Believe it or not, I was not always an Apple fan. I grew up with Windows and PCs in the house, but we never had a Mac or even an iPod. In fact, I never owned an Apple product until the first iPhone back in 2008 when my mother bought it for me as a birthday gift. However, this was the moment where everything changed.
I fell in love with the iPhone, but I wanted more. I eventually bought my very first MacBook later in 2008 with my own money. My first Mac was the white, polycarbonate MacBook, the design that originated back in 2006. At the time when I bought it, I was still in the middle of attending college, so I needed something that would help get me through university, instead of just relying on an old Dell desktop back at home. While I've upgraded my laptop a few times since my original white MacBook, these new machines just don't have that same amount of charm.
Before I bought my polycarbonate MacBook, I was always online and somehow became online friends with other people who were Apple users. I always saw MacBooks posted on social media and my nerdy online friends talking about OS X Leopard. Whenever I went to a Starbucks or even my university library, I often saw other people with MacBooks, and there was something fun and charming about these computers, especially with the glowing Apple logo. I wanted to "fit in" with the other cool kids (as they say), so I bit the bullet and bought one, jumping from a lifelong Windows user to (now) lifelong Apple fan. After all, I didn't really hear any bad things about MacBooks and the software back then. I never regret this choice.
My white polycarbonate MacBook became one of my most used devices around the house, aside from my iPhone. It was with me through all-nighters writing research papers to late-night chat sessions with online buddies to watching hours of various anime and television shows in my free time. I took it with me to school to take notes and study while on campus, or just do work at the local coffee shop, and I found it pretty durable enough to lug around all day, even if it was a bit chunky. But it was far from perfect — there were some issues with the plastic cracking near the top case, for example, as well as other issues, but it worked, and I loved having it around.
The polycarbonate MacBook is one of Apple's more unique designs. It proved that you did not need to be yet another boring and industrial body design in the laptop space, and while it was an entry-level device, it was great, and honestly fun to use. The white was iconic, like the white earbuds for iPods, and it gave you a blank canvas for personalizing the MacBook as your own. And if you could afford to drop a few hundred more dollars, then the black polycarbonate was even more "hotness."
Around the same time as the polycarbonate MacBook design, Apple had the great "Get a Mac" ad campaign that starred Justin Long as Mac, and John Hodgman as PC. These are some of my favorite commercials ever because they were short, sweet, and to the point. Plus, I enjoyed the personification of Mac and PC — Long symbolized the hip and casual computer user, while Hodgman represented the older businessperson. As a college student, seeing Mac as casual and hip was very relatable and made me feel great about having a MacBook.
Since the white MacBook was my first Mac, I didn't have experience with the iBook and PowerBooks before it, or even the first MacBook Pro released months before the first polycarbonate MacBook, so I can't make comparisons to those machines. But I loved the polycarbonate MacBook because it was great for my college student budget, had all the legacy ports, did everything I needed to do to get through school, and on top of it all, I had fun using it. Being my very first Mac, it has a special place in my heart.
The polycarbonate MacBook set the standard for the evolution of MacBook models to come. But as great as the new MacBooks are these days, I don't think they don't have the same level of charm that the original polycarbonate model had. Especially since that glowing Apple logo is no more.
I've long sold my original white MacBook to get some cash for an upgrade since, but I'll always miss those plastic MacBooks.
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.