Internet. Before this recent announcement, you could use Skype to talk to your other friends who had Skype over the Internet. However, now, for free, you can use Skype to call a real telephone. So, if you have a microphone for your computer, you can call someone anywhere in the U.S. or Canada for free! This unmistakable deal is made even better when you consider that Skype is cross-platform. It can work on Windows, Linux, Mac, and also some Mobile platforms. Hopefully Skype will decide to extend this service beyond the end of the year, but all we can do now is enjoy it while it lasts. Also, for those interested, there is an article about making your own portable phone for Skype out of an old cordless set.


Posted in Tech | 3 Comments »

3 Comments to “Apple Announced MacBook; Skype offers Free SkypeOut”

  1. ben Says:

    For about the first two days of this offer Skype out would not work on my computer. It would still say ‘You need to buy a Skype out calling card’ or something to that extent.

    Apparently, they were not recognizing IPs beginning with 7x.xxx.xxx.xxx (which is almost all people on comcast) as US or Canada owned addresses and were banning them, but I so many people complained that that problem was fixed pretty quickly.

  2. rob Says:

    I tried to do it as well, but my problem was stupider: the mic I have never tried turned out to be a dud. So I can make nice prank calls, except I can’t say anything!

  3. ben Says:

    Use the voice synthesizer :twisted: