Apple surprised the crowd by introducing two new Macs with Intel chips inside. The iMac and a new laptop called the MacBook Pro.
The PowerBook is dead. MacBook Pro is rated at four times to five times faster than the previous PowerBooks, but not so cheap. Starting at $1,999, the MacBook may wow the user with speed, but is purely pro on price.
The specifications are impressive. MacBook Pro is powered by a new dual-core Intel chip. Four times the speed of the PowerBook G4 and eight times the graphics bandwidth.
Included with the MacBook are the new iLife ‘06 applications, Front Row, and the Apple Remote.
On the outside, the MacBook Pro looks similar to the previous line of PowerBooks. On the inside, everything is different. CPUs, graphics card, bus speed.
This laptop also has a built-in iSight camera, similar to the one in the old and new iMacs.
At a glance, this Mac is built for speed, hence the slightly higher than expected price tag. $1,999 gets you a 15.4-inch widescreen display and a 1.67Ghz Intel Core Duo CPU.
The frontside bus obliterates what was available in the previous generation PowerBook at 667Mhz, coupled to the speedy PCI Express architecture.
Apple has decided to go for performance (and price tag to match) with the hot ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card (similar to that of the iMac) but with up to 256MB of video memory. Wow.
The PCMCIA card slot appears to be gone, in favor of an ExpressCard/34 slot (more on that later). There’s still the Dual-link DVI connector so the MacBook can handle Apple’s 30-inch display.
Also new are the optical digital and analog audio I/O ports. Still inside is the illuminated keyboard, a SuperDrive, and Airport Extreme. Bluetooth is there, too.
The basic specs on the Apple web site mention nothing about USB or Firewire. Detailed specs indicate that two USB 2.0 480-Mbps ports are standard, but the 800-Mbps Firewire port has been dropped. The 400-MBps Firewire port remains.
At 5.6 pounds, this MacBook for the Pro is not small and light. The base unit comes with an 80-gigabyte hard drive, while a 120-gig is available.
Speaker set up is similar to the previous PowerBook though the connectors for audio are a combined optical digital in/out for mic and headphones.
512 megs of RAM is standard, with capacity up to two gigabytes.
All things considered, this is a dramatic departure for Apple and a surprise announcement. It also shows Intel can keep a secret, too.
The MacBook Pro also displays Apple’s desire to charge a premium for new products and an ability to transition quickly when necessary.
Maybe they should have done this five years ago.
Regardless, the new MacBook Pro won’t be available until February (meaning ‘Spring’ when Steve’s Reality Distortion Field wears off), but is available for order now from the Apple Store.
I wonder if Bambi still plans to wait a year before buying an Intel-based Mac.
Are you pleased as punch? Disappointed? Expected more? Can’t wait to order? Still missing in action is Apple’s strategy for the Media Center. Perhaps there’s no need. For now, it’s OS X for Intel, iMacs with Intel, and new Mac laptops with Intel.
I don’t mind the “Intel” part, but I’ll have to work on “MacBook Pro.” It has an odd ring to it. Maybe it’ll grow on me.
For a detailed look at Bambi’s notes from the keynote presentation, Click Here.