The Mac Gap

With 3 desktop and laptop models to choose from, Apple has a computer to satisfy many users.  The Mac Mini makes an excellent second machine or the first Mac for a switcher.  The iMac brings power, some portability and a huge screen, while the Mac Pro satisfies the needs of heavy computing users.

Laptops

On the laptop side you have the MacBook for nearly everyone, the MacBook Pro for professionals and the MacBook Air for those seeking extreme portability.

But there is a considerable gap in both lines, and one that could satisfy a large number of users with a new model. You’ll likely remember the 12″ PowerBook G4 (shown at right). Probably my favourite Apple product of all time, it packed an entire full featured laptop into a 12″ aluminum shell. It had a full DVD combo drive, discrete graphics, and a full compliment of ports. This differs from Apple’s current ultraportable laptop, the MacBook Air, because it doesn’t sacrifice power nearly as much.

I think it’s time that Apple brings back the 12″ PowerBook in the form of a 13.3″ or smaller aluminum shelled MacBook with an actual graphics card, backlit keyboard and DVD burner. I would sell my MacBook in a flash to have real graphics, an aluminum look and a full powered Core 2 Duo processor. If Apple wants to make gaming more prevalent on OS X, they need to give full graphics power to a laptop without forcing users to shell out the extra cash for a MacBook Pro.

Desktops

On the desktop side of things, there is a need for a model between the iMac and Mac Pro that blends power with upgradeability and price. Macworld calls it the mythical, midrange Mac minitower. It stems from the idea that there is no model that directly competes with the standard Windows box. Sure, you can get the Mac Pro, with 4 hard drive bays, 8 RAM slots and up to 8 cores, but if you don’t absolutely need all these things, you’re wasting money.

What would be an excellent compromise would be a computer that is somewhere between the Mac Mini and Mac Pro in size, but between the iMac and Mac Pro in power and upgradeability. With 2 or more hard drive bays, 4 RAM slots and no included monitor, it could be upgraded as needed without limitations. Companies looking for towers to use their current monitors or to build a server farm would have all the power they need, without spending extra on Mac Pros or Xserves.

Conclusion

With a new model inside the desktop and notebook lineup, Apple could cover even more of the computer market and draw in more users.

Would you trade your current machine for one of these?

Building an Enclosure: Spray Painting

These days everybody and their granny are hacking technology or building some new gizmo. The humble enclosure in which that shiny new piece of brilliance is to live is often overlooked, but as any good marketer knows, the money is in the design. Today, Desktop Vibes looks at some of the tools needed for successfully spray-painting your new gadget enclosure.

Enclosures come in all shapes, sizes and materials so the tools you need to color your build can largely depend on a number of factors which can vary quite extensively. No one wants to purchase a tool for every kind of paint job that they might encounter so what’s the best equipment to get to make sure that one is covered for most situations? A medium-sized air sprayer like the 1.5mm Neiko HVLP Air Spray Gun or similar air sprayer is the preferred ‘universal’ tool for spray painting. It has a fine nozzle that can be used for both large and small jobs with minimal wastage and mess, and the paint cup size and its air-adjustment valve are ideal for a range of enclosure sizes. Of course you are going to need an air compressor to power the air spray gun which can make the cost of purchase prohibitively expensive for some. However, air compressors can be useful in a variety of DIY and everyday household tasks so you have to balance whether it is worth the mula that you will need to fork out to get one. Air compressors (that can be used for spray painting) come in all shapes and sizes and it is important to make sure that the air compressor can handle the relatively high volume of air that it needs to generate to operate a spray gun effectively. We use a California Air Tools 10020 in the shop and it has been invaluable in producing some very stylish results.

Final Words

Take you time when setting up for spray-painting for the first time. Although it can be a hassle to organise and gather together everything you need for your spray-painting setup, you only have to do it once, and then painting enclosures will be easy as pie. And don’t be tempted to cheap out on the tools needed to create a stylish enclosure. Ultimately, the design of your final package will sell your amazing creation to your fans so it will be well worth the time and money spent on making it that extra bit cooler!