Hey, dude – cool-looking, er… box

I’m as excited as the next guy about the introduction of Apple computers running on Intel chips, if only because it raises the possibility that I could someday have a PC that runs both Windows and Mac OS. And I know that the new MacBook laptops are supposed to be ultra-sweet — but does that mean we have to bow down and worship even the box that the new laptops arrive in? A recent post at tech site ZDNet does exactly that, in an entry that is entitled “Exclusive: MacBook Pro unboxing pics,” in the kind of breathless tone that tabloids reserve for photos of Brad and Angelina on a beach somewhere.

What the post gives you is 28 — yes, 28 — close-up shots of the box with the MacBook Pro inside it, then a shot of the box after it has been opened, and then a shot of the styrofoam insert that protects the MacBook, and so on. After the picture of the styrofoam insert, there is a caption that says “The Styrofoam inside the case has a cool circular cutout pattern.” (Note: I am not making this up). In order to see the coolness of the styrofoam up close, there is a second shot from a different angle. Then there are shots of the MacBook in its anti-static bag, then another foam insert, then shots of the power supply (up close) and so on. And they’re not the only ones.

If there’s one thing that gives geeks — particularly Apple geeks — a bad name, it’s the kind of obsessive and lavish attention paid to every tiny detail of a new product, from the finish on the aluminum to the packaging (packaging porn, someone called it). A blog called I Kew makes another point, which is that there has been little said about Apple’s decision to send “cease and desist” letters to websites devoted to hacking OS X so that it can run on any Intel box, but everyone wants to talk about the cool new products and the boxes they came in.

Freedom of speech? Who cares. But cool boxes and styrofoam inserts with circular cutouts? Now that’s something worth talking about.

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