The New MacBooks

It’s taken three events in the latter half of this year but finally Apple have launched their new line-up. Take a look at the new style that Apple is greeting the world with.

It’s taken three events in the latter half of this year but finally Apple have launched their new line-up.

Starting the new line-up off is a new manufacturing process that affects both the MacBook and the MacBook Pro enabling the bulk of the device to built from one piece of aluminium. We’re assuming that this is the new “Brick” manufacturing process we heard from rumours recently allowing Apple to have a more solid & durable computer chassis that uses fewer parts in the build process too.

Up first in the new laptops is the brand new MacBook, an update to the original plastic body entry-level lappy that sports what’s a cross between the current generation of iMac desktops and the MacBook Air. Gone is the choice between white or black plastic unless you decide to buy the entry-level model which is just the old MacBook in white with a Superdrive DVD burner thrown in for good measure. That drops to the price of $1649 in Australia whereas the brand new MacBooks enter at a minimum $2099 price tag bringing an aluminium body, new memory, high speeds, more hard disk space, and no Intel GMA graphics chipset!

Yay! No more Intel GMA!

Instead, Apple have opted to go with Nvidia’s Geforce 9400M chipset, a new mobile Geforce chipset that replaces last years 8400M solution. Provided Nvidia don’t manage to have these things become like their 8600’s in much of the world’s laptops, this should all turn out well.

The humble mouse has also had a change of heart and this feature sees itself in the new MacBook & MacBook Pro laptops launching today. It appears that buttons are out while smooth iPod Touch-like surfaces are in. The new MacBook touchpad is one sheet of glass and is gesture enabled. While there’s no click button where you’d normally put your thumb, the entire mouse is one button that you can click.

The MacBook Pro gets an update too with the 17 inch keeping with the old design and getting a minor bump up with a higher resolution screen but now the 15 inch gets completely replaced with a similar look to the new MacBook with this iMac / MacBook Air hybrid design Apple have got going for them. The specs take a jump too with a 2.53GHz cpu on their high-end model, 2-4GB of DDR3 memory, and even two Nvidia graphics processors – a 9400M and a 9600M GT – that can run in Hybrid SLI mode. Pricing doesn’t seem too friendly, however, as the entry level MacBook Pro 15 inch will set you back $3199.

Even the MacBook Air gets an update and with the price point being so minor between the modern MacBook and the MacBook Air, it almost makes the envelope-thin laptop worth the $2899 price.

The MacBook Air now comes with an Nvidia Geforce 9400M processor much like the entry level MacBook and even boosts the hard drive space to have either a 120GB hard drive or a 128GB solid state drive.

Interestingly, I’m not sure if Apple are as smart as they’d like to see themselves to be. While the upgrades make the computers look to be more beautiful than ever, Apple seem to be repeatedly ignoring the expectations of analysts and customers.

Short of the glass touchpad with multi-touch gestures, there isn’t a lot of “wow” about the new laptops other than how pretty& well-made they look.

Apple are also betting on something odd: high pricing. Currently, the market is in a downturn and as the dollar weakens (at least from the American point of view), you have to wonder if Apple’s high-priced laptop strategy will actually work long term for them.

Recently market analysts criticised Apple for not having anything in the netbook category, a sub-notebook that computers like the Asus Eee created a market for. Now with the launch of the new MacBook & MacBook Pro computers, Apple have confirmed that they don’t see that area as a need for them.

Click to enlarge

Likewise, the much hoped for request of a touchscreen MacBook has once again been ignored by the Cupertino company. If consumers want that, they’re now going to have to either buy an Axiotron Modbook, modify a Gigabyte touchscreen netbook, or buy an iPod Touch / iPhone and hope it’s the best touchscreen Apple experience that Apple want them to have.

Blu-ray is ignored too as Steve Jobs is quoted as saying “Blu-ray is a world of hurt,” ignoring the request for the high-definition format and making people wonder whether it’ll even make it into the next Mac OS version number.

Even HDMI is being ignored by Apple. A company who once worked off of the concept of standards is beginning to fray and prefer the world adapt to their standards with the comment that their DisplayPort is the connector of the future. This is a little bit problematic when the rest of the world has already adopted HDMI. It would have been nice for Apple to tell us this before we all bought screens with HDMI inputs on them, but you know how this whole technology thing goes…

People who don’t like glossy screens have a harder time for it though because now Apple only makes their laptop line-up in a glossy screen. You might think that glossy screens look better but ask graphics professionals or people who work in incredibly bright rooms what they want and they’ll scream in unison “matt”.

All laptop screens created by Apple – as they have been introduced today – are using an LED display encased behind glass which looks nice but also is the worst enemy for someone desiring a non-glossy screen. Still, we’ll see just what it’s like when we get one in our hands.

Written by Leigh D. Stark