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A closer look: Apple upgrades laptops and adds 13-inch MacBook Pro

June 8, 2009 |  7:20 pm
Macbook-pro
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro. Credit: Apple

San Francisco -- Apple's laptop computers got a lot more professional today.

The company showed off its updated line of MacBooks at the Worldwide Developers Conference that included a new 13-inch Pro model. Of course, the new Pro is really just the old MacBook with a few but important new features crammed in.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro has the same design as the current 13-inch MacBooks with their "unibody" casing made from a single sheet of aluminum, but with an SD memory card slot and a FireWire high-speed connection, bringing it in line with the upgraded 15-inch MacBook Pros that were also presented at Moscone Center today.

Perhaps the most enticing addition for portable users is the new lithium-polymer battery in the Pro models, which runs for seven hours -- two hours more than the previous MacBook Pro.

Add to that the ...

... high-speed processor and Nvidia graphics chip, and the white, plastic MacBook begins to look pretty stale.

Apple offers custom builds of all of its computers, and the MacBooks are no exception. If you so choose, these new models can cram in some really high-tech stuff, including a massive 500-gigabyte hard drive and a whopping 8 gigabytes of RAM -- all without increasing the thickness of the machine. It will, however, decrease the thickness of your wallet.

But for most users, the standard configurations should pack plenty of power. The 13-inch MacBook Pro costs $1,199 for the 2.26-gigahertz version, and the 15-inch laptop is $1,699 for the 2.53-gigahertz model. The super-powered 17-inch computer received an upgrade, too, and a $300 price drop -- to $2,499.

Apple also announced upgrades to its MacBook Air, the less popular, ultra-thin laptop that doesn't include a DVD drive. No, the company didn't add a disc reader, but it did drop the price to $1,499 for the 1.86-gigahertz version.

-- Mark Milian

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