Apple's MacBook event this morning was all about, you guessed it, the MacBook. And even though things started out slow, the event built up momentum and soon we were having trouble keeping up with all the news. The MacBook Pro was the real highlight, though a new Apple Cinema Display and MacBook refresh are notable as well. In case you missed our live blog, or merely wanted the highlights, we've got the whole thing distilled down to the essentials for you.
You can find more details, photos, plus the full Live Blog transcript, after the cut.
For starters, the whole "brick" rumor was 100% confirmed. Apple is utilizing a new manufacturing process that uses a laser to carve out the notebook casing from a solid block of aluminum. The MacBook Air was actually made this way, and now the technology is being implemented on the MacBook Pro and MacBook lines. This will make for substantially lighter notebooks, weighing in at just a quarter of a pound!
Next up was the MacBook Pro. Turns out those leaked images we saw right up until the event were real. Notable features include the multitouch glass touchpad with new gesture capabilities. It is also much larger than the current touchpads. The glass LED display is backlit and there will be two NVIDIA graphics cards, including the NVIDIA GeForce 9400 M and the 9600M GT. A $1999 and $2499 version are available starting today.
The MacBook Air is also getting an update with a 120GB HDD, NVIDIA 9400M, 2GB RAM and an optional 128GB SDD. The pricing has not been lowered, but there are more features added to bundle. Both a $1799 and a $2499 version will be available beginning in November.
The Apple Cinema Display was also quite a reveal and it is the $899 mystery item that showed up in Apple retail inventory systems last night. The display is 24-inches and sports a 1920 x 1200 resolution, glass screen, LED backlighting and a display port. This display will be available in November.
Lastly, the MacBook got an upgrade as well. There will be a $1299 and a $1599 version. Both have a 2.0GHz processor, 13.3-inch screen and five hours of battery life, though the cheaper of the two lacks a backlit keyboard.
Live Blog Transcript
08:56 am : Live cast will start in an hour, Apple store is down for updates
09:30 am : Thirty minutes until the Apple MacBook event starts
09:37 am : We're expecting new MacBook and MacBook Pro models, with a switch to NVIDIA graphics hardware rumored and potentially a new entry-level price-point of $800-900
09:38 am : There's also been talk of a new manufacturing process, using laser-guided high pressure waterjets to carve MacBook casings out of solid blocks of aluminum
09:38 am : Shortly after that rumor broke, we began to see leaked photos purporting to be of the upcoming MB and MBP models: http://www.slashgear.com/new-spyshot-shows-off-macbook-pro-1319124/
09:40 am : That's the good news; the slightly less impressive is that Apple may have snipped the FireWire port from the MacBook - casing photos show no space for it, which could leave some media editors and those with FireWire external hard-drives frustrated
09:40 am : Still, the possibility of a glass touchpad with button-press feature
09:41 am : and possibly - though it's a long-shot - a clickthrough-style Synaptics system as seen on the recent BlackBerry Stom smartphone, would certainly sweeten the deal
09:43 am : We're currently at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, San Francisco, inside the lobby, waiting to be taken in for the event
09:44 am : The event itself starts at 10am PST - in around 15 minutes time
09:46 am : We'll also be streaming live footage via Qik. Check out the channel: http://qik.com/android
09:48 am : Catch up with all the last-minute rumors - because 10 minutes is a long time when you're waiting for Steve Jobs - in our rumor-roundup: http://www.slashgear.com/macbook-event-rumor-roundup-live-blogging-to-start-soon-1419135/
09:54 am : Remember, we'll be posting all the major news from this morning's event on the frontpage of SlashGear, where we'd love to hear your comments and opinions
09:55 am : Only five minutes to go until the event is due to start
09:55 am : And we've just been allowed into the hall to take our seats
09:56 am : In contrast to the rock music playing at the last Apple event - which saw the launch of the iPod nano 4G and touch 2G - theres classical music playing
09:58 am : This video is from outside in the queue; remember, you can keep track of any live footage from the Apple event today at http://qik.com/android
09:58 am : Event is about to start - we're being told to turn off cellphones
09:59 am : Lights are dimming
10:00 am : Steve Jobs has taken the stage
10:00 am : He's welcoming everyone, and confirming that the event is all about notebooks
10:01 am : He's going to start with an overview of the Mac
10:01 am : Tim Cook taking the stage to do this
10:01 am : Slide on-screen of the full Mac range - as it stands now, anyway
10:01 am : Apple sold 2.5m Macs in the last reported quarter
10:01 am : Have been growing at twice or three-times the market rate over past few quarterds
10:02 am : That's because they're "superior computers"
10:02 am : "far superior to anything else on the market"
10:03 am : And with those better computers come better software
10:03 am : OS X Leopard, the iLife suite, etc.
