They didn’t cry it from the mountain, but Apple this week did indeed update some hardware. Specifically, the 13-inch white MacBook, a holdover from previous models, now ships with the same NVIDIA GeForce 9400M of its bigger, aluminum unibody siblings. Not only that, but it also gets a processor bump up to the 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 1,066MHz frontside bus that’s found in the next model up, and a boost in the base ram up to 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 instead of just one.
Since Apple upgraded the optical drive to an 8x SuperDrive when they originally refreshed the line, the entry-level white MacBook now packs a lot more bang for your buck compared to older models, especially considering the unchanged, $999 price tag. It does still come standard with a 120GB hard drive, which is what you’ll see on a lot of netbooks if you don’t opt for SSD, but a DIY upgrade to a 320GB drive won’t set you back much more than $100, so it doesn’t detract much from the overall value.
Two things that remain in the white MacBook that people may be happy about are the FireWire 400 and Mini-DVI ports. Many users complained about the lack of FireWire in the new aluminum unibody line. The cable standard is useful in transfers that require a steady transfer speed, as from a video camera. Buyers wanting to updgrade from their existing plastic case MacBook will appreciate the use of Mini-DVI, as well, since they won’t have to pay $40 each for new display adapters.
Apple’s decision to upgrade the white MacBook may be related to the difficult selling market, representing a desire to offer consumers a better value proposition. It might also be that they actually listened to the excessive groaning at the launch of the new MacBooks and are trying to reach out to customers who weren’t thrilled about some of the changes. Either way, it’s a good move, and a good deal for those who were holding out for something more affordable.