Apple's announcement of the new Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro did more than raise the performance bar for their portables. The addition of the new, faster Intel chip in only the Pro model serves as a key differentiating factor between the consumer MacBook and the professional MacBook Pro.
Prior to the announcement of the Core 2 Duo, the MacBook easily had the best price/performance ratio of any Mac in history. For US$1100 you get a screaming Intel-based Mac portable. The only advantages in the twice-as-expensive MacBook Pro were a larger screen (15.4 v. 13.3-inches), a dedicated video card (which drives 30-inch displays), an ExpressCard/34 slot and the Aluminum skin.
Now that the Core 2 Duo is shipping in the MacBook Pro the gap between the two portables has widened considerably. For about an extra US$1,000 MacBook Pro buyers get a Core 2 Duo (with 4MB of L2 cache), FireWire 800, a 6x (or 8x) double-layer SuperDrive, up to 3GB RAM and up to a 200GB hard drive. Pretty impressive.
I have to admit to feeling slightly burned buying the first-generation MacBook Pro after the MacBook came out - there just wasn't enough of a difference in features to justify the price of the Pro model.
Apple's upgrade of the MacBook Pro to Core 2 Duo is exactly what the product line needed and is certain to make the decision to buy a MacBook much more difficult.