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back to article Apple revamps MacBook as 13in MacBook Pro

Apple today unveiled a new-look MacBook that ditches the familiar white and black plastic styling and becomes just a small-screen MacBook Pro. The 13.3in MacBook has the same look and basic specs as the 15.4in MacBook Pro, also announced today. MacBook 08 That means an aluminium body, LED-backlit display set under a glossy …

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Pirate

Massive let down

After all the talk of an affordable metal Macbook, this announcement is a total anticlimax. Can we hunt down the idiot that spawned this rumour and lynch him, please?

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I'm disappointed

2008 was going to be the year I switched to Apple.

At £699, a Macbook was a fairly reasonable alternative to a better spec Wintel machine at half the price, if only because of the MacOS advantage.

But NOW, Apple want us to cough £949 for their new Macbook, where the RAM / HDD spec aren't much better than those you'd get on a £300 EE-PC. Are they serious?

I'm not prepared to spend £600 just to get an OS!

Oh dear. I think I'm going to buy THREE Intel machines instead and install Linux on them all.

Sad.

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No Firewire, No Sale

'Nuff said.

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Dead Vulture

"their definitely no longer in the box."

You can't be drunk, it's only Tuesday

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Guess I'll wait

£950 and no backlit keyboard? And a slower processor than the last Macbook? And an enclosure that is cheaper to make than the last one? Too much cash for too small a gain. Guess the old iBook will have to soldier on a bit longer.

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E

I was expecting

Machine carved depleted uranium case,

**********************************************************

"The real E"

Karl Marx is laughing his ass off.

**********************************************************

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Jobs Halo

@ the haters

But it's so **shiny**!!!!!1!!!11

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tsk tsk

"..so their definitely no longer..."

tsk tsk, the yoof of today and all that...

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Alert

Aside from the size, two other differences

The MacBook Pro has faster 3D graphics, and it has slightly more connectivity (FireWire and ExpressCard 34, both missing from the MacBook).

I think for me personally, the smaller size and much lower price tag (and otherwise identical specs) win out, even though it means I'll have to buy yet another new audio interface. Even the low-end graphics are quite capable for what little computer-based gaming I do.

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@ Matt

Hi Matt

You're not really an Apple type though are you? You haven't switched yet and are more interested in counting beans and treating it like a washing machine purchase. You'll never buy a Mac notebook unless it costs £400, which ain't gonna happen. Likewise, BMWs are never going to cost the same as Fords.

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Touchpad and keyboard

IMHO removing real buttons to click on the trackpad is a bad idea. I hate using tap to click on trackpads, I usually end up clicking things by accident. I'm not the only person I know who hates it as well. I am typing this on a 12" Aluminium Powerbook G4 and I have to say I wont be an Apple customer again until (if ever) we get real button(s) for mouse clicks.

Also to add to my gripe I really really dislike the keyboard style, what annoys me more is other manufacturers have switched to a similar style. My hunt is on for a 12 inch laptop with a decent keyboard, integrated optical drive and a decent amount of oompf. I don't mind paying for it if it will be durable. This powerbook was £1400 when I got it about 3-3.5 years ago, in that time I have dropped it numerous times and it has take several case deforming hard hits and yet still runs perfectly.

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Joke

@Matt

Hey, go get the machines, then just install OSX on them anyway. If you troll the intrawebnet you'll find hackintosh as the term and plenty of people are porting the os.

Oh and just to start the rants....

ZOMG that's the best thing ever, take that you stoopid evil Wintel idjits/freetards, nothing beats a MAC! You just got sooo pwnd.

ZOMG that's the dumbest thing ever, anyone who has half a brain would like, totally buy a M$/not pay for an OS, you should totally buy a PC/pick up an old machine and run it on freetardix.

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Coat

Not quite a small MacBook Pro... missing Firewire

Apple has actually made the new MacBooks less useful than before for use with video, audio, and many existing external drives. There is no Firewire connection on the aluminum MacBooks! Firewire provides audio interfaces with dedicated bandwidth; it's how many video cameras connect; and what about all those Firewire-only hard drives? Apple's just said, in effect, go spend another $700 for the MacBook Pro (oh, plus $29 for a Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter) (oh, plus another $29 for a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter if you travel, to connect to most projectors).

