This will be a quick one, folks. As you are probably aware, Apple announced new MacBook Pros overnight Tuesday US time.

First the speeds and feeds, then the analysis.

MC374X/A MacBook Pro 13″ 2.4GHz/ 2X2GB/ 250GB/ SuperDrive $1,499 RRP inc
MC375X/A MacBook Pro 13″ 2.66GHz/ 2X2GB/ 320GB/ SuperDrive $1,899 RRP inc

MC371X/A MacBook Pro 15″ 2.4GHZ i5/ 2X2GB/ 320GB/ SuperDrive $2,199 RRP inc
MC372X/A MacBook Pro 15″ 2.53GHz i5/ 2X2GB/ 500GB/ SuperDrive $2,499 RRP inc
MC373X/A MacBook Pro 15″ 2.66GHz i7/ 2X2GB/ 500GB/ SuperDrive $2,798 RRP inc

MC024X/A MacBook Pro 17″ 2.53GHz i5/ 2X2GB/ 500GB/ SuperDrive $2,899 RRP inc

Here’s what we consider the most interesting points-

  • Prices have come down a lot ~$100-400
  • The 13″ machines still run a Core 2 Duo processor rather than the new i3
  • The standard 17″ runs an i5 not an i7, which is a $290 option
  • The machines will auto switch between graphics cards, a first on the Mac platform
  • The 15″ and 17″ both have options for a matte screen, the 15″ matte screen is also higher resolution
  • All machines still ship with crappy 5400 RPM drives- why Apple?
  • You can spend $1499 on a 13″ MacBook Pro, then drop another $2030 just on an upgrade to a 512MB SSD

Discussion- It’s been a while since the 13″ machines were significantly slower than the big brothers. In fact, the speed differences were so small that Apple renamed the machines MacBook Pro….. We can only suspect that something went wrong with the design, and the fallback position was to ship Core 2 Duo machines instead. Something that seems to back that up is the fact that the 13″ machines will ship later than the others.

Also, it seems that Apple really are trying to play in the wider market- they are cutting out features in order to keep the price down. For instance the wholesale difference in price between a 500GB drive with 5400 RPM speed vs the same drive with 7200 RPM speed is about $20-30, and must be even less for Apple. Perhaps they are trying to get you used to ordering a hard drive upgrade with your machine, so maybe you’ll order an Solid State Drive! But enough conspiracy theories.

The upgrade to the matte screen on the 15″ is quite expensive (do you remember when Apple were trying to get rid of matte screens they were a no cost configure-to-order option). But consider this- it’s likely to be a higher quality screen. Apple has a history of using lower quality screen when they can get away with it, particularly on consumer products like iMacs. Don’t believe me? Put a 20″ iMac beside a 24″ iMac from the same series. The 24″ has a visibly better screen! The MacBook Pros (and PowerBooks) used to be flagship, money no object machines. But hey, I like upgrading as much as the next guy, maybe Apple just figured out how to make customers salivate over options just like BMW dealers. But I digress, matte screens are preferred by colour professionals, and this leads me to suspect the upgrade while expensive, might be a good deal.

Interestingly the Core i5 and i7 mobile processors don’t really differ much- the i7 has more turbo boost. See here for a comparison.

But you want good news don’t you? How about this- the Core i5 and i7 processors are awesome fast. This is a major upgrade, and I can’t wait to get my hands on these machines. When are they coming? Official news is 13″ will arrive in 2 weeks, 15″ and 17″ models will be in stock TOMORROW!

SPECIAL OFFER 1- Buy One of these new machines and save $50 off Applecare

SPECIAL OFFER 2- Buy a 24″ Cinema Display and get a FREE iPod Shuffle

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