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Apple punts batterylicious MacBook Pros

Chops prices, adds SD card slots

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WWDC Apple has slashed MacBook prices and introduced new versions of its 13in and 15in portables, both with beefed-up battery technology to boost plug-less playtime from five to seven hours.

Revealed Monday at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), the two new aluminum unibody machines use the same lithium polymer battery technology introduced with the company's 17in MacBook Pro earlier this year. According to Apple, you can recharge these batteries 1000 times without replacing.

The 13in model starts at $1199/£899, the 15in at $1699/£1299. Like the existing 17in model, both of these new machines are known as MacBook Pros - as opposed to plain old MacBooks. Apple still offers a plastic-encased 13in machine under the MacBook name.

Meanwhile, Apple has also cut prices across the line. The 17in MacBook Pro now starts at $2499/£1849, a $300 drop - despite a faster 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a larger 500GB hard drive. The MacBook Air sells for $1499/£1149 with a 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system, a 120GB hard drive, and Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics and for $1799/£1349 with a 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, a 128GB solid state drive and GeForce 9400M graphics.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller called it "the most affordable [MacBook] lineup" the company has ever offered.

Each MacBook Pro includes an LED-backlit display, a multi-touch trackpad, an illuminated keyboard, an SD/ExpressCard slot and a FireWire 800 port. All are available starting today. ®

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