Meet the New Macs - Apple refreshes MacBooks, in time for the holidays
Apple recently refreshed their entire MacBook product line – which includes the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air – with new designs and higher horsepower hardware.
The aluminum unibody design, used on the majority of the new Macs, is cut from a brick of solid aluminum. This results in a stronger, more durable notebook, while at the same time reducing the computer's weight. You really have to handle one of these machines to appreciate the leap that Apple has made with manufacturing; they simply feel more solid than any other notebook that I've handled.
An Aluminum MacBook
The compact MacBook, previously only available in a plastic polycarbonate housing, is now available with an aluminum unibody design. The system features a high-gloss 13.3" widescreen display with a 1280 x 800 resolution, a DVD burner, and integrated GeForce 9400M graphics by nVIDIA.
Weighing in at only 4.5 pounds, the computer is less than an inch thick when closed. Two USB 2.0 ports are available for device connectivity. It should be noted that the computer lacks FireWire connectivity, a longtime staple on Macs. Users who desire an aluminum notebook and require FireWire will have to move up to the MacBook Pro.
Video output is now handled via the Mini DisplayPort interface. This new standard carries video signals of up to 2560 x 1600 in resolution, as well as digital audio. Adapters are available to output to DVI displays.
The computer is ergonomically similar to its predecessor. It features the familiar spaced keyboard design and a magnetic latch mechanism. The major upgrade in usability is the computer's glass trackpad with a much larger surface area and multi-touch functionality.
The trackpad, which itself is a clickable button, is extremely smooth to the touch; it is the best trackpad that I've ever used. It supports multi-touch gestures – you'll be able to activate exposé, switch between applications, rotate images in iPhoto, zoom in on your screen, and more – all with your fingers. The System Preferences application now features a pane dedicated to the trackpad; tutorial videos are present to demonstrate all of the available multi-touch gestures.
The MacBook is available with all of these features, a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive with an MSRP of $1269. There is also a 2.4GHz model available with 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive; this version also sports a backlit keyboard, and is available with an MSRP of $1594. Every MacBook includes 802.11n Wi-Fi, the iSight webcam, and Bluetooth. B&H also stocks a variety of MacBooks with custom configurations, allowing you to choose a system that meets your needs.
The 15" MacBook Pro
Sharing the same design aesthetics and functionality as the aluminum MacBook, the MacBook Pro can be looked at as the smaller computer's big brother. It features a bit more power under the hood, including FireWire-800 and ExpressCard/34 connectivity, and an advanced hybrid graphics system by nVIDIA. The system is less than an inch thick when closed and weighs only 5.5 pounds.
The system features a 15.4" glossy widescreen display with a 1440 x 900 resolution. The hybrid graphics system allows you to toggle between the integrated nVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics and a dedicated nVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics card. Integrated graphics deliver lower performance with longer battery life, while the dedicated graphics card delivers superlative performance with shorter battery life.
The MacBook Pro is available in with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and 256MB of video memory with an MSRP of $1949. There is also a 2.53GHz model available wit 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and 512MB of video memory with an MSRP of $2475. Every MacBook Pro sports a backlit keyboard, the iSight webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Of course, there are also customized MacBook Pros available at B&H.
Minor Updates: The White MacBook, 17" MacBook Pro and MacBook Air
The MacBook is still available in a white polycarbonate casing. Physically identical to previous models, the current white MacBook features a 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive, a DVD burner, and integrated GMA X3100 graphics by Intel. The system features 2 USB 2.0 ports and a single FireWire-400 port for device connectivity, and weighs 5 pounds. It is the lowest priced computer in the MacBook line-up, starting with an MSRP of $994.
The 17" MacBook Pro was also refreshed, although it does not feature a new case design. Weighing in a 6.6 pounds, the largest of Apple's notebooks. The system features a 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, a DVD burner, and nVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 512MB of video memory. The glossy screen features a native resolution of 1920 x 1200, allowing you to view 1080p high-definition video at full size. The computer sells with an MSRP of $2799, with custom configurations available. The 17" MacBook Pro is the only Apple notebook currently available with a matte screen option.
Finally, Apple's ultralight MacBook Air has been blessed with an update. Still weighing in at 3 pounds, the system now features a Mini DisplayPort for video output, and integrated nVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics. The new Air retains the features of its predecessor, including 2GB of RAM, an iSight webcam, a 13.3" widescreen display, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Please remember that the Air does not include an optical disc drive of Ethernet port. Apple offers an external SuperDrive for the Air, as well as a USB Ethernet adapter.
It is available in with a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a 120GB 4200rpm hard drive with an MSRP of $1799. You can also get the air with a 1.86GHz CPU and a 128GB solid state hard drive with an MSRP of $2499.