Apple Updates MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Introduces iPad-Like MacBook

At its Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple introduced laptops influenced by the iPad with new Intel and Nvidia technologies. A super-thin next-generation MacBook, says Apple, is the best notebook it’s ever made.

Apple€™s Worldwide Developer Conference kicked off with a number of device introductions, including updates to its MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lineups, as well as an iPad-like, next-generation laptop that Apple€”in a move as awkward as deciding to call the third-generation iPad €œthe Pad,€ instead of the iPad 3€”is calling the €œthe next-generation MacBook."

The latter€”the most fun of these notebook announcements€”is as thin as the MacBook Air, at 0.71 inches. In building it, Apple executives said they figured out how to eliminate the need for a separate glass cover. It weighs 4.46 pounds and features a 15.4-inch display that, like that newest iPad, is a Retina display with a resolution of 2880 by 1800 pixels. It€™s the world€™s highest-resolution notebook, according to Apple.

€œThe pixels are so small that your retina cannot discern them,€ Apple€™s Phil Schiller told the WWDC crowd, according to the live blog from The Verge.

It gets seven hours of battery life and boasts a 2.3GHz quad-core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GT650M 1GB graphics chip and 256GB of flash storage.

A very excited Nvidia blogged: €œBased on the next-generation Nvidia Kepler graphics architecture, the GeForce GT 650M offers unprecedented performance and extreme energy efficiency, giving it the muscle to process the 5,184,000 pixels in the next-gen MacBook Pro€™s ultra high-resolution display. The GeForce GT 650M is not only up to the task, it maximizes power efficiency along the way.€

The next-gen MacBook Pro also features an HD Facetime, dual microphones and what Apple says are the best stereo speakers it has ever put into a notebook. It€™s also highly recyclable, is PVC-free, BFR-free, arsenic free, has mercury-free glass and an Energy Star 5.2 rating.

The above is priced at $2,199, while a version featuring a 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and 512GB of flash memory is priced at $2,799. Both begin shipping today, June 11.

The updated MacBook Air lineup€”like so many Ultrabooks€”now has Intel third-generation Core processors, known as Ivy Bridge. These have been paired with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of flash storage. The Facetime camera has been upgraded to a 720p model, and the Airs now have ports on either side that support both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 technology.

The 11-inch MacBook Air features a 1366 by 768 display, a 1.75GHz dual-core i5, 4GB of RAM, an Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip and five hours of battery life. A version with 64GB of flash storage has been priced at $999, while a version with 128GB of storage is $1,099. Both measure 0.11-inch thin, weigh 2.38 pounds and are now available.

The 13-inch Airs, with 128GB or 256GB of flash storage, are priced at $1,199 and $1,499, respectively. Also now available, they measure 0.11 inch thin, weigh 2.96 pounds and deliver seven hours of battery life.

Apple€™s, err, traditional MacBooks have been outfitted with 60 percent faster graphics, thanks to Nvidia's new Kepler architecture, up to 8GB of 1,600MHz memory and up to 2.7GHz quad-core i7 processors. The USB ports here, too, are friendly to 2.0 and 3.0 technology.

A 13-inch MacBook Pro with a resolution of 1280 by 800, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard-disk drive (HDD), Intel HD Graphics 4000 and seven hours of battery life is priced at $1,199. A version with the same display and graphics but a 2.9GH dual-core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 750GB HDD is priced at $1,499. Both measure 0.95 inches thin and weigh 4.5 pounds.

With 15-inch displays, users can get a 2.3GHz quad-core i7 processor, GeForce GT 650M 512MB graphics and a 500GB HDD for $1,799, or a model with a 2.6GHz quad-core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, GeForce GT 650M 1GB graphics and a 750GB HDD for $2,199. Again, it€™s available today and, as with the others, while updated, the prices remain what they have been.

All of these new machines will ship running Mac OS X Lion but will be eligible for a free copy of OS X "Mountain Lion" when it becomes available in July. Apple€™s newest operating system includes more advanced business-grade applications, a Notifications Center, a new Messages app and built-in iCloud, making it easier to update content across devices.

€œToday, we€™ve updated the entire MacBook line with faster processors, graphics, memory, flash storage and USB 3 connectivity,€ Philip Schiller, Apple€™s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a statement (and more or less on stage). €œWe€™ve made the world€™s best portable family even better, and we think users are going to love the performance advances in both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.€