Apple MacBook Pro 13in June 2009 release
Apple finally notices there's a recession
Review Apple has always kept a clear dividing line between consumer products for home and education users, and more expensive professional models offering higher performance and additional features. And, until quite recently, its laptop range had stuck rigidly to that formula.
Apple's MacBook Pro 13in
However, Apple muddied the waters last October when it unveiled a completely redesigned version of the MacBook that boasted a new aluminium ‘unibody’ design that made it look much more like the MacBook Pro. The new design was extremely attractive, but it also came with a hefty price hike that took the starting point to just under £1000.
Apple somewhat grudgingly acknowledged that it probably wasn’t a good idea to hit its customers with such a big price rise right in the middle of a global financial apocalypse. So it quietly kept one of the old white plastic MacBook models on sale as well in order to appease the price-sensitive education market that is so important to Apple.
So where did that leave unibody MacBook? It was a lot more expensive than the White MacBook that was still on the shelves, yet it lacked features such as the high-speed Firewire interface that justified the higher price of the MacBook Pro. It was, as our old granny used to say, neither one thing nor t’other.
A rethink was clearly in order and, as a result, the unibody MacBook has now been promoted to the rank of MacBook Pro, making it the first 13in model to carry that name. That move also maintains the recently updated white plastic MacBook to its position as the model for home users and students.
The MacBook Pro is actually thinner than the 13in MacBook
There are two versions of the 13in MacBook Pro available, starting at £899 for a model with 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, and 160GB hard disk. That compares to £949 for its predecessor, which ran at 2.0GHz. There’s also a 2.53GHz model that we test here, which costs £1149.
I've got one of these
And it's bloody awesome. I was originally looking at the 15" Pro model, but then the 13" came out- more portable, and cheap enough that I could afford to buy an external (22") monitor with the money I saved. So, even better on the desk and even better on the road. Thumbs up.
Also, I bought the base model (2GB RAM, 160GB HDD) then upgraded them to 4GB and 500GB 7200rpm with stuff I bought separately- far, far cheaper and really not very difficult to do once you get the right ruddy screwdriver to get into the thing.
Edward above is right- it comes with a mini Display Port, so you need an adapter to connect to DVI. But the old ones needed a mini-DVI to DVI adapter anyway, I've still never seen a monitor with an actual mini-DVI connection...
...based almost exclusively on hardware - the least relevant part of the system. It appears in not falling for Apple's slick marketing, the register has fallen for Microsofts!
Upgrades still overpriced
Apple still ream you if you want to Upgrade the memory or hard drive
A 250 GB hard drive can't be more than £10 more
Luckily these parts are still classed as user upgradable , even though you have to take the whole back off to get at them
"..but I can get a laptop from xxxx for £yyyy, with the same hardware.."
Rising to this one. Dell Studio 15, HP Pavilion dv3t and Toshiba Satellite U500 can all be bought cheaper than this, with similar or greater specs. There's even an option to specify a better battery.
In fact, it's hard to find a MacBook or MacBook Pro that competes solely on price and performance. I know, I've been looking.
But that's not the only selling points of the Mac, is it?
And why on earth can't other laptop makers respond?
While I am partial about the built-in battery, the return of FireWire gets this model back into purchase territory. I was mighty miffed that there suddenly was nothing decent to replace the 12" G4 once it bites the dust, and I was not alone. The Macbook is fine if you're on a budget, but if it is your main machine and actually gets handled a lot, you will always appreciate the Pro line.