The buildup to a new Apple product release is usually accompanied by anxious anticipation from the Mac community along with continuous speculations from news outlets around the world. Over the past few years, actual product leaks leading up to an Apple product launch of have been few and far between. This changed somewhat with lead up to the iPod nano 4G and iPod touch 2G.
However, the continuous leaks for the new MacBook and MacBook Pro were quite plentiful. First, news spread around the internet about the notebooks' use of a new manufacturing process. Then there was the news of the use of NVIDIA's MCP79 single-chip chipset instead of Intel's northbridge/southbridge arrangement. Next came numerous pictures showing the outer casing of the 13.3" MacBook and 15" MacBook Pro. Shortly after, a blurry picture of an actual 15" MacBook Pro and its retail box was shown to the web.
Then, this morning, a picture showing the bottom of the case and its removable battery/hard drive bay was leaked onto the web. The proliferation of leaks is surely not welcome news to Steve Jobs, as he runs a tight ship in order to keep the Mac faithful begging for more at each keynote reveal.
This afternoon, however, Steve Jobs confirmed all of the rumors preceding the launch of the 15.4” MacBook Pro and 13.3" MacBook.
The MacBook Pro features an aluminum body, LED-backlit display, iSight camera, backlit keyboard, stereo speakers, magnetic latch, and a sudden motion sensor. The ports selection includes a MagSafe connector, GbE, Firewire 800, two USB ports, ExpressCard 34, and a mini-DisplayPort connector. A slot-loading optical drive is included on the right-hand side of the notebook. Apple will also offer an SSD option for the MacBook Pro for those in need of an extra boost in storage performance.
The new MacBook Pro incorporate a GeForce 9400M graphics core -- the graphics core takes up 70% of the single-chip die. According to jobs, the GeForce 9400M is five times faster than the previous integrated Intel chips that previous Apple notebooks have used.
In addition, the MacBook Pro also features a discrete GeForce 9600M GT (256MB or 512MB GDDR3) for heavy-duty graphics needs. Battery life is rated at five hours with the integrated GeForce 9400M part and four hours with the discrete GeForce 9600M GT.
One of the most intriguing features of the new notebook is the lack of any trackpad buttons. Instead, the multi-touch surface is made of glass and serves as a large “click” button for interaction with the OS X user interface. The trackpad itself is 39% larger, multi-button presses can be configured via software, and new four-finger gestures are now registered.
Jony Ive talked about the new design process used for the MacBooks. As previously detailed on DailyTech, Apple starts with a solid piece of aluminum and removes pieces to get to the final shape. By starting from a single piece, Apple is able to create a stronger structure than previously possible for notebooks. In the case of the MacBook Air, a 2.5-pound aluminum brick was whittled down to 0.5 pounds for the notebook's body/structure.
All leftover pieces of aluminum are then recovered and recycled.
The 0.95" thick MacBook Pro will start at $1,999 with a 15.4" screen, 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 256MB GeForce 9600M GT graphics processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory, 250GB HDD, and a SuperDrive. An additional $500 will get you a 2.53GHz processor, 512MB GeForce 9600M GT graphics processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, and a 320GB HDD. Both are available to order today.
Steve Jobs also took the time to introduce a next generation MacBook which also incorporates aluminum construction, the large glass multi-touch trackpad, and an integrated GeForce 9400M. Battery life is rated at five hours.
Pricing starts at $1,299 for the 13.3" MacBook with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory, 160GB HDD and slot-loading SuperDrive. A $1,599 price tag bumps those specs to 2.4GHz and 250GB along with the addition of a backlit keyboard.
Apple also announced that the MacBook Air would be on the receiving end of the GeForce 9400M graphics processor, a new 120GB SATA HDD, and a Mini DisplayPort connector. $1,799 buys you a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor-equipped model with the aforementioned specifications. Stepping up to the $2,499 model will get you a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo processor and a 128GB SSD. Both will be available in early November.
And one more thing… Steve Jobs also announced that the previous generation MacBook is dropping in price from $1,099 to $999.