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Three of a kind for the win.
From Apple's secret town hall lair, the company has launched new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air laptops. The MacBook and Pro are shipping today, while the Air will ship in November. The significant product updates center on all-new graphics hardware, new case designs, and multitouch trackpads.
Gamers and graphics pros will appreciate the video update from Nvidia. Even the MacBook should be able to run games with its new, integrated 9400M chip. MacBook Pros add to that a dedicated 9600M processor and can swap between the two in System Preferences, trading battery performance for speed. Both chips should significantly boost video results, from plain interface tasks to rendering certain effects in Final Cut Pro.
All of the laptops utilize aluminum cases with technology originally developed for the Air. By milling down a single piece of aluminum—versus a die mold process—the laptops are lighter, thinner, and stronger. The MacBook Pro is now .95 inches thick, getting it closer to the Air's maximum depth of .76-inches.
Glass, multi-touch trackpads on all three laptops read new gestures with up to four fingers. Omitting the dedicated button below, the trackpads are 39-percent bigger and act as a single button, physically responding to presses. Apple says gestures and software will emulate Control-clicks.
The current, white MacBook will continue to be sold, now for $999. The 17-inch MacBook Pro will get a minor speed update but not the previous, all-new features. All laptops include standards, such as Intel Core 2 Duo processors, USB 2.0, AirPort, a Mini DisplayPort, and glossy LED-backlit displays. The MacBook Pro ships with FireWire 800, while the plain MacBook and Air do not. Otherwise, here's the breakdown of each version.
New MacBooks use 13.3-inch, 1,280 x 800-pixel displays and Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics. They include 2GB RAM and a slot-loading SuperDrive. The $1,299 MacBook runs at 2.0GHz and has a 160GB hard drive. The $1,599 MacBook runs at 2.4GHz, ships with a 250GB hard drive, and adds a backlit keyboard.
The new MacBook Pros use 15.4-inch, 1,440 x 900-pixel displays; Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics; 9600M dedicated graphics; and a SuperDrive. The $1,999 model runs at 2.4 GHz with a 3MB L2 cache, uses a 250GB hard drive, has 2GB system memory, and the graphics chip has 265MB of dedicated RAM. The $2,499 version runs at 2.53GHz with a 6MB L2 cache, includes a 320GB hard drive, has 4GB of system RAM, and the graphics chip has 512MB of dedicated RAM.
The updated MacBook Air comes in two configurations, each with a 13.3-inch display at 1,280 x 800 pixels, 9400M integrated graphics, and 2GB RAM. The $1,799 version runs at 1.6GHz and includes a 120GB hard drive. The $2,499 version runs at 1.86GHz and uses a 128GB solid state drive.