10:03 am : Also, compatibility and the advances made in that
10:03 am : Cook mentions Boot Camp and other options like Parallels to let Windows users switch and still use software
10:04 am : Though Steve says Windows on a Mac "sends shivers up my spine"
10:04 am : That got a laugh in the room
10:04 am : He's also blaming Vista as a bad step for Microsoft, and not everything they hoped it would be
10:05 am : In fact Vista is listed as a reason Macs are doing well
10:05 am : Finally, fifth reason is marketing
10:05 am : Particularly the Mac vs. PC adverts
10:05 am : encouraging those disappointed with Vista to switch over to Mac
10:06 am : The ad playing is of Vista as king on a throne, and being banished by the plucky Mac
10:06 am : Currently, they're seeing 400,000 people at Apple retail stores every day
10:07 am : And 50% of the people buying a new Mac are new to the platform
10:07 am : We're seeng a slideshow of different Apple stores around the world
10:07 am : Including the new Sydney and Beijing stores
10:08 am : In fact Macs have outgrown the market for the past four years
10:08 am : Retail marketshare in the US has gone "from single digits to 17.6%"
10:08 am : One out of every three dollars is spent on the Mac
10:09 am : Revenue share is 31.3%
10:09 am : Because Apple focus on "fully featured systems"
10:09 am : Apple has a 39% unit share for computers in education, beating Dell
10:10 am : The number of Macs at major universities has gone from 15% to 50%
10:10 am : Q1 to Q3 sales this year have equalled total 2007 sales already
10:10 am : Steve Jobs back on stage
10:11 am : And Jonathan Ives is with him
10:11 am : They're going to discuss how notebooks are made
10:11 am : "We want to talk about discoveries we've made"
10:12 am : Jony is starting by showing how existing MacBooks are made
10:12 am : They're describing how they will build the new notebooks as "a breakthrough"
10:13 am : One of the current problems is making something thin and light, but also strong
10:13 am : At present, the internal frame is filled with components and then bolted to a pressed baseplate
10:13 am : What you see actually only comprises a small amount of the supporting structure
10:14 am : The palm-rest has its own supporting structure inside
10:14 am : And then there's a "plastic gasket" to joint the two
10:14 am : "We've been looking for a better way, and we think we've found it"
10:15 am : The new process resulted in the casing for the MacBook Air
10:15 am : which wouldn't have been possible using the old process
10:15 am : They changed to carving it from a sold piece of aluminum
10:15 am : "we could make a lighter and stronger part"
10:16 am : [This is probably where the 'Brick' rumor comes from]
10:16 am : The Air is made by first rough-cutting, then making the holes for the key-caps, then anodizing it
10:17 am : Basically they go about it all the other way around - start with a block and remove from it, rather than bolt things together to make a whole
10:18 am : They continually clean up and recylcle what's removed - so they start with 2.5lbs of metal and end up with something weighing a quarter of a pound
10:18 am : Ives is saying the new method has applications beyond the Air
10:18 am : Steve Jobs back on stage
10:18 am : Apple has been talking to NVIDIA
10:18 am : They had a new graphics product, but Apple wanted to know if it could be used in a mobile device
10:19 am : It's the NVIDIA GeForce 9400 M
10:19 am : A single die with both chipset and GPU, the latter of which takes up 70%
10:19 am : Has 16 parallel graphics cores, 54gflops of performance
10:20 am : In fact it's five times faster than current graphics in MacBook Pros, and in the real world that translates to 6x the performance
10:20 am : The existing NVIDIA 8600M in the MBP has only 55% the performance of the NVIDIA GeForce 9400 M
10:21 am : Also have a new multitouch glass touchpad
10:21 am : larger than current trackpads
10:21 am : In fact 39% larger
10:21 am : The whole pad is the button
10:21 am : So no need for a separate button
10:22 am : You can have multiple virtual buttons and new 4-finger gestures through software
10:22 am : The glass has been optimized for "silky smooth travel"
10:23 am : They're demonstrating the gestures on-screen
10:23 am : New way to open Expose and "a great way to app switch
10:23 am : They're introducing the new MacBook Pro
10:23 am : Looks just like the leaked photos
10:24 am : "Glass display, all connectors on one side"
10:24 am : Instant-on LED display
