If you don't deem yourself professional enough to opt for the MacBook Pro, Apple has updated its MacBook range to feature the same precision aluminium unibody. But what is the real difference? And in these Credit Crunch times can you really save some cash here by dropping down from the Pro?
Carrying the same styling as the design of its bigger brother, the casing now has those curved edges top and bottom giving it a thinner appearance. Like the Pro it is only 2.41cm thick. Because of the new 'brick' manufacturing process, the keyboard of the MacBook is made from a one-piece unibody giving smooth seamless lines.
Beneath the keyboard is a new larger trackpad that has removed the visual cue of a clickable button.
Now the entire trackpad is a button. Removal of the button means you've got more room to move your fingers around, as well as allowing Apple to implement a number of shortcuts that you can do by moving your fingers over the device.
Apple has also upgraded the screen. You now get a 13.3-inch LED backlit glossy widescreen (1280 x 800 pixels) glossy screen that is thinner than the previous model. That gloss will either annoy or please. The former, if you're planning on working in a sunny garden.
Compared to the MacBook Pro you lose the FireWire 800 slot and the ExpressCard slot; clearly where some of the savings have been made. It means that you don't get FireWire at all on the laptop. While the majority of camcorders are moving to USB, it's worth bearing in mind if you have an older camera.
The lack of the second graphics card will really only affect you if you are planning on editing lots of large images or play the latest Mac games.
With companies like Adobe now offering software with hardware accelerated performance (CS4) the more powerful the graphics card, the more useful it is editing images, video and playing games. If you plan to do neither – then the lack of the 9600M won't really affect you.