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Apple Shows Off New Laptops

Mike Musgrove

Apple revamped its laptop line this morning, just in time to take advantage of what is usually the computer industry's busiest time of year.

The company's least expensive laptop, the white plastic MacBook, now costs $999 -- down from $1,099, the company announced at an event thrown at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

On the higher end of its lineup, new MacBook Pros are priced at $1,999 and $2,499. That's the same price as they were before, but the new models come with a larger hard drive and more memory. Both are shipping today and should be available in stores starting tomorrow, said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs.

Echoing one of the iPhone's nifty features, users of some of the company's new laptops will be able to spread out their fingers on the laptops to zoom in on, say, a photograph.

After years of single-digit marketshare in the home computer market, Apple's marketshare is up to 17.6 percent. Jobs credited everything from Apple's marketing to the performance of Microsoft's Vista operating system for its increased popularity among consumers.

Jobs acknowledged that some would-be Mac buyers have resisted buying Apple's computers because of a fear of not being able to use software designed for Windows computers. But that's an issue of the past, thanks to the fact that newer, Intel-chip-using Macs can run Windows, Jobs said, even though "frankly this sends a shiver up my spine."

Apple is so proud of the production process for its new laptop that it even treated attendees to a mini-documentary about how the new laptops are created. Apple says it has come up with a new way to build lightweight but sturdy notebooks. "In many ways I think it's more beautiful internally than it is externally," said one executive in the video, according to one blogger.

A few techy notes: The new laptops won't feature an HDMI cable connection, by the way, and the company said it is going to continue to wait for Blu-ray to catch on in the market before it supports that video playback technology.

As a jokey reference to the ongoing concerns about Steve Jobs' health, the presentation featured a slide of Jobs blood pressure level at the beginning of a Q&A session: "110/70."

By Mike Musgrove  |  October 14, 2008; 2:30 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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I can't confirm anywhere that Apple market share is up to 17.6%

Posted by: elliot | October 14, 2008 2:58 PM

But I heard they're only making glossy screens now. Don't they realize the glossy screens show every bit of dirt and fingerprints? I much prefer the matte screen - easier on the eyes, too.

Looking for a less expensive macbook? Check out the refurbished macs in the online Apple Store (bottom left of screen). They may be last generation, but they're still better than "the other guys".

Posted by: MacForever | October 14, 2008 3:08 PM

Seriously, the high gloss monitor/tv screen craze is killing me. Why don't they just call them "high glare" screens that show dirt and fingerprints, as you say. Way to go Apple, just as I was hoping people would start getting back to the matte screens.

Posted by: Jared | October 14, 2008 3:14 PM

I like the glossy screens. They're very sharp and bright. And, it can be easily tilted if you encounter glare. I thought I missed the matte screens until the other day when I had to borrow a laptop with the matte screen. After using my current MacBook for a couple of years, I realized how dull and muddy the matte screens were in comparison.

The new MacBooks look awesome. The aluminum case is gorgeous. I may give my older, plastic model to my wife and purchase this new model.

Posted by: Ted | October 14, 2008 3:21 PM

Ted, I think your wife is very lucky to have a great husband like you. Did you give her your used car too?

Posted by: JaneMac | October 14, 2008 3:49 PM

Come on, man, you missed one of the most important improvement: MUCH IMPROVED GRAPHICS CARD. The bus and memory speed has also been increased and there are numerous small improvements such as the LED backlight as well.
And how about mentioning the mini-display if you're going to mention HDMI? HDMI couldn't drive their high-end displays anyways.

Posted by: anon | October 14, 2008 4:16 PM

By the way, if they removed keys on the track pad, how do you right click ?

Posted by: sr | October 14, 2008 4:40 PM

"...resisted buying Apple's computers because of a fear of not being able to use software..."

Software is not the reason I resist buying Apple's computers. I resist because of the gigantic price tag for something that's essentially a pretty PC.

Posted by: Zap B. | October 14, 2008 4:47 PM

Typical Apple announcement -- all hat and no cattle. They'll get the fanboy market but they're way overpriced (like most Apple products) to capture much corporate mindshare.

But that case is wAy c0ol!!!1!1!!

Posted by: Yawn | October 14, 2008 4:47 PM

Ha-ha! Hi Jane - no, actually she drives the better car... I drive an old 2003 Civic hybrid. Computers, to her, are not a priority as they are with me, and she actually has a new iMac. But, since I've stepped out of the RDF, I may just hold on to my old 1st Gen MacBook awhile longer. I'm not sure I can live without FireWire.

Posted by: Ted | October 14, 2008 5:17 PM

sr - I assume that to right-click the user will merely hold down two fingers on the trackpad and then push down, similar to how they currently hold down two fingers on the trackpad and then click the button.

Posted by: PK | October 14, 2008 6:06 PM

Macs now equal YAWN!! Wake me up when they get cheaper.

Posted by: BoredToBeMacs | October 14, 2008 8:41 PM

Way overpriced, they could easily drop $200-$300 off each of the new product line up and they still are very expensive. I just do not get it, would it not be worth it in the long run to ship more units and gain market share. Kind of the word of mouth effect. Not impressed at all by todays announcement. I am on a Macbook right now but will look to a Vista based notebook at $800 and get more of everything, in the future. I'll be rooting for the Windows guy in the commercial from here on in.

Posted by: JPK | October 14, 2008 9:57 PM

Very nice. I like the keyboard although miss the apple symbol instead of command. Unfortunately the current Macbook I have is working too well ;) so i cant justify another.

The mac vs pc and price debates are pointless
If you like Macs and can avoid it buy one. if you like pcs and can afford it buy one. or you could get a loan ( what! too soon?)

Re right click my guess is that its a one finger tap while holding done the control key as per current one button macbooks but i like the other way suggested so I hope thats true too.

Posted by: kell | October 14, 2008 10:20 PM

I've been thinking of replacing my current used Mac (My third straight used Mac; I used the other two until the screen fell off one and the case finally deteriorated from one too many drops on the other; well over 5 years old for each -- current is G4 w/ 1.67PPC/1.5G RAM/93G HDD) with an actual new one.

BTW, this isn't new: "Echoing one of the iPhone's nifty features, users of some of the company's new laptops will be able to spread out their fingers on the laptops to zoom in on, say, a photograph." The MBA has done this since its release in February. I know because it was my V day gift to my wife.

Posted by: Used Mac User | October 14, 2008 11:04 PM

sr - Macs are perfectly compatible with multi-button mice. However, neither the MacBook nor Pro nor its PowerBook predecessor had left and right clicks. You control-click.

JaneMac - we've got a similar deal going in my house. My wife gets a new mac (a Mac Book at the moment) and I get her last one (a 12" PowerBook). Don't judge until you know the situation. In our case, she's a free lancer and her computers are deductible, mine aren't.


Posted by: Fairlington blade | October 14, 2008 11:10 PM

Also, re high gloss screens: You can order them with the old matte screen for a little more money.

Posted by: Used Mac User | October 14, 2008 11:19 PM

Not sure why they are dropping the firewire port on the new Macs.

I've been holding off for this announcement, and I'm a bit disappointed that to get a truly "new" Mac, I have to pay even more.

Well, there's always Linux based systems.

Posted by: Fluxgirl | October 14, 2008 11:26 PM

Macs are the Ferrari of computers. Yes, you can buy a wonderful plastic computer designed by engineers, or you can buy a product that has passion in every ounce of its design, quality and service, from the hardware to the software (that rarely if ever crashes I might add). To build a laptop case from a single piece of Aluminum is a major task. CONGRATS APPLE!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 15, 2008 2:09 AM

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