Apple upgraded its entire MacBook Pro line of professional laptops last week, incorporating Intel's new Core 2 Duo processor instead of the Core Duo processor introduced early this year (see "Intel-Based iMac and MacBook Pro Ship Earlier than Expected," 16-Jan-06). The company says its latest 15-inch and 17-inch laptops are up to 39 percent faster than the previous models.
At the same time, Apple has doubled the memory and increased the storage capacity of the basic MacBook Pro configurations. Starting at $2,000, Apple's stock models offer 1 or 2 GB of RAM, and a 120 GB or 160 GB Serial ATA hard drive. The machines can be custom configured with up to 3 GB of RAM and a 200 GB hard drive. New to the 15-inch MacBook Pro is a FireWire 800 port, previously available only with a third-party FireWire 800 ExpressCard (see "FireWire 800 ExpressCard for MacBook Pro," 08-May-06). (Late-model PowerBook G4s and the 17-inch MacBook Pro offered FireWire 800.)
The company says Intel's Core 2 Duo processor, with 4 MB of shared L2 cache, offers increased performance in such professional applications as Aperture 1.5 and Final Cut Pro 5.1, both released earlier this month. (We're left wondering what Intel calls this chip in non-English-speaking markets, and whether the next revision will be the Intel Core 2 Duo Squared.)
The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is available now, and Apple says the 17-inch model will ship this week. The company also announced a new $60 Apple MagSafe Airline Adaptor, something sorely lacking to date. If you're a frequent flier and your preferred airline offers EmPower and 20mm power ports, you can operate your MacBook or MacBook Pro in flight (though it won't charge the battery).