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Apple unveils line of laptops

With a single $100 exception, the firm avoids cutting prices for its MacBooks.

October 15, 2008|Michelle Quinn | Times Staff Writer

CUPERTINO, CALIF. — Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled a line of laptops Tuesday but did not dramatically slash prices.

Instead, Jobs focused on a new manufacturing process for Apple's MacBook line of laptops, which carves the machine's casing out of a single 2.5-pound aluminum block.

"This is a tour de force of engineering," Jobs said.

The new aluminum MacBooks, which come with a glass multitouch track pad, will begin selling today starting at $1,299 for a 13-inch model.

Apple also updated its line of professional laptops, the MacBook Pro, which also come in aluminum. A 15-inch model starts at $1,999.

"This is what Apple does well, updating its products better and faster than anyone else," said Van Baker, an analyst at Gartner Inc.

In the last week there had been speculation that Apple would reduce the price of MacBooks to draw in customers anxious about their jobs and retirement accounts.

The company did reduce the price of its 13-inch white MacBook by $100, to $999, a concession, analysts said, to the fact that the fastest-growing segment of the market is laptops costing $500 to $900.

Jobs appeared thin but energetic before the audience of journalists and industry analysts. In a question-and-answer session after his presentation, he declined to talk about either the health of the economy or his personal health.

Over the summer, Apple confirmed that Jobs had experienced some problems but said it was a private matter. A false rumor that he was rushed to the hospital with shortness of breath briefly sent Apple's shares down this month.

Apple's stock ended the day down $6.18, or 5.6%, at $104.08.

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michelle.quinn@latimes.com

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