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17" MacBook Pro  (Source: Apple Insider)
Apple introduces a new 17" MacBook Pro during its final Macworld

During the opening keynote of the Apple Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Apple unveiled several new hardware and software technologies.  Despite Apple CEO Steve Jobs stepping aside to give keynote duties to Senior V.P. of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller, there was a certain level of anxiety as attendees were still unsure what to expect.

Apple kicked off the event by announcing a new 17" MacBook Pro, which was promoted as the "world's thinnest 17" notebook," as it's just 0.98 inches thick and weighs only 6.6 pounds.  The notebook promises 1920 x 1200 resolution and a new battery technology that is able to increase battery life to about eight hours during a single battery charge.  

The new MacBook Pro will have a Core 2 Duo processor -- 2.66 GHz -- 4GB DDR3 RAM, 320GB HDD, and NVIDIA GPUs, using a 9400M and 9600M GT.  In addition, it offers 3 USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 800, express card, glass trackpad, and a mini display port.  

Apple believes the eight-hour battery is the most innovative new feature of the laptop, as it's the longest battery life ever for an Apple product, with the company able to increase battery life while keeping the size of the laptop small.

Pricing for the latest Apple laptop will start at $2,799.  Apple expects to begin shipping the laptop later this month.

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Good News
By kelmon on 1/7/2009 5:38:05 AM , Rating: 2
I currently own a 17" MacBook Pro that is due for replacement at the end of this year and had been considering a downgrade to a 15" model. However, given this announcement I am thinking that the 17" might be back on the shopping list again. The wonderful battery life and screen are absolutely the primary reason why I'd buy one of these (hopefully with an i7 Mobile processor come the end of the year) and the reduced weight is also a plus.

However, there are a couple of negatives. I couldn't give 2 hoots about the non-user replaceable battery but upgrading the RAM and hard drive looks like it will be more difficult on the 17" than it is on the 15" since there is no removable panel. Rather, you apparently will need to remove the entire rear cover to the laptop and that will expose more than you require. Secondly, I'm disappointed to see that the Firewire 400 port has gone AWOL so you now can only connect a single Firewire device or have to daisy-chain your devices together. Since I have 2 external Firewire drives that neither has additional Firewire ports for the purposes of daisy-chaining, this lack is annoying. Here's hoping that everything lives up to expectations when it comes to the reviews.

Finally, I'm also a bit peeved that Apple is continuing with their policy of removing and selling as extras components that used to come in the box. My old PowerBook G4 not only came with all the adaptors cables but it also included a few extra software packages, such as the excellent Omnigraffle. Even my current MBP came with the a couple of extra applications, adaptors and the Apple Remote. Now you just get the computer, power adaptor, OS and iLife; the rest of it you have to buy separately. This policy sucks, particularly given the price premium that customers are paying.

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