Happy 13th Birthday MacBook Pro – A Deeper Look at Apple’s Most Iconic Notebook

Original Macbook Pro 2006 Credit: Reddit / sfs_is_life
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Over the years, Apple has designed and developed a myriad of polarizing and markedly high-end products — from its iconic iPhones and iPads, to wearable tech like the Apple Watch, Mac computers and more.

Among the company’s shortlist of game-changing gadgets, is the original MacBook Pro — the very first iteration of its aluminum-clad, Intel CPU- and OS X-powered laptop now used and adorned, in its varying iterations, by millions of users around the world.

Designed and propositioned as the “next-generation” successor to its popular PowerBook G4 notebook, Apple’s original MacBook Pro was unveiled by late co-founder Steve Jobs, himself, back on January 10th, 2006 at the Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco, California (see below).

The machine was notably Apple’s first to employ its profoundly innovative [albeit since-discontinued] MagSafe connector, a super-strong and patented magnetic connector designed by Apple to seamlessly detach itself from the MacBook Pro — as opposed to pulling it off a table or counter, and crashing to the floor — in the unfortunate event, if you were to trip over the charging cable.

According to CultofMac, who was first to highlight this information, Apple borrowed the concept for its MagSafe connector using similar connections already being used at the time in deep fryers and other cooking appliances “to protect cooks from spilling dangerously hot liquids.” 

Apple, hoping to perfect what it saw as a novel concept in MagSafe, went on to earn a patent covering its connector based on its proprietary, reversible and easy-to-use form-factor.

Among other notable firsts, the original MacBook Pro was also Apple’s debut Notebook equipped with a large 15.4-inch LCD widescreen display and built-in iSight camera for PhotoBooth and video-conferencing. It was, perhaps most notably and talked-about of all, likewise the tech-giant’s first consumer laptop to exclusively employ Intel Core Duo CPUs — a circa 2006 chip which, at the time, offered “up to five-times” the speed and improved performance over its predecessor.

A Thinner, Lighter Future

What was also interesting about the original MacBook Pro, save for being Apple’s “thinnest, fastest and lightest laptop yet,” is that it was the company’s first laptop not based on its ‘PowerBook’ brand from the early 1990’s — with Jobs, wanting to denote the machine’s inherent and future significance, deciding on ‘MacBook’ instead of ‘PowerPC’.

Although some early critics interestingly viewed the ‘PowerPC to MacBook Pro’ transition as “a lack of respect” for the Cupertino-company’s history on Jobs’ part, the machine ultimately went on to become one of Apple’s best-selling products in its class.

For $1,999 or $2,499, respectively, the original MacBook Pro shipped with a 1.67 GHz, or 1.83 GHz, Intel Core Duo CPU — although in a rare and unprecedented move, both the entry-level and upgraded base-model offerings actually shipped with 1.83 GHz and 2.0 GHz CPUs, which, as CultofMac pointed out, was likely a strategic move on Apple’s part to bolster the machine’s perceived value.

What’s also rather interesting to consider is how the MacBook Pro has evolved over the years into its current embodiment. Specifically, how every step of the way — whether it was the introduction of an aluminum-unibody design back in 2012, 13.3- and 15.4-inch LED-backlit Retina displays in 2014, or 2016’s innovative OLED TouchBar — Apple has further developed and enhanced the MacBook Pro into one of the world’s best-selling laptops.

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