The MacBook is the latest entry-level notebook line from Apple Incorporated. At its core, the MacBook line is an evolved Macintosh notebook line, important in Apple’s history because it completed the Apple notebooks Intel processors transition. When introduced on May 16, 2006, the MacBook replaced the previous low-end notebook line, the iBook, and also the 12 inches PowerBook G4. Furthermore, the MacBook was Apple’s response for the everyday notebook consumers and education markets, while the MacBook Pro family was targeting the professional consumers. Since its launch in 2006, the MacBook line became the best-selling Macintosh in history, and by October 2008, the middle range MacBook model was the single best-selling notebook of any brand in the United States retail stores for almost 6 months.
In four years of life, the MacBook line was refreshed and upgraded several times. Even more, Apple released three separate designs of the MacBook. In 2006 the MacBook used a polycarbonate casing, taken from the model it replaced, the iBook G4. By late 2008, Apple introduced a second version of MacBook with an aluminum casing, similar to the unibody aluminum casing found on the 15 inches MacBook Pro. The same year the polycarbonate MacBook model was updated.
In 2008 the MacBook line had two notebook models. By June 2009, the aluminum MacBook was refreshed and rebranded as the 13 inches MacBook Pro. Therefore, Apple offered once again a single MacBook model. Furthermore, in late 2009 Apple introduced the successor of the old polycarbonate MacBook, the unibody polycarbonate shell MacBook, which set new standards for everyday consumer notebooks in terms of design, hardware specification and software efficiency.
MacBook – front
Announced on May 16, 2006, the first MacBook was delivered in a new designed case, built around a 13.3 inch LCD panel (also known as glossy LCD panel). The 2006 MacBook also included several system enhancements previously announced on the MacBook Pro models, including the Intel Core Duo processor, improved in terms of speed and capacity Serial-ATA hard drive, 667 MHz bus speed, an integrated iSight camera, bundle remote control with Apple’s Front Row Software and a MagSafe power adaptor. Apple also included in the 2006 MacBook several features found by then only on Apple professional laptops, including the Gigabit Ethernet, a DVI port, and optical audio in/out.
MacBook – keyboard
The first MacBook also brought several new features, such as the magnetic latching system (with no moving parts), and a resigned recessed keyboard. The main drawback found on Macbook was the graphic chipset, which was not dedicated, but integrated, using a significant part of the main memory, lacking the system of sufficient RAM to sustain and complete the system tasks. The 2006 MacBook allowed a maximum of 2 GB of memory at a speed of 667MHz.
The MacBook was shipped in three configurations. The entry-level model included a 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 60 GB hard drive, 512 MB of RAM, and a CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive (with a price tag of $1.099). The second model included a 2.0 GHz Core Duo processor, 60 GB hard drive, 512 MB of RAM, and a CD-RW/DVD+/-RW SuperDrive (with a price tag of $1.299). The high-end model offered for a price tag of $1.499, a black case, 2.0 GHz Core Duo processor, 512 MB of RAM, 80 GB hard drive, and CD-RW/DVD+/-RW SuperDrive.
MacBook – black
All three configurations of 2006 MacBook were replaced in November 2006. The MacBook line (Late 2006) included faster Core 2 Duo processors. Just like the May MacBook, the November MacBook was available in three configurations.
The entry-level configuration was shipped in white polycarbonate with the 1.83 GHz Core Duo processor, 512 MB of RAM, 60 GB hard drive, and a ComboDrive (with a price tag of $1.099). The middle range model included the 2.0 GHz Core Duo processor, 1 GB of RAM, 80 GB hard drive, and SuperDrive (shipped in white with a price tag of $1.299). The high-end model included the 2.0 GHz Core Duo processor, 1 GB of RAM, an improved hard drive of 120 GB, and SuperDrive (shipped in black for $1.499).
