I’m not proud of myself but I have to confess to a lascivious addiction. I know. It’s disgusting. But I can’t help it.
The problem started in 1999. I remember all too clearly my first glimpse of the well-proportioned curves and smooth, smooth skin. After that I was hooked. Oh. God. I couldn’t resist.
Image from flickr
It didn’t matter that the machine weighed nearly 3 kilos, was possessed of a rather flimsy keyboard and whined. Lust, like love, is blind.
We were inseparable but the relationship lasted just two years. In 2001 Apple produced a computer that uncoupled me from the G3. To some, the first incarnation of the G4 PowerBook was no looker. Gone were the cool black skin and the sensuous curves. The new machine was all rectilinear functionality: serious straight lines softened by the merest blunting of the corners.
Photo by Scott “Jerry” Lawrence
But to me it was a dream. What sold me on this beautiful metal machine was the 2001 look – it seemed to have dropped to Earth from the slowly rotating space-station in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. And it was lighter, thinner, faster and boasted a massive 20 GB hard-drive. The keyboard felt amazing: firm under my fingertips. This was the future I had been promised in the sixties.
I had to have it. I told you I’m addicted. When, just two weeks into the relationship, the strap on my shoulder-bag failed, dropping the computer to the ground and breaking one of the screen hinges (so much for being made of Titanium), I was almost broken-hearted. But I did not hesitate to pay out for the £600 repair.
We had three years together. But age withers the loveliest of creatures and the titanium coat was eventually disfigured by the touch of my sweaty palms. And the machine started to lag behind newer incarnations that came wrapped in stain-resistant aluminium.
Image by Pete Verdon
I was never entirely happy with the all-over silver gleam of the G4 Powerbook I bought in 2004. I preferred the firmer squeeze of the keyboard on the older machine, but speed and power won out. Here was a computer that could be used in all seriousness for the number-crunching and image-rendering required by protein crystallography. It made me feel like a real man.
Three years later, seduced by the switch to Intel processors, I swapped it for a 15″ MacBook Pro. There was no change in the look of the machine or, mores the pity, to the spongy keyboard. The gratification of the purchase seemed diminished so I consoled myself with the boost in performance and a hard-drive that had swollen to 250 GB.
My lap. My laptop. Image on flickr
But now, the love is back. I have just got my hands on a slender, sophisticated 13″ MacBook Pro. It’s still more rectangular than rounded but the body of this thing is machined from a single piece of aluminium. The keyboard — firmer again — nestles in a shallow depression that invites you to run your fingers around the curved edge. The large, sensitive trackpad needs your touch. The black is back, in the keys and surrounding the glossy screen. It is only a shade over two kilos and has the power to last all night.