Apple MacBook Range Update Detailed

Go, go gadget MacBook range refresh!

We’ve heard the MacBook Brick rumours, we’ve (s)had(/s) seen (damn yanks!) the invites and we’ve spied the leaked spy shots. Let’s face it, we all knew what today’s Apple event in Cupertino was about so I’m not going to beat about the bush or tease you, but am rather going to come straight out and spread the good news; we have new MacBooks people!!

So what is there to talk about? Well, most importantly those brick rumours were right on the money – the new MacBook and MacBook pro chassis are, indeed, all hewn from one solid chunk of aluminium (or is that aluminum?). If any of you heard that there were no buttons on the touchpad then feel free to congratulate the source because they were dead right as well. The entire thing is one big button and, of course, is Multi-Touch capable.

Having not received a real refresh since November 2007, the 13.3 Macbook is the system that yours truly was most awaiting an update for – presumably why Mr. Jobs left it until last to discuss. The wait, however, has almost been worth it because the entry level MacBook proposition is pretty interesting, in that it’s just the old model but with a £719 MSRP.

The new MacBook, though, is a different beast altogether, oh yes indeed! The all-aluminium system is based upon nVidia’s forthcoming GeForce 9400M integrated graphics chip (70 per cent GPU, the rest chipset for the curious). Either a 2GHz or 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo (Penryn) CPU is accompanied by 2GB to 4GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM and a 160GB, 250GB or 320GB hard drive. Oh, and if you have a spare £490 then a 128GB SSD will be right up your street.

An LED-backlit 1,280 x 800 screen is present, with the glass extending across the entire front of the lid. Pictures aren’t a real indication but at a glance the new systems look gorgeous. Starting price: £949 – ouch! I’m dangerously close to pulling out my debit card, though. And I already own a Sony Vaio TZ – the best laptop of 2007!

MacBook Pro time, then, and it’s pretty much more of the same – but bigger. CPU-wise we’ve got 2.4 and 2.53GHz options on the 15.4in (1,440 x 900 and again LED-backlit), with up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM, the same hard drive options as the MacBooks and nVidia GeForce 9600M GT graphics. The 17in machine was promised a similar update, but it doesn’t seem to have hit the site yet. Pricing for the 15.4in laptop starts from £1,399 – again, pricey but just look at it for goodness sake.

The Macbook Air wasn’t left out of these updates, either. The only change, really, is the move to the nVidia GeForce 9400M, although having the hard drives connected by SATA rather than IDE (as per the first gen Air) might make the SSD option actually worthwhile now. I’ll hazard to suggest that post-refresh the only reason for spending the extra money over the MacBook is for the added “Starbucks value” having the former affords over the latter.

An interesting change on the connectivity front of the MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air post-refresh is that the mini-DVI port of old is gone and replaced with a mini-Display Port connector. I’ll be honest and say now I think that’s a stupid decision – what’s wrong with having a full sized port? Oh, of course; you couldn’t charge extra for a converter then, could you Apple!?

Oh, one more thing. Apparently the reports of Ethernet’s death were greatly exaggerated because despite the MacBooks Air’s omission of such a port, both the new Macbook and MacBook Pro sport gigabit ports. Strange, that.

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