Mine's the one with the Mini VGA to VGA adapter... No, that's the Mini VGA to S/composite video... Nope, that's Mini DisplayPort to VGA..... sorry, that's the Mini DVI to S/composite video... well, no, that's Mini DVI to DVI... Err, Mini Displayport to VGA.... that's Mini DVI to VGA.... no, Mini DisplayPort to DVI....

Oh wait, mine's over there with Steve's hand in the pocket.

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Disapointing.

The lack of firewire is the real killer here.

For a while there, i thought Apple was being innovative and delivering products that people wanted, with features that people need.

not anymore..

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same old game

I've been watching this for more than a decade now. Jobs creates two versions of a new model, charging a huge premium for fractionally higher processor clock speed on one of the versions. He creates some totally unnecessary new plug-and-socket format for an everyday i/o function. He leaves out an important feature (e.g. Firewire) or provides an inadequate feature set (e.g. USB ports) without a hint of shame. He offers a performance-to-price ratio that is far worse than any competitor. He hypes the item with pre-release leaks that are clearly orchestrated. In short he treats his customers as if they are so stupid, or so infatuated with sleek industrial design, they will put up with being endlessly exploited and abused. Oh, and in between hardware upgrades, he releases OS upgrades without backward compatibility.

In my days as an Apple user, I started to feel like an enabler--enabling old Steve to exploit and abuse me.

So, I stopped. I don't have the pleasure of using equipment that appeals to design fetishists anymore, but, I can tell you, the pleasure of not being a Steve Jobs enabler is intense.

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Jobs Halo

@Touchpad and keyboard

If you look carefully at the video on the apple site, the 'click' isn't achieved by a tap, it's an actual 'click'. The touchpad physically depresses with (click) pressure. Don't know how that will be to use in real life, but hopefully it'll be better than the shit 'tap' some systems employ.

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@ Alexis

I wouldn't use BMW and Ford as comparisons. If you want to stick with the Ford then think Jaguar X-Type and Ford Mondeo. Basically the same car, but the look is changed to keep the snobs happy.

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@soaklord

You overdid it.

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@Jonathan Harden

"trackpad that's multitouch and doubles-up as the mouse button"

I think the phrasing used around the net also implies that the whole track pad is the button, not that there isn't a button at all.

Apple would be stupid to remove all tactile feedback from the mouse, and I think they know that too. I do hope I am not wrong though, otherwise I agree with you.

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Unhappy

No blu-ray option - no sale

hopefully a new mac top will last 2-3 years, it seems a bit short sighted only sticking an 8gb optical drive in there

then again they did lag a bit with dvds

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@ Jonathan Harden

From what I understand, the entire trackpad doubles as a large physical button, but maybe I've been reading the brochure wrong.

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Heart

Well said Alexis!

I totally agree and couldn't put it any better myself.

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Happy

Hooray, a small MBP!

Personally I'm glad to see a small MacBook Pro -- I'd previously had a 12 inch Powerbook and really appreciated its small size but still realtively high spec. I'm very happy to see a smaller laptop from Apple that's still got the same bus speed and mostly same spec as the larger laptops.

Interesting how there is no 17 inch yet, too...

Personally I'll be waiting for the cost of SSDs to come down so that I can fit one - not for speed/power consumption but just because I find that HDDs are what break on all the laptops I've owned. (I assume because they are very often moved whilst it is turned on).

As for people pointing out that its expensive... well, yes. It's made by Apple. They don't really do 'cheap' in case you haven't noticed. Arguably there is a good psychological reason for this, many people do equate price with quality so a higher price = higher quality. Apple differentiate themselves from other laptop/PC manufacturers by offering a higher quality alternative. That has pretty much always been their whole strategy from day 1. So don't expect it to change now.

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Anonymous Coward

Lynching

The ever-reliable John Gruber has tracked down the idiot that spawned the $800 MacBook rumour, viz - http://daringfireball.net/2008/10/todays_claim_chowder

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Go

Backlit keyboard

I personally find a backlit keyboard the most usable feature, and the only thing I truly miss on my current laptop. My N810 has it and I loved it from day one.

On my laptop, sitting in a dark area, I can perfectly adjust the screen for readability (ie dim it), but I can't see what I'm typing.

