Details on Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro updates

Summary:After weeks of news leaks, there weren't many surprises left for Apple's event today, but the company gave its entire notebook line a badly-needed update. Major changes across the line included a stiffer, "unibody" aluminum case similar to the one used in the MacBook Air; LED-backlit displays; Nvidia graphics; faster processors and more memory; a redesigned touchpad; and mini DisplayPort connectors.

Details on Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro updates
After weeks of news leaks, there weren't many surprises left for Apple's event today, but the company gave its entire notebook line a badly-needed update. Major changes across the line included a stiffer, "unibody" aluminum case similar to the one used in the MacBook Air; LED-backlit displays; Nvidia graphics; faster processors and more memory; a redesigned touchpad; and mini DisplayPort connectors.

The MacBook line was most in need of a revamp. Apple kept the white plastic case around for at least one configuration, but lowered its price to $999. Previously the cheapest MacBook started at $1,099. The new configuration now also includes a slot-loading SuperDrive, rather than the DVD-ROM.

But the bigger news was the new aluminum MacBooks, which in addition to the new case get an LED-backlit display, Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics, the multi-touch glass touchpad (no buttons) that now supports three- and four-finger gestures and a backlit keyboard. Apple said the GeForce 9400M is five times faster than Intel's integrated graphics, which are still used only in the $999 MacBook.

Here are the new MacBook configurations:

Apple MacBook--$999 (white case)

  • 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 1GB DDR2 memory
  • Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics
  • 120GB hard drive
  • Slot-loading SuperDrive

Apple MacBook--$1,299 (aluminum)

  • 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB DDR3 memory
  • Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics
  • 160GB hard drive
  • Slot-loading SuperDrive
  • Backlit keyboard

Apple MacBook--$1,599 (aluminum)

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB DDR3 memory
  • Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics
  • 250GB hard drive
  • Slot-loading SuperDrive
  • Backlit keyboard

The MacBook Pro with the 15-inch display also received some major updates. All models now include both GeForce 9400M integrated graphics and Nvidia's GeForce 9600M GT discrete GPUs. Though the case looks the same from the outside, it also uses the unibody construction. The new MacBook Pro also has an LED-backlit display, glass touchpad, magnetic latch for the power cord, motion sensor to park the hard drive heads, integrated iSight camera and microphone, backlit keyboard and mini DisplayPort connector. The new configurations include:

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch--$1,999

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB DDR3 memory
  • Nvidia GeForce 9400M and Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT with 256MB
  • 250GB hard drive
  • Slot-loading SuperDrive
  • Backlit keyboard

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch--$2,499

  • 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 4GB DDR3
  • Nvidia GeForce 9400M and Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT with 256MB
  • 320GB hard drive
  • Slot-loading SuperDrive
  • Backlit keyboard

Apple also gave the 13.3-inch MacBook Air a more minor refresh to keep up with the overhauled MacBooks. Both models now include GeForce 9400M graphics, a 120GB hard drive--the 128GB SSD is still an option--and the mini DisplayPort connector. Here are the details on the new configurations:

Apple MacBook Air--$1,799

  • 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB DDR3 memory
  • Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics
  • 120GB hard drive
  • Slot-loading SuperDrive
  • Backlit keyboard

Apple MacBook Air--$2,499

  • 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB DDR3 memory
  • Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics
  • 128GB SSD
  • Slot-loading SuperDrive
  • Backlit keyboard

All of these are available immediately. Apple also announced its first LED-backlit external Cinema display, a 24-inch model that will sell for $899 starting in November.

None of this was too surprising. These were necessary updates but the fact remains that you can get Windows notebooks with similar configurations for less in U.S. retail. I also thought there was a chance Apple would introduce an even lower-priced MacBook with a smaller display along the lines of a netbook. But in the end they stuck with what is working, and you can't really blame them since Apple continues to grow at a faster pace than the overall PC industry.

Topics: Intel, Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Processors

About

John Morris is a former executive editor at CNET Networks and senior editor at PC Magazine. He now works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made. No investment advice is offered in this blog. All duties are... Full Bio

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