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Apple Upgrades Laptops and Cinema Display



Today Apple announced a significant upgrade to its MacBook and Macbook Pro line of portables, and the MacBook Air received a small features bump. The new MacBook Pro and MacBook look to be inspired by the sleek aluminum exterior and lighter design of the original MacBook Air. New graphics cards, courtesy of NVIDIA are now seen across the portable line, and glossy screens appear to be the new Apple standard. The graphics cards should help anyone doing graphics-intensive work (or play) -- photo editing, video editing, art design, and gaming will take advantage of these upgrades. Apple also upgraded the Cinema Display. Read on for details and our reaction to the upgrades.

MacBook Pro

Apple's MacBook Pro has finally seen a visual update -- the old MacBook Pros still looked much like the obsolete PowerBook G4 from years ago. The new Pro (starting at $1999) comes with a fully redesigned keyboard as well as a significantly larger glass touchpad, which also has MultiTouch capability. This will allow you to input commands like zooming and panning just like you do on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Apple has also removed the mouse button, and now the entire touchpad functions as a single button. We're definitely interested in seeing how well this works with day-to-day use. The case itself is a bit slimmer than the old 15-inch, and it weighs in around 5.5 pounds, which is slightly heavier than the old MacBook Pros. For in-depth stats and a hands-on, head on over to Engadget.


MacBook

The metallic cases traditionally seen only in Pro models have now come to the MacBook. The new 13.3-inch aluminum MacBook also comes equipped with the same glass touchpad seen on the MacBook Pro and many of the same visual stylings. The base model starts at $1299, and you get a significantly more powerful (than the plastic MacBooks) laptop, and it's also a half pound lighter. Apple claims five hours of battery life, though this tends to vary in real world use. The current plastic MacBooks also got a price cut to $999.

Engadget has the hands-on and details.


MacBook Air

Apple didn't massively upgrade the original MacBook Air, though it's now outfitted with an improved graphics system and larger hard drive options, as well as a new display port option, which means you can finally plug this thing into a larger monitor. Price for the base model is still $1799. Head on over to Engadget for the tech specs and details.


Apple LED Cinema Displays

Apple also finally updated the Cinema Display, specifically the 24-inch model. The new glossy monitor comes with a built-in iSight camera and speaker system and what seems to be the now-standard black monitor frame. While it's great that Apple finally upgraded the aging Cinema Displays with an iSight camera, speakers, and a handy laptop charging cable, we're disappointed that the screen is only available with a glossy finish and that Apple removed the additional firewire ports which are currently on the 20- and 30-inch models.


Is it time to replace your existing Mac or switch to Mac?


If you're looking to move on from your current aging MacBook Pro or a less-powerful MacBook, then right now seems to be a great time to upgrade. If you've already got a MacBook Air, it's probably not worth upgrading -- sure the increased hard drive space is nice, but you can always buy an external drive. Oddly, the 17-inch version of the MacBook Pro wasn't given the visual makeover, but did get improved tech specs -- we'll be waiting to see in the coming months to see if Apple gives it the makeover. The entry-level MacBook Pro will retail for $1999, and $500 more gets you a faster processor, more RAM, and a larger internal hard drive. The significant speed and design improvements make the new Mac Book and MacBook Pros worthwhile investments, even for owners of recent models. If you're contemplating switching to Mac, (whether it's the MacBook Pro, MacBook, or MacBook Air) now is a great time.


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