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13″ MacBook Makes It to the Big Leagues, Turns “Pro”

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Apple (s aapl) announced a slew of hardware updates today, including a number of upgrades to its notebook lineup.

For me, the most notable among these was the upwards shift of the 13-inch aluminum MacBook into the MacBook Pro category, alongside the 15- and 17-inch models, both of which also got their own feature and hardware improvements. The white, plastic polycarbonate MacBook is looking mighty lonely down at the low end of the scale.

Alongside the name change, the 13-inch MacBook Pro (I’m glad I no longer have to specify “unibody” or anything else to distinguish it from the regular white MacBook anymore) gets an SD card slot, up to 8GB (if you’re partial to a $1,000 upgrade) of memory, a max hard drive size of 500GB (or 256GB SSD), and a backlit keyboard, standard.

Also, making a triumphant return, is FireWire thanks to an FW800 port, as is standard for the Pro line of computers. All this at a new entry-level price point of $1,199, which comes standard with a 2.26GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 160GB HDD. Another higher-priced option with a 2.53GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 250GB HDD goes for $1,499.

The price drop, combined with the spec upgrade, makes this one of Apple’s most appealing machines to those of us who are cost-conscious Mac addicts. Add in the inclusion of the same battery tech that was first introduced in the 17-inch MacBook Pro, with a reported battery life of seven hours (likely exaggerated), and I’m sold. If you’re an education customer, you get another $100 off, bringing the total price of the laptop to $1,099 before taxes. Someone’s going shopping later today, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: It’s me.

I’d wait for Snow Leopard to come out in September, but with $29 upgrade pricing, and a $49 family pack (I have three Macs), there’s not really any cause to wait. One might argue that not enough has changed with this upgrade to justify slapping the “Pro” moniker onto the end of the name, but honestly, the company cut the price along with the title rather than raising it, so I’m not complaining. I seriously believe that this is the best value proposition in Apple’s lineup as it stands, especially given that it’s still relatively easy to upgrade RAM and hard disk (compared with the Mac mini) on your own — much cheaper than it would cost to do so with Apple-installed components.

24 Responses to “13″ MacBook Makes It to the Big Leagues, Turns “Pro””

  1. james braselton


  2. For everyone who has the 13″ MacBook this is a total kick in the face. $1399 for the computer I purchased. Now I see if I would have waited only a few months I could have gotten a PRO for close to $200 cheaper!? WTF The average consumer had no idea this was happening. I’m kind of turned off to Mac now, they should at least have some sort of deal for people who have the normal MacBook.

  3. Yeh, it’s a bit disappointing to be owner of MacBook 13″. And now it became Pro with some cool upgrades.

    Apple definitely makes some room for new model of non-pro portable computers. What it would be? Tablet? Netbook? We will see soon…

  4. Joseph

    Hey, I am saving for a new laptop andam thinking of waiting for an update but i don’t know because lok at all the suprises that apple just released what do I do?

  5. With the 13″ aluminum macbook now given the pro title, I do think it’s very possible for a netbook/tablet scenario now. The question is: what will the thing be made of?

    I’m definitely now looking at a 13/15″ macbook instead of a mac mini as my new main machine in the near future.

  6. The upgrade of the 13″ makes the pro line much more coherent. Having said that, it is a bit disappointing how the alum macbook 13″ (which i own) only lasted around 8 months….I guess that makes those who own one a bit special??it’s kind of like a limited edition of the macbook, one that is no longer available in retail.
    I am looking forward to the $29 upgrade to snow leopard in september!
    It is obvious Apple is responding to the recession/economical crisis. Most products they are offering now is the most affordable they have ever been.
    All things considered, the macbook (pro) updates should be well received!

  7. NickATL

    Now all apple has to do is introduce a white macbook with a 10″ screen for around $599-699 and all will be well in the (netbook) world.

  8. Apple finally did what it should have done since the very begining. The “Pro” thing will not even make sense anymore when the White MacBook will go away. Apple released many different hardware settings and gives users a lot more choice. For example, now you can have a 15 inches MacBook without the second graphic card which is expensive and useless in too many cases. This is a really good update which really makes sense. Thanks you, Apple.