New MacBook Pro, MacBook, and Cinema Display…in Person

By  |  Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Want some beauty shots of Apple’s new products? Sorry, don’t have any–Apple’s Web site is now rife with ‘em, though. What I do have are a few fuzzy photos I took at this morning’s event, plus some hands-on impressions.

One striking thing is that while the naming conventions of MacBook and MacBook Pro live on, the difference in industrial design does not. And even in terms of specs, the differentiation between the two classes of machine is blurry.

Below are both models–that’s the plain MacBook up top–and except for the size and minor differences in proportions, they’re twins. And both, of course, look essentially like portable versions of the current iMac.

So how do they look up close? Good. Steve Jobs was reasonably restrained in his use of the reality distortion field this morning, but the new design is a giant leap beyond the current MacBook Pro (attractive but aging) and MacBook (pleasant but plasticky).

I want to be cautious about expressing opinions about the “unibody” cases based on a very quck hands-on with the new notebooks, but they do feel strong and solid. My MacBook Pro creaks a bit when my palm rests to the right of the touchpad; with luck, that won’t be an issue with a unibody case.

Speaking of the touchpad, which is made of glass and is its own button, with new multi-touch gestures, I didn’t get enough time with it to come to any conclusions–Jason Chen of Gizmodo liked it, though.

I did take a look at the underside of the MacBook Pro–Apple is the only company that makes computers with interesting undersides–and found it to be even simpler and sleeker than that of current MacBooks and MacBook Pros. The design is all-new, with a cover that spans the width of the case:

And here’s the inside of the bay (this is a MacBook).That’s the battery up top and the hard drive below; looks like access to the drive couldn’t be much easier. (It’s not bad with the old MacBook, but you need to loosen some screws and remove a bracket; with the old MacBook Pro, you don’t want to try and remove the drive.)

Here are the sides of both machines, with all ports neatly lined up on the left–they’re the same except that the MacBook (to) lacks FireWire and Express Card. Elegant and basically a good idea, although there are times when the fact that my current MacBook Pro has USB on both sides is an advantage from an accessbility standpoint.

Lastly, here’s the new $899 Cinema Display. It’s not the wacky one you can slide an entire MacBook into that people have wondered about based on Apple patents, but Steve Jobs spoke the truth: It looks like an excellent match for the new machines

And that’s all the photos I have. Lots more coverage of the new Macbooks to come…

 
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    I’ve been telling people about the hard-drive bay on the new Macbook Pro months before today’s reveal. It is a major advantage for consumer to swap out hard-drives if necessary.

    The main thing that I am missing from today announcement is Intel Core 2 Extreme for mobile. Maybe they would include that in the 17-inch version.

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