The Aftermath: Spotlight Turns to Notebooks


After the overall disappoint of Let’s Rock, Apple again took to the stage yesterday announcing pretty much everything which had been rumored previous, but was it really enough to satisfy the market?

I’ll first get down to what was initially announced, and then get into what I personally liked and disliked about the products announced. Then, later on today, Chris will also update this post with his opinion on yesterdays events …

Unlike Let’s Rock, which lets just say didn’t live up to it’s name (or the hype surrounding it), ‘The spotlight turns to notebooks’ event yesterday brought some quite interesting additions – and as this is Apple, the products announced sure looked aesthetically stunning. So what was actually announced?

The event started with Steve and a couple of other high bods, including Jonathan Ive (Senior Vice President of Industrial Design) delving into the history behind building and manufacturing notebooks and how the rest of the market are currently doing this. They explained on stage and in this marketing video, that usually Apple (and others) would build notebooks in parts. The problem being, more parts open risk to more failure. In line with the recent ‘brick‘ rumors that had been circling, Apple announced they are now going to be building their notebooks in an entirely different way to other manufacturers.

They now have the technology to build the chassis of their notebooks out of a singular, solid piece of anodized aluminium, allowing Apple to create the whole keyboard and trackpad support chassis in one continuous piece of aluminium. This is said to be game changing. Not only does it now allow Apple to create notebooks which are theoretically stronger, it also allows them to cut the overall weight of the notebook in half, while still keeping the pieces as durable as possible.

Macbook Pro (Redesign)
Next came the re-design of the Macbook Pro. Following in the footsteps of the iMac introducing glass into the line for the first time, and taking subtle design features of the Macbook Air, I have to say it looks pretty damn hot. Apple have moved all the connectors to one side, and in doing so have moved the power indicator as well, to stop you from having to lift the notebook. Apple have also gone for LED backlight displays. Unlike previous backing lighting display methods, LED is of course, instant on – meaning you don’t have to wait for it – it’s on, permanently, as soon as you open the lid.

The pretty big news however is the addition of a glass trackpad. Apparently working for months upon months to get the texture of the glass prefect for tactile feedback, they’ve scrapped the button, and made the entire surface of the trackpad the button. Supporting multi-button through MacOSX and implementing multi-touch gestures, this is one of those things which looks like it’ll take more than enough time to get used to. One other nice touch was the addition of two of NVIDIA’s new up-coming chipsets, the Ge Force 9400M and 9600M GT. Apple say they included the two to give you the choice. Battery life on the lower end graphics is at 5 hours, while switching out to the 9600M gives you 4 hours – not overly impressive, but are battery life projections ever impressive now-a-days? – Oh, there’s also an SSD option too.

Models

  • $1999
    15.4″ LED Display
    2.4Ghz C2D
    2GB DDR3 RAM
    NVIDIA Graphics 256MB (9400M and 9600M GT)
    250GB HDD
    Super Drive
  • $2499
    15.4″ LED Display
    2.53Ghz C2D
    4GB DDR3 RAM
    NVIDIA Graphics 512MB (9400M and 9600M GT)
    320GB HDD
    Super Drive

Available from yesterday.

Macbook Air (Updates)
No ‘notebook’ event would be without them updating their $1799 offering. Macbook Air. The new NVIDIA graphic chip sets are coming running slightly slower than the one’s in the new Macbook due to ‘heat concerns’, as well as a bump in HHD space from 80 to 120GB, and their SSD option jumped to 128GB. Available in November for $1799 or $2499 respectively.

Cinema Display
If that wasn’t enough, Apple threw in a long awaited re-designed ACD. Also boasting aluminium and glass, LED backlighting and the newly adopted video out format ‘Mini Display Port’. Apple says it will be implementing ‘Mini Display Port’ on everything it ships shortly.

  • 24″ corner-to-corner glass
  • 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution
  • iSight and Mic
  • Stereo Speakers
  • MagSafe Charging Connector
  • 3 Port USB Hub

Available November.


Macbook (Redesign)
Finally came the Macbook. The redesign most people had been waiting for. First though, Apple stated it would keep selling it’s white plastic notebook, but they’ve dropped the entry price from $1099 to $999. The new Macbook basically received everything the Macbook Pro did, as well as the glass trackpad. They stressed that on Monday afternoon, it cost you $1999 to get a metal enclosed, graphically more powerful, and an LED backlit laptop from them, and now the new Macbook is just $1299, making it $700 more affordable.

Models

  • $1299
    13.3″ LED Display
    2.0Ghz C2D
    2GB DDR3 RAM
    NVIDIA Graphics 256MB (9400M)
    160GB HDD
    Super Drive
  • $1599
    13.3″ LED Display
    2.4Ghz C2D
    2GB DDR3 RAM
    NVIDIA Graphics 512MB (9400M and 9600M GT)
    250GB HHD
    Super Drive
    Backlit Keyboard

Available from yesterday.

The event then wrapped up with a marketing video and a question and answers session. Overall, I’m digging these two new notebooks, the design is pretty much flawless (as always) – they’re pretty powerful – hating the fact that Jobs said a ‘Matt’ option was never going to be an option – does Apple not get we use these outside!? Still fairly high priced, but your paying for the design .. blah blah. Much better than Let’s Rock, after saying that, everything announced was rumored in some way or another – I suppose the only ‘real’ surprise was the cinema display, but we’d been waiting for one of those since last July, and after saying all that, I’m not currently in the market for any of the products announced.

Hit the comments to tell us your thoughts.

Images featured in this article are courtesy of Engadget.com