Apple’s cheapest and sleekest laptops are both due for an upgrade, with the budget-priced MacBook first cab off the rank...
Following last month’s refresh of the entire MacBook Pro
line Apple’s attention seems to be turning towards the rest of its notebook family.
An update for the entry-level MacBook seems on the way, with Vietnamese site Tinhte.com (the same site which recently scored video of the forthcoming fourth-gen iPhone) claiming to have nabbed the new MacBook.
Yes, not just the specs but the entire unit, shiny white retail box and all. If this turns out to be legit then the new MacBook must be imminent.
Two key changes are flagged for Apple’s wallet-friendly laptop. The first is speed bump for the processor, which steps up from the current 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo to a 2.4GHz chip.
Also on the cards is the inclusion of Nvidia’s GeForce 320M graphics chipset – the same as now appears on the 13 inch MacBook Pro – which should simultaneously boost performance and extend battery life.
The MacBook currently sells for US$999 and A$1,299, so it will be interesting to see if Apple keeps the same sticker with the souped-up spec or – as it’s done in recent refreshes – drops the price by yet another hundred dollars.
Things are less certain when it comes to the next edition of MacBook Air. The trend-setting ultraportable has gone almost a year since its last update, but the challenge for Apple is that Intel prohibits the pairing of an Nvidia graphics chipset with its latest Core 2010 processors.
The space constraints of the 13 inch MacBook Pro were cited as a primary reason for that laptop staying on the Core 2 Duo platform, matched with Nvidia GeForce 320M, while its 15 inch and 17 inch siblings shifted up to the Core i5 and Core i7 with Intel’s integrated HD graphics alongside a discrete Nvidia graphics card.
It’s therefore hard to imagine that the slim MacBook Air, which is smaller in every dimension than the 13 inch MacBook Pro – most noticeably in its tapered profile, which at the thickest point is still half a centimetre thinner than the MacBook Pro – could pack in an ultra-low voltage Core processor and
Apple could of course pull some magic out of its hat... or it might have to stick with a slightly faster Core 2 Duo, bump the memory up to 4GB and consider boosting the size of the 128GB SSD (or letting the lower market prices help edge the Air’s price down).