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Feature Articles
Biting the Aluminum Apple - New MacBooks!
By Aloysius Low - 21 Oct 2008,12:00am

Finally Here!

Finally Here!

Apple's new line of MacBooks finally makes its way down to our sunny shores and even though it has been a week since they were first announced by Steve Jobs, we're still happy to be able to get some hands-on time with Apple's latest goodies. Unfortunately, we weren't graced with an appearance by the Great One, but Apple did try their best to evoke Job's famous "reality distortion field" effect on us and did partially succeed (as we found ourselves trying to imagine two of the launched but not here just-yet products).

In total, Apple had four new products this time around: the MacBook, the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and the 24-inch LED Cinema Display designed for the new lineup of MacBooks. However, only the MacBook and MacBook Pro were present for some first-hand testing at the event - the newer MacBook Air and LED Cinema Display will only be available in November and thus could not join the party. Lastly, there's also no sign of the 17-inch MacBook Pro, so we'll have to join the rest of the Internet in waiting for more news.

Apple fanboys will probably already know this by heart, so here's a quick recap of the general features of the new notebook lineup:

Unibody enclosure - The new MacBook family have casings made from a single block of aluminum, which gives them a thinner and more durable feel to the unit. It was definitely something we liked so no complains there.

Glass covered LED backlit displays - All the new models will feature LED backlit displays covered by a glass panel which does make the colors on the panel look more vibrant, but we're none too pleased with the glossy reflective surface due to the glass panel.

Glass Multi-Touch trackpad - Apple has done away with the buttons and all the new models will feature a glass multi-touch trackpad that has a really silky feel to it. Great for multi-touching, but you'll need some time to be in-touch with the new swipe gestures (which are pretty cool actually). You'll also probably need some time to get used to the trackpad being one giant button, but it won't be long before you're happily zooming, rotating, swiping and gesturing away with the trackpad.

NVIDIA Integrated Graphics - Instead of using Intel's default integrated graphics solutions, Apple has instead gone with NVIDIA's newest GeForce 9400M as its default integrated graphics solution while also adding on a NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT for its MacBook Pro model. This dual graphics subsystems combination is possible as the new Apple notebooks don't use the Intel system chipset, but rather NVIDIA's GeForce 9400 motherboard-GPU (mGPU) chipset powers the system with a built-in GeForce 9400M-class graphics. Apple claims it's faster and more power friendly, which we'll probably find out when we get out hands on a review unit soon.


As some Apple fanatics may know, the latest MacBook comes with a Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0/2.4GHz processor 2GB DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, 13.3-inch display and a 160/250GB HDD. Available now at S$2088 and S$2588, the more expensive model will also feature an illuminated keyboard found on the MacBook Pro. Note that Apple has done away with the FireWire ports for this model, so if you are one of those heavily reliant on having a FireWire connection - get the older models or the MacBook Pro instead.

MacBook Pro

The Pro option has always been the more expensive version, but with that price, you tend to end up with a much beefier unit - Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4/2.53GHz processor, 2/4GB DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT 256/512MB, 15.4-inch display and 250/320GB HDD. The top of the line model costs $3988, while the lower spec model will retail at a much cheaper S$3188. Note that the illuminated keyboard is a mainstay of both models (unlike the normal MacBook). Also, unlike the older MacBook Pros, this newer one shares the same thickness with the ordinary MacBook at just 2.41cm thin. Yummy.

The illuminated keyboard is subtle and not the in your face "oh look at me, I'm so bright" kind.

MacBook Air

Two versions are also available for the Air, which has been beefed up prior to the older model). The faster Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz model will also feature a 128GB SSD, while the slightly slower Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz model will use a normal 120GB HDD instead. Like the other new MacBooks, both models will be using NVIDIA's GeForce 9400M graphics and will have a 13.3-inch display.

24-inch LED Cinema Display

Designed with the new MacBooks in mind, the LED Cinema Display will allow MacBook users to extend their work space onto a bigger screen and also charge their notebooks at the same time. Looks good, so we'll probably be looking at reviewing this sometime soon!

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