Apple unveils 2.0GHz MacBook

Apple on Tuesday unveiled its much-anticipated MacBook, the company’s replacement for the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook. Featuring the Intel Core Duo processor and a new 13-inch glossy widescreen display, Apple says the MacBook is up to five times as fast as the iBook it replaces and four times faster than the 12-inch PowerBook.

“We have now completed our portable transition and we’re incredibly excited about the new MacBook,” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, told Macworld. “The core duo provides an incredible power boost to the MacBook that customers are going to love.”

The new MacBook is available in three configurations that range in price from $1,099 to $1,499. Apple is offering a 1.83GHz and 2.0GHz MacBook in a newly designed white enclosure and a 2.0GHz MacBook in a new black enclosure. The MacBook models are already shipping; Macworld has a first look at the new Apple laptops.

“Most exciting to a lot of our customers will be the special model we made with a black finish,” said Schiller. “The black is extra special — we designed this for our customers coming from the PowerBook and iBook.”

The MacBook also comes with a 13-inch glossy widescreen display, which is 79 percent brighter than the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook, according to Apple. At a resolution of 1280 x 800, the MacBook display provides 30 percent more viewing area than the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook.

Glossy displays have been available in notebooks from other manufacturers for some time, but this is the first Apple notebook to include it as a feature. According to Apple, with good reason.

“People have done glossy displays in the past, but it is only now that the quality is at a level that we are happy to put in our products,” said Schiller. “We left it out because the color changing just wasn’t acceptable to us.”

While not on the MacBook Pros by default, the glossy display is available to those customers as a free option. “Our Pro users are used to the anti-glare display on the MacBook Pro and we didn’t want to switch that on them,” said Schiller.

The MacBook comes with many of the same features as the MacBook Pro including a built-in iSight video camera, Apple’s MagSafe Power Adapter, Front Row, Apple Remote, DVI with dual display support (up to 23-inch), optical digital audio input and output, Gigabit Ethernet, Sudden Motion Sensor and a Scrolling TrackPad.

The release of the MacBook shows a slightly different portable strategy for Apple. The PowerBook and iBook products had very clear and distinct lines that separated the notebooks in features and size. The new MacBook and MacBook Pros share many more features and feel like one product line.

“Nobody should feel like they have to step down when you buy a MacBook,” said Schiller. “You don’t trade-off much in features between the MacBook and the MacBook Pro.”

The MacBook will also include other features like built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 400 port, a slot-load Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) on the low-end and a slot-load SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW) on the high-end.

“The iBook was always a big seller for us, so it was important to come out with a MacBook that blew it away,” said Schiller.

Update: Added more information about the MacBook and updated the story with comments from an interview with Phil Schiller.

Subscribe to the MacWeek Newsletter

Comments