Apple silently retires White MacBook, releases newest MacBook Air

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It was the computer everybody wanted; the most popular and best-selling Macintosh ever. For five months in 2008, it was the single best-selling laptop of any brand in U.S. retail stores. Introduced in 2006 as the first computer sold during Apple’s transition to an Intel-based software, it is the White Apple MacBook.

Correction. It was the White Apple MacBook.

white macbook

On Tuesday, AppleInsider first reported Apple’s plans to phase out its best-seller, the entry-level MacBook. By Wednesday, the MacBook was no longer available for sale online and now, only educational instutions can still purchase the computers. The removal of the White MacBook from Apple’s online stores, marks the first time since the 2001 release of the iBook G3 that Apple does not offer a solid-white laptop for sale.

The basic MacBook was first released on May 16, 2006. It had an Intel Core Duo processor, a 13.3-inch display, a 60 GB or 80 GB hard drive and the Mac Os X 10.4.6 operating system. The White version of the MacBook was released in October 2008, with a 2.0 Intel Core 2 Duo processor, double the memory and the hard drive and having the Mac Os X 10.5.4 operating system included.

Suddently, it was the coolest laptop on the market. Once priced at an affordable $999, it seemed every college kid owned or greatly-desired the White MacBook.

Instead of making this announcement amid much hoopla and fanfare, as with many Apple announcements, the retiring of the MacBook was done silently. Nonetheless, the sudden removal of the MacBook from Apple’s online store is still a shock considering the most recent version of the MacBook was released a little over a year ago in May 2010. Many assumed the laptop was simply due for an upgrade.

Fear not Apple enthusiasts, although the MacBook is no longer available, Apple still offers a $999 laptop: the MacBook Air. Today, Apple also released the new and improved models of the MacBook Air.

MacBook Air

Coincidence? Doubtful.

Recently, monthly shipments of the original MacBook had dipped to between 80,000 and 100,000 units, comprising less than 10 percent of Apple’s total Mac shipments in the first half of 2011. Meanwhile, the popularity of the MacBook Air skyrocketed.

According to AppleInsider, the MacBook Air offers some key advantages over the white MacBook, namely fast NAND flash memory for storage, an ultraportable thin-and-light design, and a durable aluminum unibody construction, features an optical drive, includes a built-in Ethernet port, and has more hard drive space.

In addition, the newest version of the MacBook Air features a backlit keyboard and a Thunderbolt port, which is capable of transferring data at 10 gigabits per second compared to the 480 megabits per second of the USB 2.0 port.

It remains to be seen whether the MacBook Air will be able to match the popularity of the original MacBook. Regardless, one thing is certain, the newest Air will allow Apple to remain an innovating force in the laptop industry even if it comes at the expense of the original MacBook.

So long White MacBook, enjoy retirement.

Photos courtesy Jean-Pierre Louis and Marco Paköeningrat via Flickr.


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