Five things still missing from Apple MacBooks

We're down with the new SD card slots and lower prices, but there are still a few items on our MacBook wish list.

CNET

Unless you've been living under a rock (or in Redmond), you've no doubt seen the flood of product news coming from Apple's WWDC 2009 conference--from the new iPhone 3G S to an entire line of revamped MacBook laptops.

While we're down with the new SD card slots and lower prices (see reviews for three of the new MacBooks here ), there are still a few items on our MacBook wish list :

Matte screen options
Despite the fact that nearly every serious laptop user we know prefers matte, non-glossy screens, only Apple's 17-inch MacBook Pro offers a matte option--in the form of a $50 anti-glare coating add-on.

Especially with the current models' edge-to-edge glass, popping open a MacBook outdoors (or in an overlit room) is just asking for trouble. Sure, glossy screens make colors pop and movies more dramatic--but we'd like to have the option of choosing a matte screen anyway (and not for $50, either).

Blu-ray drives
While high-capacity Blu-ray drives aren't quite a necessity, the format is slowing gaining a foothold. Many inexpensive Windows laptops at least offer it as an option, and many high-end laptops in the MacBook's price range include a Blu-ray drive by default.

Leaving aside the idea of having a high-capacity optical backup capability, Blu-ray seems like a natural fit for the MacBook's multimedia-friendly vibe.

Mobile broadband options
Another widespread option from most PC makers. We're slowing getting to the point where having a mobile broadband account connected to your laptop is just a common tool, rather than an exotic novelty--especially with AT&T's iPhone tethering plan not yet available.

While having to choose one carrier's antenna over another is a hassle, we found the built-in Verizon 3G on the HP Mini 1151nr Netbook to be "an obvious mashup of two useful technologies."

HDMI outputs
Mini DisplayPort is Apple's video connection of choice, and we've also seen a push toward it from PC makers such as Dell. But few of us have an external display with DisplayPort--HDMI, VGA, and even DVI are all more common.

Apple offers some helpful adapters (at $29 each) for DVI and VGA--but no way to connect a new MacBook to an HDMI-equipped TV, for example. Fortunately, some third-party vendors now offer a DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter for around $15.

Touch screens
If we had a dime for every blog rumor about an Apple tablet we've seen, we'd have at least enough for a large soy-based coffee beverage from Starbucks. Plus, Apple has already proven it's mastered the touch screen in the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Actually, someone has already done this, in a way. Axiotron makes custom MacBook-based tablets by buying stock MacBooks, taking them apart, and rebuilding them as tablet PCs.

Of course, we haven't missed these features enough to keep us from bestowing the coveted Editors' Choice award on the new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros. What's on your list of missing MacBook features? Let us know below!

> Need more laptop news? Follow me at twitter.com/danackerman.
> Laptops and more every week on the Digital City.

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.

 

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