Apple announced in May 2007, one year after the introduction of the MacBook line, the third revision of the MacBook. The May 2007 MacBook was available in three configurations. The first configuration, entry-level, was available at a price tag of $1.099 and it included the 2.0 GHz Core Duo processor, 1 GB of RAM, 80 GB hard drive, ComboDrive and a white polycarbonate enclosure. The second version was offered at $1.299 and it featured a faster processor, the 2.16 GHz Core Duo processor, 1 GB of RAM, the 120 GB hard drive, and a SuperDrive. The second model was also available in white polycarbonate, while the high-end model ($1.499) sported a black polycarbonate, the 2.16 GHz Core Duo processor, 1 GB of RAM, an improved hard drive of 160 GB, and a SuperDrive.
MacBook – closed white
Introduced in November 2007, the late 2007 MacBook brought an increased bus-speed and maximum RAM, faster processors, and an upgraded graphic chipset. Just like its predecessors, the November 2007 MacBook was available in three configurations. The entry-level models kept the price tag of $1.099 and the white polycarbonate enclosure and brought the 2.0 GHz Core Duo processor, 1 GB of RAM, the 80 GB hard drive and the ComboDrive. The middle-level configuration was also available in white polycarbonate enclosure, and for a price tag of $1.299 it included the improved processor, 2.20GHz Core Duo processor, 1 GB of RAM, the SuperDrive and the 120 GB hard drive. The high-end MacBook model was available only in black enclosure. For a price tag of $1.499, the high-end configuration was delivered with the 2.20 GHz Core Duo processor, 1 GB of RAM, the 160 GB hard drive and the SuperDrive.
In 2008, Apple has improved and rebranded its MacBook line. In February 2008, Apple introduced the fifth revision of the MacBook. The fifth revision was similar with the November 2007 MacBook (the price, the polycarbonate enclosure, the configurations). However, the difference laid in the processor’s specifications.
The early 2008 MacBook was available in three configurations. The entry-level model sported a 2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 1 GB RAM (PC2-5300 SO-DIMM 667MHz), 120 GB Serial-ATA drive (with 5400 rotations per minute), and the ComboDrive. The entry-level MacBook was available for $1.099 only in polycarbonate white enclosure. The mid-level MacBook included the 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB RAM (PC2-5300 SO-DIMM 667MHz), 160 GB Serial-ATA drive (with 5400 rotations per minute), and the SuperDrive. This configuration was also available only in white enclosure, for a price tag of $1.299. The high-end model kept untouched the 2007 MacBook price tag of $1.499.
This configuration was available only in black polycarbonate enclosure, including improved specifications, such as 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB RAM (PC2-5300 SO-DIMM 667MHz), 250 GB Serial-ATA drive (with 5400 rotations per minute), and the SuperDrive. In October 2008 the low-end model and the high-end model were discontinued. The main reason was the introduction of the new aluminum unibody MacBook model. The entry-level MacBook configuration was replaced in early 2009 with an improved model (with a price tag of $999), which was ultimately replaced with the third MacBook generation.
In October 2008, Apple announced the second generation of the MacBook. However, the second generation was not replacing the first generation, but mostly substituting the expensive models of the first generation.
The 13-inch aluminum MacBook included several features found on the aluminum 15-inch MacBook Pro, also announced in October 2008. Beside the new aluminum unibody enclosure, the aluminum 13-inch MacBook included a faster graphic chip, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, a faster bus, and a glass covered Multi-Touch trackpad. The high-end configuration included backlit keyboard, a new feature within the MacBook line. However, Apple did not include in the 13-inch aluminum MacBook the FireWire port (included in Apple notebooks since 2000).
The aluminum MacBook was available in two configurations. The entry-level configuration had a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB RAM (PC3-8500 SO-DIMM 1066 MHz), 160 GB hard drive, with a price tag of $1.299, while the second configuration had a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB RAM (PC3-8500 SO-DIMM 1066 MHz), 250 GB hard drive, and a backlit keyboard, with a price tag of $1.599.
In January 2009, Apple introduced another revision of the polycarbonate MacBook. This revision brought a slower clock-rate. However, the rest of the specifications were improved, including the bus speed (increased to 1066 MHz), while the amount of RAM was doubled (to 2 GB). Also improved was the graphic chipset, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, the same found on the 13-inch aluminum MacBook. The January 2009 MacBook was only available on a single configuration ($999). Furthermore, it was replaced in 6 months with another revision.
