Apple launches 'unibody' aluminium MacBooks

Apple's fancy new Macbook
Apple's fancy new Macbook

Apple has shuffled its notebook range up-market, bringing slim, all-metal bodies and Multi-Touch trackpads to almost the entire range.

The 13-inch MacBook now sells for a recession-taunting £950, with a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chipset, 2GB RAM, Nvidia 9400M graphics and a 160GB hard drive.

The step up is a 2.4GHz processor and 250GB storage for £1150.

For the more budget conscious, an updated 13-inch white MacBook featuring 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors, a 120GB 5400 rpm hard drive and a slot-load 8X SuperDrive will retail for £719.

Unibody MacBook Pros start at £1400, boasting at least 2.4GHz Core 2 Duos, discrete graphics chips, 250GB hard disc and a 15.4-inch display. All screens are now mercury-free LED-backlit for power saving and improved start-up times.

Bricking it

"Traditionally notebooks are made from multiple parts. With the new MacBook, we've replaced all of those parts with just one part—the unibody," said Jonathan Ive, Apple's senior vice president of Industrial Design.

"The MacBook's unibody enclosure is made from a single block of aluminium, making the new MacBook fundamentally thinner, stronger and more robust with a fit and finish that we've never even dreamed of before." In other words, your current Mac laptop is rubbish and should be 'recycled' immediately.

The all-glass Multi-Touch trackpad is 40% bigger than before, to let you pinch, squeeze and flip to your heart's content - as well as enabling 'right click' functionality in applications. Both laptops are available now.

Air today

The Air and 17-inch Pro MacBooks also received tweaks: the AIr (from £1300-1800) has the Nvidia GeForce 9400M chipset for graphics and gaming, both get storage boosts or the option of a new 128GB solid state drive. The Air should be arriving in Apple Stores in November.

Also announced today was a new 24-inch Cinema Display using LED backlights behind its 1920x1200 pixels, and a new Mini DisplayPort for HD input (yes, you'll need to buy another adaptor). It's also arriving in November, priced £650.

The biggest surprise, perhaps, is the conspicuous absence of a netbook in Apple's range, with just a lonely white MacBook 13-inch anchoring the range below £1000. Could we get another product launch before Christmas? Watch this space...

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.