So 1+ for backlit keyboards

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Rip off

What a complete rip off! Forget the £950 - an even remotely decent spec is £1,200!

Funky hi-tech case is all very well, but plastic was probably a lot cheaper.

No Firewire? No mouse button? Love/hate styling? New DVI adapter?

Sorry Steve, but you won't see this in your reality distortion field...but average joe punter's disposable income is going DOWN....not UP. These should have been EQUAL or LOWER in price than the outgoing fisher-price style. Which looks likes I'll be running for a few more years yet, apparently.

Having said that, a 30" LCD (once it comes out) monitor is definitely drool-worthy. As long as the price is sensible, and runs much cooler/more efficiently than the old one. But given the 24" is £650, that's unlikely.

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Gold badge

Firewire

Firewire is better than USB, but this is a consumer laptop. The average consumer doesn't use a firewire audio interface, they probably rarely use anything firewire these days.

Many camcorders are dropping firewire/dv connectivity, many of them are either USB or simply don't need firewire because they use memory cards or hard drives.

There's plenty of USB audio interfaces around, while they aren't as good as firewire ones they're fine for the low end user.

It's a strange omission given how Apple were one of the pioneers of firewire, but you either need firewire or you don't.

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Coat

@Alexis

My BMW 320i was cheaper than my mates Mondeo ST when we bought them both new...

The MacBook does look nice (coming from an non-apple Fanboy) but, I don't know, it just seems like a lot of extra cash for something off the pace because you're paying for just a shiny case and a badge - so it's pretty much exactly the same as your BMW/Ford Analogy I guess because I know which I'd sooner have now ;)

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No Firewire, no DVI...

They must be nuts. Next thing, they'll be leaving off the floppy disk drive, SCSII and serial printer port!!!

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Paris Hilton

Sharp edge

OK I bet I'll get flamed for this for being soft, but my biggest grip with my now previous generation Macbook is the sharp edge at the front of the machine. It really digs into my wrists when typing on anything but a proper desk, and it's still there! Am I the only one that finds this simple thing less than optimal?

Paris? Because she works best over a desk as well..

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Jobs Horns

How much?!!

I can't believe people will pay that much - over double the price of a equivalent spec'd laptop which can run Windows or Linux..

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Linux

Am I missing something?

So, Apple choose to keep the old MacBook, not change any of its specs (other than adding a slightly bigger hard drive, and increase its price - now £719 according to apple, I'm sure it was around £699 before.

At the same time, they introduce a newer model, which has the same higher hard disk capacity and increase its price by £250. Granted it has more memory, slightly better graphics performance, and a slightly nippier processor. However, since the original MacBook was introduced the prices of all those components have fallen dramatically so I cannot see any reasonable justification for the drastically higher price.

I understand Apple kit is not going to be priced at the same as wintel kit, it's a design and lifestyle eco-system they have built around their products and they have marketed it well. But when they introduced the aluminium iMac, they kept the price the same as the old ones and gave you much more for that money.

Couple this with Apple's own marketing speel, that due to enhanced production and simplification of parts (reduced by over a half) the new MacBooks are much cheaper for them to manufacture...that mysetrious price hike begins to look much much more suspicious.

Is Apple having a football-club-manager-style meltdown and thinking that people will just pay higher prices for their stuff no matter what (football shirt analogy). Apple really is the only vendor that could have the audacity (nothing short of that) to actually increase prices during the current down-turn in economic fortunes, while single-handedly cutting off their main market for the MacBook - those who wanted a Mac (students, hip and trendy people) but didn't need to pay the extortionate prices, or need the oomph of the pro versions.

Given the change in wintel laptop styling which is starting to take hold, the many reasons not to run Vista on a reasonably-priced laptop, Apple clearly "dropping the ball" on design and spec; could this really signal the best opportunity Linux has ever had to make a real impact on the laptop market?

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Unhappy

@ Giles Jones

Thing is, this is clearly aimed at the small Pro machine crowd. People who want a fully-specced portable with Pro build-quality yet have neither the need nor the desire to lug around a 15" machine. But people who need a frickin' Firewire port because they have a big investment in FW-hardware. Be it video, audio, or simply a stack of drives. Also, the darn port was present in the consumer model since the first white iBook G3. It's plain stupid to take it away now. Because seriously:

If I wanted a small machine with inadequate connectivity, I'd buy a Macbook Air, dammit.

