Apple unveils new MacBook range

The MacBook Pro is Apple s most powerful laptop
The MacBook Pro is Apple's most powerful laptop.

Apple has unveiled its new range of MacBooks - and their specs are pretty much exactly as predicted.

The improvements start with the way the machines are built: the MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are all now created from a single block of aluminium. The new case, which is the latest innovation from 'Mr iPod' Jonathan Ive, is known as the 'unibody', and makes it possible for Apple to produce thinner, lighter and stronger laptops.

Looking inside the machines, the big news is the inclusion of NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processors across the range. The MacBook Pro also benefits from the addition of the GeForce 9600M GT for even better performance.

The entry-level laptop no longer has FireWire, which could be a concern for computer musicians.

All the MacBooks now have an LED-backlit display that's said to use up to 30% less energy than its predecessor. The rumoured glass multi-touch trackpad has been implemented on the MacBook and MacBook Pro - this also acts as the mouse button (just push and click) and can read additional user gestures.

FireWire absent on entry-level laptop

Prices for the 13-inch MacBook start at $1299/£949 - this gets you a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB RAM and a 160GB hard disk. But notably, Apple's entry-level laptop no longer has a FireWire port, which could be a concern for computer musicians who are thinking of buying one.

A more powerful MacBook - with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB RAM and a 250GB hard disk - can be yours for $1599/£1149.

The most affordable 15-inch MacBook Pro retails for $1999/£1399 and includes a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB RAM and a 250GB hard disk. Pay a bit more - $2499/£1749 - and you'll get a 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB RAM and a 320GB hard disk.

The MacBook Air also comes in two configurations: a 1.6GHz, 2GB RAM 120GB hard disk model that costs $1799/£1299 and a 1.86GHz, 2GB RAM, 128GB solid state drive model that costs $2499/£1799.

All very nice, we're sure you'll agree, but not so radically different from the previous MacBook line. Like many others, MusicRadar would like to see Apple introduce a small, affordable netbook style machine - and we can still dream about that tablet computer - but these will have to wait.