Apple announces 17-inch MacBook Pro

Without the fanfare of a keynote address or even a media event, Apple yesterday announced the MacBook Pro 17-inch.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor
Without the fanfare of a keynote address or even a media event, Apple yesterday announced the MacBook Pro 17-inch. The new large screen Intel Core Duo-based Apple portable replaces the PowerBook G4 17-inch leaving the 12-inch as the last remaining PowerBook G4 available at the Apple online store.
Specs on the new 17-inch MacBook Pro are:
- 17-inch widescreen display
- 1680 x 1050 resolution
- 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo
- 1GB (single SODIMM) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
- 120GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
- 8x double-layer SuperDrive
- ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB GDDR3 memory
- One FireWire 400, one FireWire 800, and three USB 2.0 ports
- US$2,799
- Available in 7-10 days
A couple of things that jump right out at me are the fact that the new MBP17 ships with an 8x double-layer SuperDrive. This was a glaring omission in the MBP15 that was announced just two months prior. The MBP15's slower 4x single layer SuperDrive was an issue for some buyers of the new "Pro" machine because the PowerBook G4 it replaced had a 8x DL SuperDrive.
It's also curious that the MBP17 is the same thickness (one-inch) as the MBP15. That pretty much invalidates the theory that the 8x DL SuperDrives were too thick to fit into the case, unless they didn't have the thinner mechanism two months ago and it just became available in quantity now. The MBP17 also has a lot more room in the enclosure than the 15, so it's possible that the 17's dual layer SuperDrive is slightly wider.
Another interesting note is the fact that the new MBP17 marks the return of the Firewire 800 port which also disappeared from the MBP15. My guess is that Apple added it back to the MBP 17 because they had more room inside the enclosure and they also needed a way to differentiate the two models.
I had one of the first generation PowerBook G4 17's because it was the first aluminum PB and the first 17-inch model. I later sold it when the aluminum PB15 became available because I was traveling a lot at the time and found the 17-inch machine to be too big to comfortably use on most commercial aircraft in coach.

I guess that it's time to bring back all those fun nicknames for the new MBP17 like "aircraft carrier" and "lunch tray." My new personal favorite name for the MacBook Pro 17 is "riot shield." What's yours?
What MacBook screen size do you prefer?

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