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MacBook Gains Plastic Unibody with Updated Specs

Apple's longstanding laptop workhorse, the 13-inch white MacBook, has been revamped with a new polycarbonate unibody enclosure and updated specs. While the new casing is probably stronger and stiffer, the design maintains the same thickness of its predecessor of 1.08 inches (2.7 cm), though it does shed 4.8 ounces (136 g) to weigh in at 4.7 pounds (2.13 kg). The bottom of the casing also no longer sports rubber feet in the corners, but is instead coated entirely in non-slide rubber.

In addition to its sleek new body, the new MacBook also now features an LED-backlit glossy display with a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels, a Multi-Touch trackpad with full gesture support, and a self-contained non-swappable battery with a claimed 7-hour battery life - up from 5 hours on the previous model. (We don't believe that real world usage bears out either number.)

In its base configuration, the new MacBook features a 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (up from 2.13 GHz), 2 GB RAM (expandable to 4 GB), a 250 GB hard drive (up from 160 GB), and an Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics processor. The latest version, like its predecessors, also features an 8x double layer SuperDrive, built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, and a 60 watt MagSafe power adapter.

The MacBook has a Mini DisplayPort for use with an external monitor or projector, but unlike the previous $999 white MacBook model, drops the FireWire 400 port, whose absence from the 13-inch aluminum MacBook sparked such a ruckus. (Its departure from this MacBook model marks the end of Firewire 400 ports anywhere in Apple's lineup.) Those who want a FireWire port will need to step up to the 13-inch aluminum MacBook Pro that was introduced at WWDC in June (see "Apple Refreshes MacBook Line at WWDC," 8 June 2009).

The new MacBook maintains its $999 price tag and is available immediately.


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Comments about MacBook Gains Plastic Unibody with Updated Specs
(Comments are closed.)

Larry Cassis  2009-10-27 07:04
As an educator in Maine & part of the statewide 1 to 1 laptop program for all 7th- &(now) 12th students. (Apple MacBooks won the "bid")... I am very disappointed to see the 400 Firewire port now no longer included.

I am now very concerned that the existing FireWire video cameras we have that so seamlessly plugged into iMovie for curriculum projects will now be useless?? !!!

Could someone please point me(& colleagues) to a "tutorial/screencast" that demonstrates / shows/ tells me how we will now connect our video cameras to iMovie using USB? The iMovie versions we have been using will not recognize any cameras with USB.... so now what are we to do??

At least with the inclusion of a Firewire 800 port we could still use an "adapter" to connect.... but there is no such way ?? to go from USB to Firewire (converter or adapter).

Would someone please do an "article" on this issue and give some info & how-to facts?

From the Coast of Maine
Larry Cassis
Science & Technology Educator
Jeff Carlson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2009-10-27 15:27
Hi Larry,
I wrote an article about this when the first aluminum MacBooks appeared without a FireWire port. See:

Unfortunately, it's not a great solution. But I don't know of any other way to do it, unless you have a FireWire-equipped Mac that serves as an import station, and then move the imported video to each student's respective MacBook.

Alf Watt  2009-10-27 19:17
A possible solution is to have one machine in the video lab, say an iMac with firewire and a large hard drive to store it and act as archive and file server for the original files. All video is logged to the server as it comes in.

Students could then work on copies on their personal laptops, making it easy for everyone to have access to all the source material, along with the security of a backup.