Last night Apple quietly released speed-bumped MacBooks with nary a peep. The announcement wasn't splashed on the front page of Apple.com (that's reserved for Leopard at the moment) and as of press time there's no press release–although I expect that to change. The announcement isn't a complete surprise as it was rumored to arrive in early November.
Eagle-eyed readers of the MacBook Tech Specs page noticed the that Apple's consumer notebook got a nice boost under cover of darkness. Apple bumped the MacBook processor to the Intel Santa Rosa architecture (on par the the MacBook Pro) with slight speed bumps to the clock speed (2.0 or 2.2GHz, from 2.0 and 2.16GHz). Probably the most significant change is the beefed up GPU which is now GMA X3100 integrated video over the much-maligned GMA 950 in the previous version.
In traditional Apple fashion, prices remain the same, but because you're getting more bang for your buck, it's like a price drop:
- White 13.3/2.0GHz/1GB RAM/80GB/Combo/GMA X3100–US$1099
- White 13.3/2.2GHz/1GB RAM/120GB/SD-DL/GMA X3100–US$1299
- Black 13.3/2.2GHz/1GB RAM/160GB/SD-DL/GMA X3100–US$1499
The new MacBooks sport Intel's Santa Rosa chipset which features a faster 800MHz front side bus over yesterday's 667MHz front-side bus models.
Update: The combo drive in the low end model is a little cheddar but I can't totally fault Apple's for trying to upsell you to the US$1300 model. Pound for pound the US$1100 MacBook is the best price/performance notebook computer on the market.
You can learn more about the new MacBook's GMA X3100 integrated graphics at NotebookCheck which features benchmarks of all notebook graphics cards/chipsets.