The MacBook Pro’s upgrade is limited to two new build-to-order options for the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro and the 17-inch MacBook Pro models: a 2.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor for $250 (up from 2.4 GHz) and a 250 GB hard drive running at 5400 rpm for $150. Otherwise, prices remain the same, $1,999 for the low-end 15-inch model, $2,499 for the high-end 15-inch model, and $2,799 for the 17-inch model.
The MacBook’s update is slightly more interesting. The mid- and high-end models of the MacBook now come with a 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, up from the 2.16 GHz processor in the previous incarnation. The new models also feature a RAM ceiling of 4 GB, up from 2 GB; a frontside bus of 800 MHz, up from 667 MHz; and a new graphics chip, the Intel GMA X3100 with 144 MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory that replaces the previous Intel GMA 950 with 64 MB. The new MacBook also features new media control keys along the function key row.
Although the new MacBook processors are only infinitesimally faster, the faster frontside bus should provide some performance boost, the new graphics chip could help in certain situations (although it also has some compatibility issues with advanced gaming applications), and being able to add more memory is always welcome. Prices remain the same, ranging from $1,099 for the low-end model up to $1,499 for the high-end black unit. The 250 GB hard drive is also available as a build-to-order option.
Both the MacBook and MacBook Pro now ship with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, which is generally a good thing. However, in places like universities and large corporations, where the just-released Leopard has not yet been approved for use, a tech note from Apple about the MacBook is causing some consternation. It states that the new MacBook (which Apple calls “Late 2007”) comes with a version of Leopard that can be installed only on this particular model, and that other Mac OS X 10.5 installation disks will not work on this model. It does not comment on compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4.10, but the fact that other 10.5 installation disks won’t work implies that 10.4.10 won’t
either. There’s a rumored 10.4.11 that could in theory enable the MacBook (Late 2007) to use Tiger, if and when Apple releases it.