Blurring the boundaries between its consumer and professional lines Apple has refreshed its MacBook range, turning the 13in aluminium MacBook into a MacBook Pro - leaving only the white chassis model as a MacBook - and giving both the 13in and 15in models an internal refresh adding the same seven-hour, internal battery as the 17in model and also dropping prices across the line-up.
First things first, I'm going to point out plain and clear that this is a big negative. Apple, no matter what you say, a built-in battery is not "innovative," it is silly. It just is, okay?
Rant aside, the new MacBook Pro range looks pretty tasty. Rubbish as those internal batteries may be from a user-replace and upgrade perspective, seven hours (claimed) battery life on the 13in and 15in Pros and eight on the 17in can't be complained about too much!
The 13in model starts at £899 and for that price Apple will give you a 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive while £1,149 will net a 2.53 GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive. A backlit keyboard is now standard and Gone are the ExpressCard slots of the previous models and in their places are SD card readers. Camera users will doubtless find those of more use and as pretty much every peripheral under the sun uses USB these days, I can't see many missing ExpressCard.
The 15in MacBook Pro offers a 2.53 GHz CPU with 4GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive for £1,299, a 2.66 GHz CPU with a 320GB hard drive for £1,499 and a 2.8GHz CPU with a 500GB hard drive for £1,699. The 15in MacBook Pro also forgoes the ExpressCard slot in favour of an SD card reader.
The 17in Pro sees a price drop and now sits at £1,849 for a 2.8GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. Battery updates are priced at £99 for the 13in and 15in MacBook Pro, £139 for the 17in. However, Apple reckons the average user should get five years use before the cells degrade, and that's a lifetime in digital years so the likelihood of needing to buy a new battery is low. It's only the inability to swap out the battery on the go that's annoying, therefore.
The MacBook Air still hasn't seen the upgrade it sorely needs, but it has at least received a notable discount. An Air with a 1.86GHz CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 120GB hard drive now costs £1,149 and upping that to £1,359 nets you a 2.13GHz CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Yes, it's still too expensive given the shortfalls, but not by quite so much any more.