10:24 am : "it's just gorgeous"
10:24 am : Has a mini display-port socket
10:25 am : "Precision aluminum unibody enclosure" using the new manufacture technique
10:25 am : It's also "environmentally responsible"
10:25 am : Built-in iSight and microphone
10:25 am : Magnetic latch replacing the old design
10:25 am : "Sudden motion sensor" for drops and knocks
10:25 am : Keyboard is backlit
10:26 am : They're passing around a shell for the new MBP so people can feel it
10:26 am : 50% of the structural parts
10:27 am : It looks exactly like the casing leak photos
10:27 am : "Hundreds of people have worked for many months on this"
10:28 am : Lights are back down
10:28 am : We can confirm that the casing - at least without anything in it! - feels very sturdy
10:29 am : New MBP will use NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
10:29 am : with optional 9600M GT, that is "state of the art"
10:29 am : In fact, sorry, they're including BOTH cards in the MacBook Pro
10:29 am : You can switch between them
10:30 am : integrated 9600M GT for bettery battery life
10:30 am : 5hrs vs. 4 hours on the 9600 GT
10:30 am : Slot-load drive, magsafe power connector and the battery indicator has moved to the side
10:31 am : It also has Ethernet, firewire 800, two USB and mini display port (which will be standard on all new products)
10:31 am : As well as an ExpressCard slot
10:31 am : Also will have optional SSD
10:31 am : accessible from underneath the battery
10:32 am : The mini-display port can drive any display the old socket could, but it's a fraction of the size
10:32 am : It's smaller than a USB port
10:32 am : Ethernet is gigabit, and there are audio in/out ports
10:32 am : It's 0.95 inches thick, the thinnest MBP yet
10:33 am : Has built-in WiFi N and Bluetooth
10:33 am : Two models - $1999 for 15.4-inch 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB of DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA 9400 and 9600
10:33 am : Then $2499 for a "faster" CPU, double the cache, 4GB RAM, double graphics memory and 320GB HDD
10:34 am : The faster CPU is 2.53GHz
10:34 am : Both use the 15.4-inch LED backlit display
10:34 am : The new models are shipping today
10:35 am : 37% smaller packaging, which helped earn them the EPEAT Gold Award
10:35 am : The MacBook Air gets an upgrade, with a 128GB SSD
10:35 am : (which is an option)
10:35 am : A 120GB HDD as standard, together with the NVIDIA 9400M
10:36 am : It also gets a mini display port
10:36 am : $1799 for the Air with 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo
10:36 am : 2GB RAM and 120GB HDD
10:36 am : Then $2499 for the Air with 1.86GHz CPU and 128GB SSD
10:37 am : They'll be availabel in late november
10:37 am : Also announcing a new Cinema Dispay with LED backlighting
10:37 am : 24-inches, 1920 x 1200 resolution and stereo speakers
10:38 am : MagSafe connector to power your notebook, a USB port and a display port
10:38 am : It'll be $899 in November
10:38 am : Built-in iSight and microphone
10:38 am : Sorry, that's three USB ports, not one
10:38 am : "One more thing"
10:38 am : A new MacBook
10:39 am : The MacBook is the best-selling model "people love them"
10:39 am : Reduced entry price from $1099 to $999
10:39 am : "We've heard that people want want a metal enclosure, faster graphics, and a lot of them want LED backlit displays"
10:40 am : So they're bringing the to the MacBook line - as a new sub-range
10:40 am : like the MB Pro, but smaller
10:40 am : It has a metal enclosure, faster graphics and LED backlight
10:40 am : Same casing design as the new MBP
10:40 am : same glass trackpad
10:40 am : It's basically the smaller casing we saw in the leaked photos
10:41 am : They're calling it the "next generation MacBook"
10:41 am : Uses the NVIDIA 9400M chipset for 5x better graphics performance
10:41 am : Five hours of battery life
10:42 am : 42% smaller packaging, gets the same EPEAT Gold award
10:42 am : Will cost $1299
10:42 am : $700 less than the MacBook Pro
10:42 am : or "$700 more affordable" in Apple-speak
10:43 am : That gets you the 13.3-inch version
10:43 am : with a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and 2GB of RAM
10:43 am : 250GB HDD with backlit keyboard and slot-load drive
10:44 am : Sorry, those specs are for the $1599 version
10:44 am : The cheaper one has a 160GB drive, thought the same CPU
10:44 am : But no backlit keyboard
10:44 am : Shipping today, should be in stores tomorrow
10:45 am : Upgrades include 4GB of RAM, 320GB 5,400rpm HDD, 128GB SSD
