Apple updates MacBooks, MacBook Pros

Peter Cohen, Macworld
9 June, 2009
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Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller wasted no time during the keynote of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on Monday morning, unveiling a new generation of MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops within minutes of taking the stage.

The new 15-inch model sports processor speeds from 2.53GHz to 3.06GHz, at prices ranging from $2699 – $3699 depending on how it’s configured. The MacBook Pro can handle up to 8GB RAM, and a 256GB Solid State Disk (SSD) is also an option. Nvidia graphics, both integrated and discrete, are included.

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is based on the same “unibody” architecture that Apple has used on the last round of MacBook Pro designs — a single slab of aluminium used to craft most of the body.

It features a built-in battery similar Apple’s 17-inch MacBook Pro, which provides up to seven hours of run time between charges, according to Schiller — that’s two hours longer than before, or 40 percent more charge. Like the lithium polymer battery found in the 17-inch model, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro’s battery lasts up to 1,000 recharges before it needs replacing. Apple claims the battery design is more environmentally friendly as a result.

Schiller claims the 15-inch model has the “nicest display [Apple] has ever put in a notebook” with 60 percent better colour gamut than before. What’s more, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro replaces the ExpressCard slot found on older models with an SD card slot — Schiller said this was done to better accommodate users who have digital cameras, many of which use SD media cards to store photos.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro model also gets a refresh; it now features a 2.8GHz processor, 500GB hard drive and keeps its ExpressCard slot, all for $3999.

Both the new 15-inch and 17-inch models ship today.

Aluminum MacBook becomes MacBook Pro. The 13-inch MacBook has been improved, as well — so much so that Apple is adding the “Pro” moniker to it.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro gets a lithium polymer battery similar to its 15-inch sibling, that lasts for up to seen hours. It also has the improved display, and it gains an SD card slot. The new 13-inch model can also accept up to 8GB of RAM, and can be outfitted with a 500GB hard disk drive or a 256GB SSD.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro also gets a FireWire 800 port, and a backlit keyboard standard. With prices starting at $1899, it’s less expensive than the MacBook model it replaces.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes in two models: 2.26GHz, 2GB RAM, 9400M graphics, 160GB hard drive, for $1899; and a 2.53GHz, 4GB, 250GB hard drive model for $2399. Both models also ship today.

MacBook Air also improved. Lest we forget, the MacBook Air also gets a refresh — and a big price drop. The $2399 model comes equipped with a 1.86GHz processor, 2GB RAM, and a 120GB hard drive. For $2798 you get a 2.13GHz MacBook Air equipped with a 128GB SSD. Prices have come down — that’s $1201 less than before.

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