Apple's sort-of cheap laptop event: I told you so

OK, so my skepticism last Friday on the blessed advent of magically cheap and profitable Mac laptops turned out to be justified. I'd love to claim that this was thanks to some mole deep within Apple whispering in my ear, but in truth it was just common sense: the stampede was ultimately based on a single source whose veracity was impossible to verify, and as it echoed what a lot of pundits think Apple should be doing, it was easy to for them to convince themselves that at long last it was what they would be doing.

Apple did meet the cheap-laptop hype in the most half-assed way possible: by offering a low-end representative of the last MacBook generation as the retronymed MacBook White, discounted to the magic $999 price point (though that's still $100 more than what most observers thought/hoped the new MacBooks would be going for). Still, it was those new notebooks that got the lion's share of the attention today, and their features matched up with what was rumored. Most exciting are the new graphic chipsets from NVidia, which is the one thing that vaguely makes me regret buying my MacBook this past July. (Yes, I knew new versions were in the pipe, but if I had to take one more trip with my Windows XP machine, I would have cried, OK?)

There had been some scuttlebutt about the mysterious code-word "brick," and basic agreement towards the end that represented some new process of carving laptops out of single blocks of metal. A lot of time at today's event was spent demonstrating this -- only it turns out the process isn't all that new; instead, it's just bringing a lot of the techniques behind the MacBook Air to the other laptops in the line. And on that note, the Mac design language is now remarkably unified again across all of its product lines, as you can see from this nice shot on the Apple Web site:

Really, only the Mac mini and the MacBook White are outliers, anymore, and that might be a good place to start thinking about the next round of product refreshes.

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