MacBook range: aluminium ‘unibody’, glass trackpad and backlight LED full screen

14 Oct 2008

As always, when Apple makes an announcement it likes to go for the dramatic. In January, we had the almost paper-thin MacBook Air that slipped into an A4 envelope right before our eyes, and now that the netbook has consumers all abuzz, Apple has whizzed past with a new concept and “a new way to build notebooks”. Yes, the new solid aluminium MacBook is here, but this is not all that is new.

“Apple has invented a whole new way of building notebooks from a single block of aluminum. And, just as importantly, they are the industry’s greenest notebooks,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.
“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.”

Gone is the regular multi-touch trackpad of the MacBook Air, which will now be replaced with a larger glass multi-touch – some 39pc larger than before to be exact. This new trackpad will have four new finger gestures and the entire area will act as a button. It will be standard for the entire MacBook range.

As reported on Gizmodo, Jobs demonstrated the multi-touch functionality, using two fingers to pinch, stretch and rotate pictures, three finger touch to slide through the picture galleries and four fingers to switch between desktop applications.

As well as having a complete ‘unibody’ chassis redesign, the MacBook Pro screen has also been given a makeover as an instant-on backlight LED with next-generation graphics (powered by NVIDIA GeForce 9400M) packs some extra punch.

The MacBook Pro, which will come in two flavours – the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M GT and a 9600M GT, which will have battery lives of five and four hours respectively – is shipping today from the Apple store online.

These two models will be priced at €1,799 and €2,499 respectively.

The MacBook Air also got a refresh, now with a 120GB drive instead of the current 80GB, and will be available from mid-November.

But what everyone was waiting to hear was the pricing for the new MacBook: it starts from €949 including VAT for the white MacBook – not a bad price drop, but not the sub-€800 version that has been expected. However, the brand new MacBook will have the aluminium chassis and multi-touch glass trackpad of its big brothers, as well as the backlight LED full screen and next-gen graphics. Unfortunately, it appears that the black MacBook is no more – it’s all about the aluminium now, and this MacBook is priced from €1,119.

By Marie Boran

Pictured: the new MacBook Pro is now shipping