Look Ma, No Button!

Today Apple announced a few game-changing additions to their product lineup, most of them in the notebook sector. Here’s the rundown:

Macbook Pro – Breaking the inch-thick barrier, the new 15″ Macbook Pro, taking cues from the Macbook Air and the newest generation of iMac, is 0.95″ in height and weighs a mere 5.5 pounds. These astounding specs stem from a manufacturing process pioneered with the Macbook Air: the body of the Macbook Pro is constructed from a handful of pieces of machines aluminum. The glass-covered LED-backlit screen is powered by either an nVidia GeForce 9400 or a 9600 chip, depending on whether you want four or five hours of battery life (both are included, and you can switch between them). The touchpad, also made of glass and tuned for the ultimate tracking experience, has no buttons and four-finger (!) gestures.

The new Macbook Pros start at $1,999 and also include the expected processor and memory upgrades from the new Intel Montevina system. The 17″ Macbook Pro looks to be untouched by these advances, but it is still available for sale on Apple’s website.

Macbook – Sporting the same striking construction and thickness as the Macbook Pro, the regular Macbook pares its weight down to 4.5 pounds. Its 13.3″ screen is now LED backlit and the graphics processor is the same nVidia 9400 that the Macbook Pro now uses to save battery power. Speaking of battery power, the new Macbook is billed as having up to five hours of battery life, despite having a smaller 6-cell unit on board than in previous models.

The new aluminum Macbook starts at $1,299 (less for academic purchases) and can be upgraded to a 128GB SSD for storage if you so choose, though this is an expensive option. If you want something less expensive, the previous generation of Macbook is still available, in its lowest-end iteration, for $999, a $100 drop overnight.

Macbook Air – The smallest, lightest Macbook available also gets processor and memory upgrades (all members of the Macbook series now have 1066 MHz DDR3 RAM), as well as a hard disk and SSD capacity bump (from 80 to 120, and from 64 to 128, GB of space, respectively). Finally, the display port on the Macbook Air has been standardized…it’s now a miniaturized version of the new DisplayPort standard, which allows for ultra-high-resolution video and audio to be output over one link. Pricing on the Macbook Air remains the same as the first-generation model.

Cinema LED Display – Sporting a 24-inch LED-backlit panel, the new Apple Cinema display is billed as designed for use with a Macbook. It has three USB ports, built-in iSight (webcam and micrphone) and built-in speakers. Its connection portfolio delineates its purpose: MagSafe for charging your Macbook, USB for turning two usable ports on the laptop into four on your desk, and a mini DisplayPort connector, which works with any new Macbook model. The price? $899.

That is, in a nutshell, what Apple introduced Tuesday, October 14th. Look for reviews of the new Macbooks here soon!

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