10:45 am : as well as DVI, dual-DVI and VGA adaptera
10:45 am : "So we think this will be a huge success"
10:46 am : "Two new notebook families, we're building both in a whole new way"
10:46 am : We're watching a video demo/overview of the new MacBooks
10:46 am : Ive is discussing the aluminum body and manufacturing process again
10:47 am : They're showing the actual manufacturing process in action
10:47 am : Imagine a great long tube of aluminum being butchered into a slender MacBook casing, and you'll get the picture
10:48 am : But you end up with a less-wasteful process (as the chopped-off bits are recycled and used again) together with something thinner, lighter and more robust
10:49 am : Ive is saying "In many ways I think it’s more beautiful internally than it is externally"
10:49 am : They're showing close-ups of the new MacBook Pro, and it looks like it has a gloss-finish display
10:49 am : Some people are going to be very disappointed about that
10:50 am : But the LED-backlit is instant-on, 30% more efficient and has brighter, more intense colors
10:50 am : They're demo'ing Need For Speed on a MBP
10:50 am : The new glass display looks great
10:50 am : Basically looks flush-fitting with the lid
10:51 am : Now showing images of all the separate components that go inside - hard to believe they fit
10:51 am : But we're assuming they do
10:52 am : They're now talking about how their environmental decisions are "the best in the industry"
10:52 am : New trackpad is getting a video demo
10:52 am : Remember, they've binned the separate button, and the whole thing works to 'click'
10:53 am : Okay, now a Q&A session with Jobs and Phil Schiller
10:53 am : Steve's blood pressure is 110/70
10:53 am : and that's all he's going to say about his health today
10:54 am : That got big laughs and applause
10:54 am : They won't be talking about the financial quarter just ending
10:54 am : btw, the demo video will be on the Apple site today
10:54 am : Q: Does Apple have exclusivity on the NVIDIA chip
10:55 am : A: Apple is the first taking it to market, but it's "up to them"
10:55 am : They're saying they'll be using "a lot of their chips", so it could lead to NVIDIA shortages if other manufacturers wanted to use them
10:56 am : Q: There's no Blu-ray or HDMI - why?
10:56 am : A: HDMI is limited in resolution, and for computer use Display Port is the connection of the future
10:56 am : As for Blu-ray, Steve describes it as "a bag of hurt"
10:56 am : When it comes to licencing
10:57 am : "It's great to watch a movie... we're waiting till things settle down and Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace"
10:57 am : They're claimign to have the best HD and TV options in iTunes, anyway
10:57 am : The 17-inch MBP is also being refreshed today
10:58 am : No word on pricing, though
10:58 am : Q: Is the MacBook upgrade going to steal sales from the MBP?
10:59 am : A: Pros buy MBPs, so we're going to see a refresh demand in both spaces
11:00 am : Q: What about size and weight diferences?
11:00 am : A: MacBook goes from 1.08" to 0.95", same as the MacBook Pro. MacBook is 4.5 lbs; MacBook Pro is 5.5 lbs
11:01 am : Q: How should we talk about manufacturing costs and the change in old process to new?
11:01 am : A: They'll talk more soon about it
11:01 am : Q: What about glare on the display? Is a matte option coming?
11:02 am : A: Jobs says "We're going straight glass. A few of our customers prefer matte screens, but a vast majority prefer glass because of brighter colors, etc"
11:02 am : They'll also push more light through the displays with the LED backlight system
11:02 am : And since they're notebook screens you can angle them to avoid glare
11:02 am : (That last one seems a bit of a cop-out)
11:03 am : Q: Are we going to see a netbook?
11:03 am : A: The netbook is a nascent market
11:03 am : It's just getting started,
11:03 am : (Which means not right now)
11:04 am : Q: You've put a lot of work into the multitouch touchpad, do touchscreens not make sense?
11:04 am : A: Steve says "so far it hasn't made a lot of sense to us"
11:04 am : That's apparently it for the event
11:04 am : No more Q&A
11:05 am : Which means it's time to go for some hands-on time with the new machines
11:05 am : We'll have live photos of the new MacBook update and the MacBook Pro on the frontpage of SlashGear as soon as we can!
11:06 am : Thanks for joining us for today's Live Blog, and keep checking http://www.SlashGear.com for all the latest news