Apple Stealthily Updates Laptops

The MacBook family sees architectural gains while the MacBook Pro has the option of a faster CPU.

These things usually happen on Tuesdays, but Apple quietly refreshed its MacBook and MacBook Pro laptop lines Nov. 1. So quietly, in fact, that the company didn't even bother to post a press release about it on its Web site.

The new MacBooks get a significant architectural boost, moving to Intel's "Santa Rosa" platform, which also powers the MacBook Pro. Santa Rosa is a code name Intel used for its latest Centrino component configuration. Compared to the MacBooks offered even Oct. 31, the new models offer a faster 800 MHz system bus and use Intel's GMA X3100 integrated graphics, which should provide a modest performance boost over the previous GMA 950 GPU.

Otherwise, pricing and processor speeds remain the same.

As a result, Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., is offering the new 13-inch MacBooks starting at $1,099 for a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo model with 1 GB of RAM, an 80 GB hard drive and a Combo drive; $1,299 for a 2.2 GHz model that adds a 120 GB hard drive and a SuperDrive; and a black model for $1,499 that bumps the hard drive up to 160 GB.

Apple also is offering a configure-to-order option of a 250 GB hard drive for an additional $225.

The MacBook Pro will see no similar architectural change, but Apple is offering the option of an upgraded 2.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo for an additional $250. Pricing for stock models remains the same, ranging from $1,999 for the 2.2. GHz, 15-inch model to $2,799 for the 2.4 GHz, 17-inch model.

All MacBooks and MacBook Pros will ship with Leopard, the latest release of Apple's Mac OS X operating system.

According to Apple's online store, all models will ship within 24 hours of ordering.

Check out's Desktops & Notebooks Center for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.