Now we have a complete family of Intel Apple notebooks to compare with one another, what is it about the MacBook Pro that makes it a “pro” machine? And in what respects are the MacBooks a better machine than their iBook predecessors?
The MacBook sports many very attractive new features, such as a magnetic latch, easy access to RAM slots, and - this is really impressive, this - user-replaceable hard disks. It also supports extended desktops, a feature previously denied iBook users. Apple claims it has a six hour battery life.
But here are the features that make a MacBook Pro a “pro” machine:
- Slightly faster Core Duo CPU in upper-end Pro machines
- 8x SuperDrive on 17inch MacBook Pro
- Larger display; option that it should not be glossy
- Supports larger pixel external display
- Decent ATI Mobility Radeon graphics card and separated graphics memory
- ExpressCard/34 slot; extra USB and FireWire 800 on 17inch MacBook Pro
- Illuminated keyboard
And that’s it. That’s not a long list of differentiating features; and several of these are only really different on the top-of-the-range 17inch MacBook Pro. So what is Apple suggesting is the difference between a “pro” user and a non-”pro” user?
On the face of it, graphics is the answer. If pro-quality photo/video editing is your thing, you’re going to need a Pro machine to make use of the extra graphics-crunching hardware.
In the meantime, the MacBook looks like a very attractive consumer-level notebook, unless you want the black model, of course, which is $200 extra for a different color case and a few extra gigs of hard disk space. (Although, I confess: to my eyes, the black finish on the MacBook looks more “pro” than the silver finish on the MacBook Pro; is it just me?)