Apple MacBook laptop range updatedClaims of 'industry's greenest notebook'

15 October 2008

The new range of Apple MacBooks

Apple revealed its updated notebooks – the MacBook and higher-end MacBook Pro – saying they are crafted from a single block of aluminum. 

The result is a thinner, more durable and design-centric notebook, says the company.

The MacBook family all sport faster Nvidia 3D graphics, instant-on LED-backlit displays, and a glass trackpad that supports multi-touch in the same way as Apple's popular iPhone 3G. 

Apple says the glass trackpads offer 40% more tracking area than previous models, and offer more support for multi-touch actions.

Multi-touch trackpad

New multi-touch gestures include the ability to switch between applications at the touch of a fingertip, as well as the ability to pinch, rotate and swipe objects on the screen. The trackpad operates as a single button, says Apple, allowing users to track and click anywhere in the pad.

The company also acknowledged the impact of the credit crunch – in a dramatic move, it lowered the notebook prices by up to $700 – around £350, although the starting price for the MacBook range in the UK has increased by £20 to £719, up from £699.

Apple's new range of MacBooks

The release saw the company gamble on a new design for its iconic notebook range.

New MacBook has 'unibody'

'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 aluminum, making the new MacBook fundamentally thinner, stronger and more robust with a fit and finish that we've never even dreamed of before.'

The LED-backlit display uses 30% less energy than previous models, and eliminates mercury found in industry standard fluorescent tube lights. 

A glass cover provides a seamless surface edge-to-edge across the screen. Other green claims about the new range include eliminating brominated flame retardants, and using PVC-free internal cables and components, according to Apple.

Nvidia 3D graphics

Apple's consumer MacBook range is priced from £719. Less than an inch thick, the 13-inch screen MacBook includes Nvidia 3D graphics for faster gaming, a 2GHz processor, and 160GB hard drive. A second model boosts the processor to 2.4GHz and the hard drive to 250GB.

Apple's new range of MacBooks

Apple's professional MacBook Pro range is priced from £1,399. Available in both 15-inch and 17-inch versions, it supports processor speeds up to 2.8GHz and up to 320GB of hard disk storage.

The MacBook Air laptop – Apple's ultra-thin notebook – gained a new graphics chip to boost 3D applications, and twice as much hard drive space. 

It costs from £1,299, and will be available from November, according to Apple. The MacBook notebooks are shipping now.

Environmental claims

'The new Apple MacBook notebook computers certainly up the ante when it comes to environmental claims,' says Which? technology editor Matthew Bath. 

'But the new design and more power will also capture consumers' imaginations. We'll be giving these a full, in-depth test as soon as they are available.'

For our latest laptop test results see our laptops review.

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