1. Yeah, target disk mode… about that…
According to Geoff Winder, Product Manager for Hardware at Apple Australia, Target Disk Mode relied upon part of the Firewire standard, which isn’t replicated in USB.
Winder said that Apple now believes that there is no real need for Target Disk Mode anyway — there are alternative methods for everything people would want to do with it. There’s Boot Camp for backup and the Apple Migration Assistant for full-disk cloning.
2. The system migration tool has been updated
The version on the MacBook is 1.2.2 (174) whereas the version that ships with the version of 10.5.5 on all other Macs is 1.2.1 (159).
3. The system chipset has changed, not just the GPU
The MacBooks may be running an Intel CPU, but they’re not running an Intel controller chipset any more. You can tell this by looking at the serial ATA controller information in “About this Mac”. The MacBooks are using NVIDIA MCP79 controllers.
4. Break the glass screen fascia; replace the whole screen
Should you drop the machine and bend the aluminium or break the glass fascia, you’ll have to replace the entire screen and top case. Apple Australia confirmed that it’s all one part.
5. The MacBooks run a special build of OS X, not yet released to other Macs
The MacBook we have on loan from Apple is running OS X 10.5.5, build 9F2114 — whereas the latest release issued to Macs generally is 9F33.
6. The battery indicator is now on the left side of the notebook
The battery indicator is no longer stuck to the battery — it’s on the side of the notebook, using a small silver button that’s flush to the case and tiny holes in the aluminium (probably laser bored) that light up.
7. The chicklet keyboard on the MacBook is very firmly supported
The introduction of the backlit keyboard into the standard MacBook also makes it a more viable option for MacBook Pro owners looking for that elusive 13″ MacBook Pro.
8. The speakers are surprisingly good
Given there are no speaker grilles on the body, the speaker quality is surprisingly good. Sure, there’s no bass to speak of, but they’re not completely tinny and/or buzzy either — the sound is decently clear, with OK midrange.
9. The viewing angle on the LCD is still lacking
Apart from Firewire and the Expresscard slot, which are two “nice to have features” in the MacBook Pro, the main feature which has always differentiated the Pro and the standard MacBook is the screen quality. In short: MacBook screens have always sucked in comparison to the Pro screen, with considerably more washed-out colours and poor viewing angle — meaning if you’re not looking at it dead-on, the colours are distorted and washed out.
10. Installing a hard drive is now even more superbly easy
The new MacBook is — astonishingly — even easier to install a hard drive into than the last generation. It sits next to the battery, so all you have to do is pop the metal battery cover off, undo one screw, pull out the existing hard drive and slide the new one in.