MacBook Pro and MacBook Air 2013 roundup

Editors' note: This post was updated June 12, 2013, with the new 2013 MacBook Airs.

For the first time in 2013, Apple has introduced new MacBooks -- but for now, they're just Airs.

Both the 13- and 11-inch MacBook Air are refreshed with new fourth-generation Intel "Haswell" Core i5 and i7 processors and faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The chassis and features of the Airs remain unchanged from the past few generations, but the improvement in battery life is significant -- having tested them, we can now verify Apple's claim of all-day battery life.

However, Apple's … Read more

'Leaked' spec label details revamped 15-inch MacBook Pro

More "leaked" information seems to support speculation that Apple will soon revamp its line of MacBook Pros.

A new spec sheet sent anonymously to 9to5Mac.com today -- the kind Apple puts on the packaging of its computers -- suggests we may soon see a revamped 15-inch model, in addition to a new 13-inch version teased earlier in the day. The MacBook Pro packaging label is similar to an alleged spec sheet for a 13-inch version that surfaced on Chinese Web site Weiphone. While 9to5Mac goes to great lengths to emphasize that the information is unconfirmed, the image … Read more

HP announces Envy ultrabooks, 'sleekbooks,' business-targeted EliteBook Folio

Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processors are causing a ripple effect in the lineups of laptops everywhere, and HP's freshly unveiled series of ultrabooks, "sleekbooks," and professional slim laptops reveals that thin's spreading beyond ultrabooks.

Of particular interest is the fact that HP's consumer line of ultrabooks is falling entirely into the Envy brand, which was previously exclusive to higher-priced laptops optimized for Beats Audio.

Call them fauxtrabooks, call them sleekbooks, call them ultrathins: these new 14- and 15-inch ultrabooks along with AMD-powered ultrabooklike laptops are bound to create some consumer confusion. But, based on limited time with these systems, they're also likely to make a lot of people happy: these thin laptops are actually impressively affordable. Let's hope it's a trend. … Read more

Will this tantalizing tech make it into the new MacBook?

What's in the next spin of the MacBook Pro? 0ne answer is obvious, others are guesswork.

The obvious? Intel's newest Ivy Bridge chip. The guesswork? A thinner MBP made possible by ripping out the optical drive, a la the MacBook Air. And here's some more wishful thinking:

Retina display: A Pro (or maybe a new Air at some point?) with a 2,560x1,600 resolution display? That's the resolution that Intel's Kirk Skaugen mentioned this week at an Intel conference in Beijing in connection with the upcoming Ivy Bridge chip. And he specifically used the … Read more

Big-screen ultrabooks: The first wave

What's an ultrabook, exactly? Is it a slim, portable 13-incher, or any laptop that's thinnish and cool-looking? The latest confounding trend in Intel's "ultrabook" brand creep has been the rise of 14- and 15-inch laptops boasting thinner designs and those same low-voltage CPUs that smaller ultrabooks have. Call them the return of the thin-and-light laptop, if you will, but ultrabooks have finally gotten supersized.… Read more

Ultrabook with game: Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG, hands-on

Are you ready for large-screen ultrabooks? Well, hopefully the answer's "yes," because they're coming to stores whether you like it or not. The differentiating factors on what constituted an ultrabook -- thin, portable, power efficient, SSD, no optical drive, lack of dedicated "high-end" graphics, longer battery life -- have started to go out the window. Witness the 15-inch Samsung Series 9 and HP Envy 14 Spectre, for starters.

As far as the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG is concerned, it may make you question your entire perception of the category. DVD drive? Check. Dedicated high-end Nvidia graphics? Check. Larger hard drive options? Check. Portable? Well, not exactly, compared to 13-inch ultrabooks. The Ultra M3 is 4.4 pounds, but it is .79 inches thick. Of all of these, the biggest novelty of this Timeline is that it's the first ultrabook (as defined by Intel) to feature Nvidia graphics. It won't be the last.… Read more

Samsung Series 9, 15-inch: Hands-on with the 13-incher's bigger brother

There's no doubt about it: Samsung's Series 9 has always been a hot-looking laptop. Thin and every bit as iconic as a MacBook Air, the 2011 Series 9 laid the groundwork for all the sleek and sexy ultrabooks we've seen so far and throughout January's CES.

We've peeked at the second-gen Series 9 13-incher a few months ago, but we also knew that a larger-screened version was on its way. I saw it at CES, and wondered how the concept of a thin ultrabook would work on a 15-inch scale. Well, it's here now at CNET, and before I dropped it off at the Labs for testing, I spent a little time with it up close.… Read more

New rumor adds to 15-inch MacBook Air chatter

Apple is once again said to be on the brink of releasing a larger version of its thinnest notebook computer.

Adding to the chatter of new sizes for the MacBook Air, Electric Pig weighed in today, saying Apple has a 15-inch version due next month. That information comes courtesy of a "premium Mac accessory maker," which the outlet talked to at the Computers Unlimited: Exposed show in London yesterday.

That company was not named, but is apparently a "key player in MacBook docking solutions." Looking at the show's exhibitor list, it's likely Henge Docks, … Read more

Why a 15-inch MacBook Air would be the greatest thing since sliced bread

In a recent poll of most-anticipated 2012 laptops, a purely hypothetical product beat out every high-profile system previewed at CES.

More than the glass-covered HP Envy 14 Spectre, Dell XPS 13, or even Acer Aspire S5, a 15-inch version of Apple's MacBook Air was the clear winner among CNET readers, pulling in 40 percent of the total vote.

And this is for a product that, while churning in the rumor mill for the last several months, lacks even the sparse documented evidence that Apple's expected HDTV has (such as this recent spec-heavy Best Buy survey of purported features). … Read more

So, what's an ultrabook, again?

LAS VEGAS--Ask Intel, ask any laptop manufacturer at this year's CES what's going on, and ultrabook is going to come up. It's all anyone can talk about, it seems. Intel's entire 2012 CES press conference was about them. Acer, Samsung, Toshiba, HP, Lenovo--go down the list, and it's what they're showing at the convention.

So, what are ultrabooks, exactly?

That's the kick, and the rub, and the problem I see for ultrabooks at the moment: just when we're beginning to figure them out, the line defining them is completely blurring. How the … Read more