Apple's announcements this week expanded the range of the MacBook Pro product line, which now covers starting prices from $1,199 to $2,499.
In effect, the Pro line has absorbed the aluminum-cased models from the MacBook line, which is now reduced to a single model with a white plastic case, a look that debuted over three years ago.
Some "Pro" models now have features that used to be hallmarks of the basic MacBook notebooks: integrated graphics and no ExpressCard slot. I think of these as consumer-oriented choices, and I'll throw in the standard glossy screen finish on the 13-inch and 15-inch models. A glossy screen looks better for movies, but it's unacceptable for some professional users.
Consumers should be happy to migrate to the MacBook Pro line, since they can now get features and options never before offered on MacBooks: FireWire 800, for example, and support for up to 8GB of DRAM.
Professional users, on the other hand, are now reduced to just one good choice: the 17-inch MacBook Pro, which includes an ExpressCard slot and can be ordered with an antiglare screen.
So in a way, Apple's newly expanded notebook line is narrower than it used to be -- there's room both above and below, especially if the plastic MacBook is allowed to fade gracefully into history.