At WWDC 2005, Apple announced that they would be transitioning their entire Mac lineup from the PowerPC to Intel processors, and at MacWorld San Francisco 2006, they introduced their first Mac notebook with an Intel processor alongside the Intel-based iMac. This time, Apple called this machine the “MacBook Pro” instead of the “PowerBook” because they wanted “Mac” in the name of all of the Mac models they would sell.
Although it retained a similar design to that of the 15” PowerBook G4, what was amazing back then was that this MacBook Pro was up to four times faster than its predecessor. With the Intel Core Duo dual-core processor inside, this means that it would deliver the performance of two G4 processors in a similar one-inch thin design. While it might not be as thin by today’s standards, it was quite impressive back then considering that most of the competitors had thicker designs.
This machine also brought two new features for the first time on a Mac notebook that we might take for granted today. First, it had an iSight webcam built-in, so you could video chat on the go without bringing an external webcam. Second, MagSafe was introduced for charging your Mac. Using magnets, when somebody happened to trip over the charging cable, that cable would just snap off seamlessly, leaving the laptop intact.
Apple did change the screen size from 15.2” (3:2 aspect ratio) to 15.4” (16:10 aspect ratio). While it does sound like a screen increase, keep in mind that the number of vertical pixels was down from 960 pixels on the former to 900 pixels on the latter. The number of horizontal pixels at 1440 remained the same. Since then, Apple has made displays with the 16:10 aspect ratio standard on all of their Mac laptops since this model until the latest models with Liquid Retina Displays.
They also changed the port selection on this MacBook Pro. Gone were the 56K modem, S-Video Out port, and PC Card slot on the PowerBook. Along with the existing ports such as Gigabit Ethernet, the MacBook Pro added the Express Card slot. The Firewire 800 port was missing on the original MacBook Pro 15”, but Apple added it back on the first revision of this model in late 2006. One more thing: Apple introduced this laptop with a 1.67 GHz Intel Core Duo processor for the entry configuration, but that model never shipped. Instead, the entry config shipped with an even faster 1.83 GHz processor. This was a rare occurrence when Apple shipped a computer with a faster processor than previously announced.
In just 90 days, Apple would complete the transition to Intel for Mac notebooks, followed by the 17” MacBook Pro in April 2006, which replaced the 17” PowerBook and the polycarbonate MacBook in May 2006, which replaced both the iBook and 12” PowerBook. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the original MacBook Pro.