Apple Releases Updated 15″ MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro

Starting off the WWDC announcements of the day was the immediate availability and updating of the 15″ MacBook Pro. With a faster processor, new connectivity, and greater storage, this update will be minor for most people.

Something Lost, Something Gained

In an interesting move, Apple (s aapl) is dropping support for the ExpressCard on this model and instead, replacing it with a built-in SD card slot. ExpressCard was very popular for many travelers, giving flexibility for 3G adapters, additional FireWire ports and other connectivity options. While seeing it leave the 15″ model may be a bummer for some, the inclusion of an SD slot could open up new opportunities for better third-party add-ons. It remains to be seen what the real reason for this move is. (Why SD versus CompactFlash or another competing format?) I have yet to be able to find out if this SD slot supports newer SDHC cards.

More Storage & Battery Life

The new 15″ MacBook Pro supports larger hard drives, including up to 500GB 7200RPM drives. Additionally, the newer models come standard with 4GB of RAM with support for 8GB (like the 17″ model). Also, a new built-in battery similar to the 17″ MacBook Pro, offers seven hours of battery life. This trend may eventually make its way to the new 13″ MacBook Pro at some point as well, considering Apple generally likes to reduce the burden of consumers changing batteries (from a simplicity standpoint).

Processors & Displays

The new models come with processor speeds ranging from 2.53GHz (and 3MB L2 cache) up to 3.06Ghz (and 6MB L2 cache). The new LED-backlit displays offer a 60 percent greater color gamut than the previous models for a richer color experience.

More Attractive Pricing

Perhaps the biggest attractive feature of these new MacBook Pros is more economical pricing. The new MacBook Pro is available today and starts at $1,699, $300 less than before.