In the past, Apple has seldom introduced new Mac models at the Worldwide Developers Conference, but chose today to announce that it has revamped nearly its entire laptop line. The 13-inch MacBook has transmogrified into a MacBook Pro, and Apple pushed out revised versions of the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models as well and dropped the price on the MacBook Air. All the revised models are shipping today. According to Apple, each model meets the criteria for the EPEAT Gold standard and Energy Star version 5.0.
15-inch MacBook Pro — Apple led off by revealing a new 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 7-hour non-removable battery that takes advantage of the lithium-polymer battery technology previously available only in the 17-inch MacBook Pro. The new model has an improved display, with 60 percent more color gamut – a mapping of the portion of all possible visible colors that a given display or output device can show or use.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro also sheds its ExpressCard slot, the primary expansion option available for laptops, because, as Apple’s Phil Schiller said, fewer than 10 percent of buyers used it. In place of the ExpressCard slot, the 15-inch MacBook Pro gains an SD (Secure Digital) slot, a card format used primarily for storage in digital cameras.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro is available in three standard configurations:
- 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, with a 250 GB hard disk and Nvidia 9400M graphics for $1,699
- 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, with a 320 GB hard disk and both Nvidia 9400M and 9600M GT graphics for $1,999
- 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, with a 500 GB hard disk and both Nvidia 9400M and 9600M GT graphics for $2,299 (only this model can be upgraded with a 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo for $300)
All models come standard with 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, and support up to 8 GB. 128 GB and 256 GB solid-state drives are also available as options; the price increase varies by model.
17-inch MacBook Pro — The 17-inch MacBook Pro retains its ExpressCard/34 slot and doesn’t pick up an SD slot, but Apple has dropped the price $300 to $2,499. The standard model of the 17-inch MacBook Pro has a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, with 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard disk, and both Nvidia 9400M and 9600M GT graphics. It can take up to 8 GB of RAM, and a 3.06 GHz option is available for those who want more power.
If you are interested in cards to use in that ExpressCard slot, check out Jeff Carlson’s Macworld article on the topic.
13-inch MacBook Goes Pro — The changes made to the 15-inch MacBook Pro trickled down to the 13-inch aluminum MacBook, but with a twist. Since the specs make it nearly indistinguishable from the 15-inch model, aside from the size of the screen, the MacBook has now become the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Most notably, the 13-inch MacBook Pro gets FireWire 800 back (yay!), picks up the improved screen, and has an SD slot. Plus, it can take up to 8 GB of RAM, up to a 500 GB hard disk, and even an optional 256 GB solid-state drive.
Standard configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Pro include:
- 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, with 2 GB of RAM, a 160 GB hard disk, and Nvidia 9400M graphics for $1,199
- 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, with 4 GB of RAM, a 250 GB hard disk, and Nvidia 9400M graphics for $1,499
Those prices are worth noticing, since the low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro is actually cheaper than the 13-inch aluminum MacBook that it replaces, something that Apple doesn’t generally do when releasing updated models.
The white MacBook retains the MacBook name, and it’s worth remembering that it too received a small improvement recently, with a 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (up from 2.0 GHz), 2 GB 800 MHz DDR2 RAM (up from 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 RAM), and a 160 GB hard drive (up from 120 GB).
Updated MacBook Air — The MacBook Air drops in price, with one configuration providing a 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2 GB of RAM and a 120 GB hard disk for $1,499 (down $300), and another offering a 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2 GB of RAM and a 128 GB solid-state drive for $1,799 (down $700).