Except for a minor boost in processor speed, the new 15in 2.66GHz MacBook Pro is identical to the 15in 2.53GHz MacBook Pro it replaces.
As far as upgrades go, the top-of-the-line 15in MacBook Pro's makeover is far from extreme. But we're not going to complain if Apple chooses to gently boost the processor speed a little bit without expecting a penny more for the effort.
Aside from the slight boost in processor speed from the model it replaces, the 2.53GHz 15in MacBook Pro (which was also £1,712 when it was released) and, the rest of the new 2.66GHz MacBook Pro's specs remain identical, including the unibody case, ports, bus speed, hard drive capacity and more.
Instead of assembling the laptops piecemeal and expertly splicing the components together, the new MacBook Pros sport a unibody architecture that constructs the entire machine out of a single piece of recyclable aluminium.
Such assembly, according to Apple, eliminates the need for fine-tuning parts and diminishes the possibility of construction failures. With the new MacBook Pro in hand, it feels almost like an extension of your arm.
There's no clasp keeping the lid shut: simply grip the thumbscoop etched into the bottom of the case, and it opens right up. Even without a clasp, it feels secure when closed.
The unibody composition also makes these new laptops easier to service and fix, and great for do-it-yourself types who have, in the past, lamented how difficult it was to do things like swap out the hard drive or battery. The new MacBook Pro makes it very easy to access the battery and hard drive - move the lever on the bottom of the case, and you're in. Upgrading RAM requires the removal of eight screws; the previous MacBook Pro had only three screws.
All ports are grouped together on the left side of the case, including the MagSafe power port, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, two USB ports, audio in and out ports, and an ExpressCard/34 slot. The microphone is under the left speaker grille.
The new Mini DisplayPort connects to Apple's new 24in Apple LED Cinema Display (£635). You can connect other monitors to the new MacBook Pros, but you'll have to buy a £20 Mini DisplayPort to VGA or Mini DisplayPort to DVI adaptor, or £68 for a Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adaptor.
The right side of the machine has the slot-loading SuperDrive and a Kensington lock slot. And if you're using the lock, it automatically locks the access door underneath, thus protecting the hard drive and the battery. An elegant battery indicator on the side of the case glows green through eight tiny dots and when all is well and flashes five times when the battery needs replacement.
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