The MacBook family is a range of Macintosh notebook computers by Apple Inc. that merged the PowerBook and iBook lines during the Apple Intel transition. The first model released under this family was the MacBook Pro, which was announced on January 10 2006 at the Macworld Expo. The consumer-focused MacBook was released on May 16 2006, and the MacBook Air was revealed on January 15 2008.


Consumer focused notebook
13.3" screen with polycarbonate or aluminium casing
Replaced the 12" PowerBook and the iBook line
MacBook Air Ultralight notebook
13.3" screen with aluminium casing
MacBook Pro
Professional-level notebook
15.4" or 17" screens with aluminium casing
Replaced the 15.2" and 17" PowerBook


As of the October 14 2008 MacBook family refresh, the MacBook and 15.4" MacBook Pro make use of the unibody aluminum construction introduced by the MacBook Air. The MacBook now resembles a shrunken MacBook Pro, with an LED backlit screen, a multi-touch glass trackpad, and a mini DisplayPort. However, the former has lost its FireWire port and retained an integrated graphics solution.

The MacBook family (with the exception of the White MacBook and 17" MacBook Pro) now use the black keyboard that was first introduced on the MacBook Air, which itself was inspired by the sunken keyboard of the polycarbonate MacBooks. The now standarized keyboard brings congruity to the MacBook line, with black keys on a silver aluminum body.

Comparison of MacBook family modelsEdit

The latest refresh introduced a new NVIDIA chipset to the MacBook family. The chipset brought a 1066 MHz system bus, use of DDR3 system memory, and integrated NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics that is up to five times faster than the graphics offered on the White MacBook.[1] In addition, the MacBook Pro also features a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics card using 256 or 512 MB GDDR3. The aluminum MacBook and the MacBook Air rely solely on the integrated GeForce 9400M for graphics. The White MacBook makes use the Intel GM965 chipset, with Intel's X3100 integrated graphics on an 800 MHz system bus.

The MacBook Pro's offer larger screens with higher display resolutions (1440×900 for the 15.4" and 1680×1050 or 1920x1200 for the 17"); the MacBook and MacBook Air's 13.3" screen offer a 1280x800 resolution. The MacBook family makes use of LED backlighting for the screen displays (except for the White MacBook which uses traditional CFLs). All MacBooks now come standard with a glossy display, which was first introduced with the polycarbonate MacBook. Though there is an option to buy a matte display for the 17" MacBook Pro.

With the exception of the White MacBook and the base aluminum MacBook models: the MacBook family features illuminated keyboards. A FireWire 800 port and an ExpressCard/34 slot are included with the MacBook Pro; the White MacBook has an FireWire 400 and mini-DVI port; and the aluminum MacBook and MacBook Air lack FireWire. The MacBook refresh of 14 October 2008 introduced a mini DisplayPort for all unibody aluminum MacBooks, i.e. the Air, aluminum MacBook and 15.4" Pro. MacBooks feature two USB 2.0 ports, with exception that the 17-inch MacBook Pro has three and the MacBook Air just one.

The lids of the majority of the MacBook family are held closed by a magnet with no mechanical latch, a design element first introduced with the polycarbonate MacBook. However the lid of the 17" MacBook Pro is latched by traditional retracting hooks. Memory and hard drive access is straightforward in the MacBook and MacBook Pro models, while the MacBook Air does not allow easy access for upgrades.

Timeline of the MacBook family

See also: Timeline of Macintosh models

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See alsoEdit



  1. Apple. "Apple MacBook Graphics". Retrieved on 2008-10-14.