A very short two weeks ago I wrote about the MacBook chasm, the difference in features and benefits between Apple's consumer MacBook and the professional MacBook Pro. I wrote that Apple's revving the MacBook Pro to the faster and cooler Core 2 Duo processor essentially widened the gap between the two lines and that it would make potential MacBook buyers think long and hard about the MBP before buying.
Well no more.
Apple's announcement yesterday of the new Core 2 Duo-powered MacBook has shrunk the chasm significantly and promises to shift some of the sales momentum to the consumer notebook line.
The advantages in the MacBook Pro are: larger screen (15.4 v. 13.3-inch), dedicated video card (which drives 30-inch displays), FireWire 800, 3GB max RAM, ExpressCard/34 slot and the aluminum skin. The MBP advantages that just evaporated include the Core 2 Duo with up to 4MB of L2 cache, double-layer SuperDrive and up to a 200GB hard drive.
And how about Apple's accelerated product development cycle? Apple released the original MacBook on 16 May 2006 making it less than six months between revisions (176 days or 5 months 23 days for you home gamers.) By comparison, the MacBook Pro 15-inch model was revved to Core 2 Duo 252 days (or 8 months and 10 days) after the original. The MBP17 was revved in 183 days or exactly 6 months later. In short, Apple's upgrade cycle for portables has dropped to between six and eight months.
It would be tough to argue that the switch to Intel wasn't a great decision by Apple.