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Flame

Like for like?

"My BMW 320i was cheaper than my mates Mondeo ST when we bought them both new..."

Could that be because the Ford is a sports model with at least 50 more horse power?

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Jobs Horns

@Alexis @Frasier

As it happens, I AM a BMW Driver. I guess I just think cars are more exciting than computers, and therefore worth the extra spend.

I'd also have to agree with AC: In my BMW, I got a better engine, better bodywork, better performance, more reliability, and overall probably lower TCO long term than an equivalent Ford.

Spending £949 on a MacBook, I get a slower CPU, less RAM, smaller hard drive, smaller display, older OS, oh... and a nice shiny case, which if recent history is anything to go by, will break in about 18 months.

Comparing MacBooks with BMWs is not a sensible comparison any more. More like Lamborghini: expensive to buy, expensive to run, high maintenance, and showy.

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Paris Hilton

Hmm laptops....

Card carrying Mac Fanboy here, love my Mac Pro in all it's uberness.

Packed the GF's son off to Uni with a previous generation Macbook Pro which he loves like the child he's never had.

New laptops? Don't like 'em.

Expensive, even for Macs.

Glossy screens.... yuck!

No FireWire ports on some, just plain dumb.

Can't comment on the mousepad click thing haven't tried it.

GFX card trickery sounds good but at a price.

Good luck with the next release Steve, you just made me happy I bought last year.

Paris? Cos like Macbook ranges and our economy she's f@€%*d regularly too.

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Jobs Horns

I've figured it out.

I can see how they worked this one out in the boardroom:

1] Over charge for underspecced hardward,

2] Thereby ensure that the market share stays low.

3] Therefore we won't become a significant malware target any time soon.

4] This in turn means we don't have to fix our poor security patching record.

...

...

Profit!

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No blu ray

Blu ray is not just a video format. 50g of data isn't to be sniffed at.

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Joke

Crikey, how the world has changed.

It wasn't that long ago that no serious techie would admit to using a Mac. Now we've got apparently normal people happily admitting to driving BMWs!

A line needs to be drawn somewhere people. This way lies a world in which drinking shandy and shagging fat, sweaty lasses is socially acceptable.

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Pointless

I was hoping for something along the lines of a netbook. I've used mac for the past ten years and I've always swallowed the extra cost to use the OS. Between work and home I have four macs but my most recent purchase was a linux Eee 901. I don't regret it. I'm really disappointed by these new things, more of the same "look how thin they are" laptops that you're more likely to fold in half accidentally.

I don't honestly think I have an upgrade path left with Apple. I bought one of the old iMacs to avoid shiny screen madness, I build websites not manage NASA so a tower is a waste of money. Now the only laptop that came close to being something interesting has no firewire.

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Who cares?

"Comparing MacBooks with BMWs is not a sensible comparison any more. More like Lamborghini: expensive to buy, expensive to run, high maintenance, and showy."

Yeah, but who doesn't want a lambo!?

"1] Over charge for underspecced hardward,

2] Thereby ensure that the market share stays low.

3] Therefore we won't become a significant malware target any time soon.

4] This in turn means we don't have to fix our poor security patching record."

Well, that sounds fine by me. I don't buy the market share argument for one minute, but I'm happy anyway. No malware and I can blindly blunder around the internet in perfect safety. Who gives a sod about their security record? It doesn't affect me, only sad people who like to tut in disapproval at Apple!

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Unhappy

Rip-off Britain

The low-end white plastic MacBooks went down in price by $100, but up in price by £20. When did the exchange rate reach -5?

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I could forgive the "no Firewire"...

...if the MacBook had a card slot that let us plug in new ports.

The backlit option is appealing, but given its price, it would make far more sense to steup up to a 15.4-inch MacBook Pro.

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@Sharp Edge

I like my MacBook a lot. My wife recently got one also for music composition. That sharp edge bugged me too though. I fixed it with a de-burring tool in about 10 seconds. If you don't have one of those, a fine file or some sand paper would work just fine too.

Still, I'm not sure why they put it there in the first place.

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