Apple introduces 17-inch MacBook Pro

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Apple on Monday introduced the 17-inch version of its Intel-powered MacBook Pro. The new laptop computer will start shipping next week for $2,799.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo processor. It has a 667MHz front side bus (FSB) and 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM expandable to 2GB.

The new large screen-equipped MacBook Pro makes its debut during this week’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. David Moody, Apple’s vice president of worldwide Mac product marketing, told Macworld that the 17-inch laptop is a good fit for the pro video market.

Like the 15-inch MacBook Pro, the 17-inch model features a built-in iSight video camera and Apple’s vaunted MagSafe Power Adapter, which disconnects from the notebook when there is strain on the power cord. It also includes Apple’s Sudden Motion Sensor, which protects the hard drive in case the laptop is dropped.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro features a display that’s 36 percent brighter than before — 300 cd/m2 brightness, according to Apple. It uses ATI’s Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics chip with 256MB of dedicated GDDR3 graphics memory. The laptop also includes an illuminated keyboard with ambient light sensor.

The MacBook Pro weighs 6.8 pounds and is one inch tall when the screen is closed. Apple claims the MacBook Pro is up to five times as fast as its PowerBook G4 predecessor, and uses RAM that’s twice as fast as the PowerBook G4.

With 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros replacing their PowerBook equivalents, Mac users have begun to wonder about the fate of the 12-inch PowerBook G4. Moody would not comment, citing Apple’s policy to not discuss unannounced products.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro touts a Scrolling Trackpad, FireWire 800 and FireWire 400 ports, three USB 2.0 ports, optical and digital audio input and output, Gigabit Ethernet, ExpressCard/34 expansion slot, dual-link Digital Visual Interface (DVI) for connecting an external monitor (including Apple’s 30-inch Cinema HD Display), built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) and integrated AirPort Extreme 54 Mbps wireless networking.

Moody explained that FireWire 800 and the faster dual-layer drive — features missing from the 15-inch MacBook Pro introduced in January — were possible thanks to the use of different technology in the 17-inch model.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro comes with iLife ‘06 and the latest version of Tiger.

The $2,799 laptop comes with 1GB of RAM, 120GB Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive and 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support. Additional build-to-order options include 100GB hard drive, up to 2GB RAM, Apple USB modem and AppleCare.

Updated April 24, 2006 1:01 PM: Added comments from Apple VP David Moody.

This story, "Apple introduces 17-inch MacBook Pro" was originally published by PCWorld.

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