RealTime IT News

Apple Plugs New Plug

Apple is jazzed about the MacBook Pro notebook unveiled at Macworld Expo Tuesday. At the Consumer Electronics Show last week, several PC makers showed notebookspowered by Intel's new Core Duo processor, and now Apple has joined the party with the first Apple notebook to use an Intel processor. MacBook Pro will ship next month.

CEO Steve Jobs proudly showed off the MacBook Pro at his keynote address. Like recent iMac's, the MacBook Pro will be the first Apple notebook to include Apple's iSight video camera. With Apple's iChat videoconferencing included, Mac users will be able easily to set up a video chat or meeting from their desktop or wherever they take the MacBook Pro assuming they have an Internet connection.

Jobs had a lot to cover in his keynote and whizzed by some of the new features, but one, the MagSafe power connector, is worth noting. Designed specifically for mobile users, this is the first power connector that connects magnetically to the notebook. Mobile users frequently run their notebooks on AC power when it's available so as not to worry about the battery running out. But the power cord plugged in to the wall is often a disaster waiting to happen. Get up to get a drink, trip on the cord and the notebook can easily go flying off the desktop or table and crash to the ground.

MagSafe, in theory, to the rescue. When tugged, the MagSafe simply pulls off from the MacBook Pro which can continue running on battery power so nothing is lost.

"It will save a lot of hassle [in preventing damage and service calls]," said Jobs, who noted Apple has a patent pending on the MagSafe.

Perhaps one reason no one else has yet come up with a MagSafe type of connector is fear of magnets. A magnet can easily wipe clean data on the hard drive if it is placed in close proximity. Presumably the MagSafe is far enough away with enough shielding to keep the MacBook Pro's hard drive safe. If so, score one for Apple. This idea not only has legs, it makes the ill-placed leg less of a danger.