Tuesday, May 16, 2006

MacBook Pro: An Aperture decider?

The MacBook sounds great, but will it run Aperture?
MacInTouch: timely news and tips about the Apple Macintosh:

Apple today announced its iBook replacement, the plain (non-'Pro') MacBook in both black and white case designs, starting at $1099.

The MacBook is built around a glossy, 13.3-inch, 1280x800 screen, driven by Intel GMA 950 graphics (64MB of shared video memory). A mini-DVI port drives external DVI monitors, VGA, S-video and composite video via optional adapters, offering extended desktop, mirroring or lid-closed modes.

Like its pricier 'Pro' siblings, the MacBook uses Core Duo processors with 2MB Level 2 cache and a 667MHz system bus. Standard memory is 512MB of DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300) on two SO-DIMMs (with support for 2GB of memory total).

The new MacBooks also build in a video camera, and other features include FireWire 400, dual USB 2.0 ports, combined optical/analog digital line in/out, 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit) Ethernet, 54 Mbps AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi (802.11g), and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), plus an Apple Remote and a 60-Watt MagSafe power adapter...
The Intel GMA 950 is not on the list of Aperture supported cards. It makes sense to have my laptop run my image management software, but I can't justify spending $2800 for a device that can be dropped or stolen (MacBook Pro). Interesting that Apple kept the Firewire support, esp. since iPods won't sync with Firewire any more.

With extended desktop support, if this device will run XP via Boot Camp or virtualization, then it moves way up on my buy list. In that case, paradoxically, Aperture moves way down.

Update: 5/16. The senior product manager for Aperture responded to my inquiry:
Aperture does run on the new MacBooks, but it is NOT officially supported, due to limitations with the graphics card. This means if you call AppleCare, you'll simply be told that you're running Aperture on an unsupported configuration. It's an "at-your-own-risk" experience.

That being said, Aperture will install and run on a MacBook...at least you're not disallowed from using it. No hacks needed!

And of course, Aperture is fully supported on all MacBook PRO models.

Joe Schorr
Sr. Product Manager, Aperture
An interesting twilight zone! I hope this gets clarified soon. "No Hacks" but "Not supported" suggests to me that a future version of Aperture may bring official support. Clearly Apple recognizes that the MacBook vs. MacBook Pro price gap creates an opening for an Aperture competitor.

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