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Apple to keep, redesign plastic MacBooks?

updated 02:40 pm EDT, Tue August 25, 2009

White MacBook Rework Leak

Apple is in the midst of redesigning its plastic MacBook to cement its share at the lower end of the notebook spectrum, a source said today. An apparent contact for AppleInsider claims that the computer builder is planning a new version of the system that would be lighter and thinner. Redesigned internals would also be part of the plans, though it's uncertain what this would involve.

Speculation suggests the plastic enclosure may borrow the concept of unibody design from current aluminum models and that battery life could be extended, although it's not as clear whether Apple would seal in the battery as it does on MacBook Pros. The current model is sometimes favored by schools for its relatively easily replaceable battery, although the current sealed-in MacBook Pro battery is quickly swapped by technicians.

It's also suspected that the new design will help Apple reduce its entry level notebook's price below $999 for the first time, though this would probably be accomplished both through the design itself as well as through using slightly trailing processor technology. At one point, Apple had purportedly even considered making a pseudo-netbook that would have used Atom processors but had rejected it as antithetical to the brand. The company has publicly derided netbooks for their speed.

Apple's move would potentially be an acknowledgment of a long enough economic crunch that has driven prices downwards for the average notebook. Although it controls the high-end of the US retail notebook market, the company suffers somewhat in direct orders and doesn't compete at all at the low end. Initially, Apple had branded its 13-inch aluminum system as the eventual complete replacement for the MacBook but was forced to keep the plastic model in the poor economy. It remains one of Apple's best-selling systems of any kind.

It's thought that a lower-cost MacBook may fit into the product strategy for the rumored tablet by closing some of the gap between the future touchscreen device and Apple's regular portables.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. ibugv4

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2003


    10" MacBook, anyone?

    It's not a netbook if we call it MacBook.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. mullum

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007



    I'm a total fanboi, but I was recently bitten. The late 2008 Unibody Macbook I bought is now neither a Macbook (if they do get redisigned) nor a Macbook Pro. Cheers Apple, I buy-in to your unibody concept and six months later you replace it with a cheaper "PRO" version ! Making my 1200 investment a difficult to sell BIG MISTAKE !

  1. jpellino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Please keep FW


  1. MacAssemble

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008



    What is your source for claiming that schools like the MacBooks for their replaceable batteries? It seems that schools always prefer ultra affordable models (aka the cheapest model) not that they buy it because it has a replaceable battery.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    internal battery a plus

    For schools, the more removable parts, the more likely things will be swapped out and stolen. If anything, they are more likely to spend more money and buy the model with internal battery.

    Students stealing AA batteries for their MP3 player is no news. Steal a $130 battery and your cost saving turns into a liability.

  1. ff11

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004



    I'm not sure how any past of future redesign by Apple makes your Macbook not a Macbook. Also, you may be a self professed fanboi, but you are not very bright if you think a computer ... ANY computer can be used as an investment.

  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003



    Is a must.

    - A

  1. mullum

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007



    true !
    investment was a poor choice of word. I should have just said it devalued that brief run of model rapidly as the current "equivalent" model is both cheaper and has become a "pro". Apple had weaned me on firewire with previous ibooks/macbooks and suddenly took it away with the first model. But I supported them and bought in. 6 months later - the equivalent model regained firewire and got the new battery technology already put into the 17" model.
    Bottom line is Apple sold the first run of unibodies unfinished and must have known they were going to upgrade them to "pro"s down the line.
    by saying i was a fanboi i was just saying i wasnt here as an apple basher, just that i thought apple sold us short for a while there.

  1. freshh20

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2008


    easy swap of battery - not

    Not when I have to drive 2 1/2 hours to the nearest Apple store.

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