Apple (s aapl) must be trying to throw us off with its erratic update schedule. First, it released iPhone OS 3.0 beta 5 only one week after beta 4, and it hasn’t released one since, and now it surreptitiously updates the entry-level white plastic MacBook model like a thief in the night, instead of during Tuesday Apple Store downtime, as is tradition.
Whether Apple just wants to keep us guessing, or the update wasn’t deemed significant enough for the standard procedure and its attendant fanfare, the company did indeed post a slightly upgraded version of its remaining plastic-body notebook early this a.m. Maybe the better internals are a way of increasing the value proposition of its only sub-$1,000 laptop offering as students mull a computer purchase for the fall, or as parents select choice graduation gifts for those who’ve already come through the gauntlet. It becomes an even better deal when you throw in the education discount, which drops the price to $949.
Changes include a new 2.13GHz processor (up from 2.0GHz), 40GB more storage with a 160GB HDD, and faster 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM (vs. 667MHz in the previous version). The new hard drive definitely brings the computer more in line with the times, as does the RAM speed bump, though PC enthusiasts will be quick to point out that these specs still lag far behind comparably priced Windows-laptop offerings. The polycarbonate MacBook also retains the same NVIDIA (s nvda) GeForce 9400M graphics card that is now standard fare among Apple’s lower-priced notebooks and desktops.