MacBook gains Core 2 Duo processor

Apple on Wednesday unveiled its revamped MacBook, which is now equipped with the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. The MacBook is available in white 1.83GHz and 2.0GHz models for $1,099 and $1,299 respectively, and a high-end black 2.0GHz model priced at $1,499.

“This was our first consumer [notebook] model to use the Intel chip and its been extremely popular for us,” David Moody, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Mac Product Marketing, told Macworld. “The MacBook has been instrumental in driving Apple’s notebook market to over 10 percent in the U.S.”

Apple said the new MacBooks are up to 25 percent faster than their predecessors in benchmark testing. Looking at the holidays when people will typically take pictures, make movies and update their Web sites, Moody said that iPhoto is 18 percent faster than the previous generation MacBook; iMovie is 20 percent faster; and iWeb is 27 percent faster.

“This MacBook is perfect for the holidays,” said Moody.

While listed as a consumer model and popular in education, the MacBook has garnered quite a bit of attention from business users, as well. In addition to the more compact design, features like the MacBooks video out capabilities have not gone unnoticed.

“The black MacBook in particular has been very popular with professional users and executives that want a small powerful notebook,” said Todd Benjamin, director of Portables, Product Marketing. “It’s great for presenting when you’re with a client.”

The new MacBooks feature 13-inch glossy widescreen displays with 1280 x 800 native resolution, 667MHz front side bus, Intel GMA 950 graphics, built-in iSight video camera, Gigabit Ethernet, built-in AirPort Extreme (IEEE 802.11g) wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 400 port, one audio line in and one audio line out port, mini-DVI display connector; both supporting optical digital and analog, the infrared Apple Remote, and MagSafe power adapter.

The 1.83GHz model features 512MB of RAM, a 60GB hard disk drive and slot-load Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) optical drive; the 2.0GHz models include 1GB of RAM (all MacBooks can be expanded to support up to 2GB of RAM). The white 2.0GHz model also features an 80GB hard disk drive and a 6x SuperDrive with double-layer support. The black model features a 120GB hard disk drive instead.

Update: Added information from interview with Apple executives.

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