RealTime IT News

Apple Upgrades MacBooks With Faster Chips

Apple came out with new upgraded models of its MacBook and MacBook Pro line today that are faster and include more storage than earlier models, as well as a feature introduced in the ultrathin MacBook Air.

The higher end of Apple's notebook line, the MacBook Pro with 15.4-inch widescreen, now runs on an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz processor with 2GB of DDR2 SDRAM standard, expandable to 4GB. The MacBook Pro also includes a 200GB hard drive.

The latest MacBook model with a 13.3-inch widescreen now comes standard with a 2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM standard, expandable to 4GB and a 120GB hard drive. Pricing is $1,999 and $1,099 for the MacBook Pro and MacBook, respectively.

[cob:Related_Articles]Apple released a total of three new models of the MacBook line, starting with the aforementioned $1,099 model. The 2.4 GHz, 13.3-inch white MacBook has a retail price of $1,299 (US) and includes 2 GB of SDRAM expandable to 4GB. The third model, a 2.4 GHz, 13.3-inch black MacBook ($1,499) includes 2GB of SDRAM, expandable to 4GB, and a 250 GB hard drive.

The new MacBook Pro model is the first to include the Multi-Touch pad, which debuted with the MacBook Air in January.

The touch pad offers Multi-Touch gesture support, similar to that of Apple's iPhone, which lets users rotate and move photos and scroll through images with a finger, or zoom in or out on images with a two-fingered pinch.

Other performance features in the MacBook Pro include the latest nVidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics chip with 512MB of GDDR3 memory.

IDC analyst Richard Shim noted Apple has offered more-frequent upgrades to its notebook line since switching to Intel processors. "Apple's in a more frequent cycle of upgrades that's more inline with other PC makers than it was before when it used other processors," Shim told InternetNews.com.

"And in some cases, like the Air debut, a bit ahead of the industry," he added.

Shim thinks other notebook PC makers will introduce some kind of touch or gesture interface similar to what Apple's starting to sprinkle through its product line, but for now, Apple is leading the way in this area.

And while Apple is not quite the premium-priced computer maker it has been in the past, its computers and notebooks are generally higher priced on a pure retail cost basis than most of its PC competitors.

Shim said Apple hasn't felt particular pressure to lower its prices. "Its shipments have exceeded the industry average the past year," he said.

"It'll be interesting to see if Apple can keep its momentum if the economy continues to have problems," Shim added. "That's when we'll really find out if Apple has established itself as less of a luxury than a necessary technology provider."