By June 2009, Apple released the last polycarbonate revision of the first MacBook generation. The processor was increased to 2.13 GHz (6.5%), while the hard disk was increased to 160 GB (up to 33%). The random access memory was kept to 2GB. The June 2009 MacBook was available in a single configuration, with a price tag of $999.
On October 20, 2009, Apple announced the third generation of MacBook notebooks. The third generation is a merger between the first generation and second generation (aluminum) of MacBooks. Also, Apple discontinued the 13-inch aluminum MacBook, because it released the 13-inch aluminum MacBook Pro. The new MacBook featured a durable unibody enclosure, 1.08 inches thin. The unibody enclosure also featured rounded contours, discontinuing the straight angle design of the previous MacBook. The polycarbonate unibody MacBook has a height of 1.08 inches (2.74 cm), width of 13.00 inches (33.03 cm); with a depth of 9.12 inches (23.17 cm), the unibody MacBook weights 4.7 pounds (2.13 kg).
Apple also included in the new Macbook an improved glossy LED-backlit display, with a widescreen resolution of 1280×800 pixels. This display is part of Apple’s new environmental policy, since it is more power efficient, free of harmful toxins, including mercury. The 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy display supports several resolutions (beside the native 1280×800) including 1152×720, 1024×768, 1024×640, 800×600, 800×500, 720×480 and 640×480 at 16:1 aspect ratio; while in 4:3 aspect ratio the display supports the following resolutions, 1024×768, 800×600, and 640×480. Even more, the 720×480 pixels resolution is supported at 3:2 aspect ratio.
The third generation of MacBook (also known as MacBook 6.1) has an in-built 60-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, sufficient for 7 hours of autonomy per charge. This battery can be recharged up to 1000 times (with a typical usage ~ 5 years). The unibody MacBook’s battery is also environmentally friendly.
The new Multi-Touch trackpad lacks any additional buttons. There are six finger movements that will help with the menu navigation:
- one finger click – just click wherever you want on the track pad;
- the right click works in two ways, you either click to finger anywhere on the track pad or click in the right corner of the track pad;
- the scroll feature – just slide two fingers up or down the track pad;
- pinch – used to zoom either photos or web pages;
- swipe – to move within a gallery, or between the tabs in the navigational browser – swipe three fingers to make it work;
- the rotate feature – make a semi-circle on the trackpad, and it will rotate a photo or a PDF.
The unibody MacBook includes the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphic processor with 256 MB of DDR3 SDRAM. However, the 256 MB of DDR3 are shared wih the main memory. This graphic chipset simultaneously supports full natvie resolution on the built-in display, and up to 2560×1600 pixels on an external display.
Apple included in the unibody MacBook an improved processor, the 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3 MB on-chip shared L2 cache running 1:1 with processor speed. The unibody MacBook is available in a single configuration, including 2 GB (2 x 1 GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM. However, this value is expandable up to 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz.
The storage capacity is impressive for a MacBook, since the basic model of the 13-inch MacBook Pro has a 160 GB hard drive. The polycarbonate unibody MacBook features a 250 GB 5400 rotations per minute Serial ATA hard disk drive. Optional the unibody MacBook can be upgraded with a 320 GB hard drive, or even 500 GB rotations per minute drive. The polycarbonate unibody MacBook is shipped with a 8x slot-loading SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW).
The connectivity is ensured within the unibody MacBook by the built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking (IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible), built-in Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR also knwon as Enhanced Data Rate wireless technology and the Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet also known as the RJ-45 connector.
Apple located all the ports on the left side of the unibody MacBook. from front to back these ports are: Kensington lock slot, Audio in/out, Two USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps), Mini DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet port, MagSafe power port. On the front of the MacBook, Apple integrated the infrared receiver for the remote control. On the right side of the unibody MacBook, Apple embedded the SuperDrive.11