Computerworld’s Yuval Kossovsky had some real “pick it up and use it” hands-on time with Apple’s new MacBook Pro at a special Apple event he attended last week.

“The good news is that the MacBook Pro, which comes in two models and starts at $1,999, feels and looks just as solid and well built as its aluminum-clad predecessor. The better news is that it outperforms and is better engineered than any G3- or G4-based laptop models Apple has sold,” Kossovsky reports. “First, I should say up front that I don’t know whether the model I had in my hands was a prototype or an example of the final product, which is due to ship officially next month. Having said that, I can tell you this laptop is fast. Really fast. I am hesitant to say it’s exponentially faster than the G4 version, but subjectively, this baby cooks. Universal binary programs like Safari and Apple’s iLife suite — which have been rewritten by Apple to take advantage of the new dual-core 1.83-GHz Intel processor inside — launched in one or two icon bounces. And using the Microsoft Office suite, which hasn’t yet been rewritten, was seamless using Rosetta… Apple wants to make this transition as seamless and transparent as possible, and if my short time using Rosetta is any benchmark, I’d say they’re off to a good start.”

“The built-in Web cam — think of it as a smaller iSight camera — is clearer and offers higher resolution video than was previously available using Apple’s iSight Web cam with the G4 PowerBook. And when using iChat A/V, you can now act as the host for a four-way video session — largely because of the Core Duo chip speed,” Kossovsky reports. “The LCD screen, which offers a 1,440-by-900-pixel resolution, is much brighter than those on earlier Apple laptops. In fact, there was no discernible difference between the screen brightness on the MacBook Pro and a 20-in. iMac Core Duo sitting next to it. Anyone who’s seen how bright those iMac screens are will appreciate how good looking this laptop screen is.”

“FireWire 800 was left off the motherboard of the new laptop largely because it has not achieved much a following among users. But for those who need the faster data transfer speeds available with FireWire 800, other offerings are on the way: I saw a prototype Belkin FireWire 800 ExpressCard 34 model that should ship by the time the MacBook Pro does. I’ve also been in contact with the ExpressCard standards group and am waiting for a list of manufacturers that will have cards in the 34mm flavor for the MacBookPro. I’ve heard from sources that several manufacturers are readying GPRS/EDGE and CDMA/EVDO cards for road warriors,” Kossovsky reports. “I can say the MacBook Pro looks like a real winner.”

Full article here.

MacBook Pro. The first Mac notebook built upon Intel Core Duo with iLife ’06, Front Row and built-in iSight. Starting at $1999. Free shipping.
iMac. Twice as amazing — Intel Core Duo, iLife ’06, Front Row media experience, Apple Remote, built-in iSight. Starting at $1299. Free shipping.
iMac and MacBook Pro owners: Apple USB Modem. Easily connect to the Internet using dial-up service. $49.00.
iPod Radio Remote. Listen to FM radio on your iPod and control everything with a convenient wired remote. Just $49.
iPod. 15,000 songs. 25,000 photos. 150 hours of video. The new iPod. 30GB and 60GB models start at just $299. Free shipping.
Connect iPod to your television set with the iPod AV Cable. Just $19.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Analyst: Apple seeing strong sales of iMac Core Duo, MacBook Pro, 5th generation iPod – January 25, 2006
Apple: expect MacBook Pro shortages – January 19, 2006
Use the ExpressCard slot to add FireWire 800 to Apple’s new MacBook Pro – January 15, 2006
Apple MacBook Pro, ExpressCard and EVDO – January 14, 2006
Apple introduces MacBook Pro; up to four times faster than PowerBook G4 – January 10, 2006