Rumor had it that Apple was going to unveil a new sub-$1,000 laptop nicknamed the “Brick” or “iBrick” at Tuesday’s MacBook press conference in Cupertino, Calif., but alas it was just that: a rumor.
Here’s a look at the new MacBook lineup: The white plastic MacBook, which now features an 8x SuperDrive, is the cheapest at $999. For around $300 more, you can upgrade to an aluminum casing similar to that of the higher-end MacBook Pro and get a few additional bells and whistles to boot (see below).
Why “brick”? It’s a reference to the fact that the case of the new aluminum MacBooks is essentially formed from a single piece of metal. If you’re familiar with the MacBook Air, then you’ve seen how sleek and smooth that super-slim laptop’s exterior looks and feels.
A few other qualities that all of the new notebooks share:
- A chip that will make graphics run about five times faster
- An LED-backlit glass screen display that uses less energy and makes colors appear more vibrant.
- A “Mini Display Port,” which sounds super fancy, but in reality is simply an outlet where you attach compatible displays to your laptop to, say, work on a bigger screen.
- A multi-touch glass trackpad with — get this — no actual button because the entire trackpad IS the button. According to an Apple press release, the trackpad “gives users almost 40 percent more tracking area than before, making it even easier to use Multi-Touch gestures like pinch, rotate and swipe.” Sounds like a cutting-edge feature that will take some getting used to.
Below, a breakdown of key features of the new models:
- Shipping: today, should be in stores by tomorrow
- Display size: 13.3-inch
- Thickness: .95 inches, just like the Pro
- Battery life: 5 hours
- Weighs: 4.5 pounds (half a pound lighter than previous versions)
- Price: $1,299 for 2GHz Core 2 Duo (“That’s $700 more affordable for these Pro features,” Steve Jobs noted durng his spiel), and $1,599 for 4GB RAM, 320GB HD
- Shipping: today and will be in stores tomorrow
- Display size: 15.4 inches
- Thickness: a compact .95 inches (“The thinnest ever”)
- Weighs: 5.5 pounds
- Price: $1,999, but $2,499 will you get a much faster system with 4GB RAM, double graphics memory, and a 320GB hard drive.
OTHER APPLE UPDATES ANNOUNCED
- The MacBook Air‘s entry price will be $1,799, and the new model (which ships in November) will be available with a 120GB 4200 rpm hard drive, meaning it’s now about 50 percent faster than earlier models, or a new 128GB solid state drive.
- A 24-inch Cinema Display monitor was added to Apple’s lineup and includes LED backlighting and built-in iSight. It’s priced at $899 and will be for sale in November.
So there you have it, PopWatchers: the newest must-have computers for the holiday season. Or not. What do you think of the new metal machines? Will you buy one (for yourself or as a gift)?