It seems like only yesterday we were in awe over the last generation of MacBooks, which were the very first to debut an aluminum unibody design that made them feel more solid than any other notebooks to date. Apple hasn’t rested on its laurels, though, and less than a year later, the Cupertino outfit has outed yet another batch of even better 13.3-inch and 15-inch MacBooks.
This time around, the big news is in the batteries. Rather than using standard lithium-ion batteries, Apple has switched to lithium-polymer batteries – the same type used in the MacBook Air and even in radio-controlled helicopters, where weight is critical. The change will ratchet battery life up to seven hours from five, and should offer a full 1,000 recharge cycles. But unlike past generations of lithium-ion batteries, they won’t be removable, so travelling battery swappers will have to find a way to deal.
The screens on the new MacBooks, which already stood out for their super LED backlighting in previous models, have also been updated. Now, instead of boasting better brightness, Apple’s claiming they offer 60 percent better color gamut – an important feature for artists, designers and other graphic artists who rely on a notebook screen for color accuracy.
Apple has also responded to the widespread complaints about the lack of FireWire in its last-gen 13.3-inch MacBook by adding a FireWire 800 port to the machine, and for the first time in Apple history, an SD slot in all three sizes (but the 13.3-inch and 15-inch models will lose their ExpressCard slots to make room for it).
Perhaps more exciting than any of these features, in a down economy, Apple has also slashed prices across its entire line. The 13.3-inch MacBook has shed $100 to sell for $1,200, the 15-inch model loses $300 to sell for $1,700, and the 17-incher does the same to sell for $2,500. All three models are available immediately from Apple.