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Update: Apple revamps laptops, offers faster graphics and glass track pads

But it cut the MacBook price by just $100, to $999 -- not to the rumored $800

October 14, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Apple Inc. today unveiled new laptops that feature improved graphics and a larger all-glass track pad, but the company failed to drop prices for its entry-level line as far as some analysts and bloggers had speculated.

While rumors had circulated last week that Apple would lower the price of its least-expensive laptop to $800, the price of its cheapest MacBook dropped by just $100, to $999.

"Actually, I'm glad to see they didn't do a $799 or $899 [MacBook]," said Stephen Baker, an analyst at The NPD Group Inc. "It's not the right time for that; Apple has plenty of volume left [to exploit]. There's more than enough here to keep them growing faster than the market without doing an underpowered cheapo notebook."

Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who shared the stage Tuesday at the launch event, also touted the laptops' design and manufacturing process, claiming that the new all-aluminum cases for both the MacBook and MacBook Pro are lighter, stronger and more environmentally friendly than before.

The bottom-end 13.3-in. MacBook, which keeps the white plastic case, will sell for $999, down from $1,099, said Jobs. It will also pack a 2.1-GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive.

More feature-filled, aluminum-case models will be priced at $1,299 and $1,599. The former includes a 2-GHz Core 2 Duo processor with a 160GB drive, while the top-end model uses a 2.4-GHz chip and offers a 250GB drive. Both come with 2GB of memory, although that can be doubled to 4GB as an option.

new 15-in. MacBook
The new 15-in. MacBook sports an aluminum case.

The least expensive MacBook Pro is a 15-in. model priced at $1,999, and an upper-end 15-in. version will retail for $2,499. Both prices are the same as for previous iterations of the laptop, though components have changed. The $1,999 MacBook Pro boasts a 15.4-in. display, a 2.4-GHz Core 2 Duo processor from Intel Corp., 2GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive. The $2,499 model bumps up to a 2.53-GHz processor, 4GB and a 320GB drive. That model is also available in more powerful configurations, such as a 2.8-GHz processor.

The design of the current 17-in. MacBook Pro remains for the largest of the Pro models, although the high-resolution screen once offered as an upgrade is now standard. That model sells for $2,799.

The new MacBook and MacBook Pro lines feature new graphics processors from Nvidia Corp., said Jobs. The MacBook models use the integrated GeForce 9400M that Jobs claimed delivers up to five times the 3-D graphics performance of the chips inside previous models of the 13-in. laptop.



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