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Tue., Oct. 28, 2008

Apple has completely redesigned the MacBook laptop, the best-selling Macintosh in history.

The new model sports a sturdy aluminum case instead of the old plastic one. It’s 10 percent lighter, at 4.5 pounds, and 12 percent thinner, at 0.95 inch, than its predecessor. And it continues to include a built-in DVD drive.

Its processor is slower, yet it has good performance because of much faster graphics, and it also offers a far brighter screen in the same 13.3-inch size. But it still gets strong battery life — slightly better in fact than the older model.

Plus, the new MacBook includes a huge, innovative glass track pad that functions as a combination of a traditional track pad and the multitouch screen of an iPhone. This track pad allows all sorts of fingertip gestures you can use to navigate Web pages, manipulate photos, and switch among programs.

In another radical step, Apple eliminated the button below the track pad. When you want to perform a mouse click, you just depress the entire track pad. The whole thing is a big button, which can act as either the left or right button on a traditional mouse, and which allows easy, smooth scrolling.

Like all current Macs, the new MacBooks come with Apple’s Leopard operating system, which I consider superior to Windows. But the new MacBooks can run Windows as well.

The cheaper of the two new versions comes with an adequate 160-gigabyte hard disk, though larger disks are available, and two gigabytes of memory.

In normal use, with power-saving on, you could achieve Apple’s claim of five hours of battery life, or come close.

Another upgrade is the external battery indicator. Pressing a small button on the side of the laptop will light a row of eight diodes to tell you how much charge is left in the battery, even if the computer is off. Previous MacBooks had these indicators on the battery, so you had to turn the unit upside down to get a readout.

The cheapest of the new models costs $1,299, $200 more than the cheapest of the old models. Apple will continue to sell the base model of the old MacBook, at $999.

From wire reports


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