You'll immediately recognize them at coffee shops, libraries, offices, college campuses, parks, and just about anywhere people are working or relaxing. The little glowing Apple on the top of the cover of these popular notebook computers is a clear indication that the person on the other side of the computer is using an Apple MacBook.

But Apple MacBooks come in different flavors, so to speak, even though they may look similar. In this article we’ll go over the ins and outs of MacBooks and also find out why they are one of the most respected brands in the industry.

In the beginning
Apple wasn’t the first company to produce notebook computers, and truth be known, Apple entered the notebook business rather late in the game: May 2006. By then notebook computers were produced by many other companies, and the competition was formidable with rivals such as HP, Dell, Compaq, and others.

But as history shows, the MacBook notebook computer became, and still is, an enormously popular computer product with the general public. But MacBooks have evolved over the years and there are now different models, which are geared for specific users and needs.

Why a MacBook?
Owners of MacBooks are generally very loyal and enthusiastic about their Apple notebooks. They point to the solid iOS operating system, which avoids common PC problems such as system crashes, erratic behavior, BSODs (blue screens of death), and other ailments. They like the elegant design and layout of the notebook, its ease of operation, and the high level of customer service provided by Apple.

In some circles, owning a MacBook is even considered a status symbol or statement of owning the best money can buy. But for most MacBook fans, they enjoy these computers because they are easy to maintain, easy to use, and easy to avoid computer problems often associated with Microsoft Windows computers.

The Models
There are two basic models of the MacBook computers currently available. The MacBook Pro, which is aimed at those who want maximum performance and storage space, and the MacBook Air, which is produced for people who want a light and responsive notebook that is highly portable with lightning fast access to programs and data.

MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro is the workhorse of Apple notebooks and is used for those who want a laptop computer that is powerful and highly configurable for different storage options.

The MacBook Pro currently comes in two different display screen sizes; 13-inch and 15-inch. They come in standard display resolutions and Apple’s Retina HD display, which provides the sharpest detail of any notebook computer to date. For those who demand the highest detail for graphical applications or want the best resolution possible, the MacBook Pro Retina is the choice.

The MacBook Pros are configurable with Intel i5 or  i7 dual-core or quad core processors, 4 or 8GB of RAM, hard drive with storage capacity up to 1-terabyte or a solid state drive up to 512GB.

Standard features for the MacBook Pro notebook computer include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, three USB ports, two Thunderbolt ports, FaceTime camera, full-sized backlit keyboard, SDXC slot, and the current OS X Apple operating system.

MacBook Air
When the MacBook Air was first introduced in January 2009, it created a wave of interest and astonishment because of its extremely light profile. Apple touted it as the thinnest notebook in the world.

The magic behind the MacBook Air’s super-thin look is due to its technology—there are no moving parts in the notebook. In lieu of a standard hard disk drive, the MacBook Air has a solid state drive—no moving parts and almost instantaneous access to files and programs.

Today’s MacBook Airs carry on the tradition of being thin and powerful with the lightest 11-inch display model weighing in at only 2.38 pounds, while the “heavier” 13-inch display MacBook Air tipping the scales at less than three pounds.

The “air” designation for these notebooks is certainly well deserved and will be perfect for those who want a very portable notebook without sacrificing performance and features.

The MacBook Air notebook computers come with i5 or i7 Intel dual-core or quad-core processors, and virtually all the features that the standard MacBook Pros come with. However there is no option for a standard hard disk drive as the MacBook Air is configured for solid state drives up to 512GB.

An elegant notebook
The late Steve Jobs' philosophy on creating new Apple products basically revolved around function following form. He wanted his products to be elegant looking and simple to use. The MacBook line of notebook computers have certainly filled these criteria and millions of MacBook owners agree.

Frank Ling is the National Technology Examiner for He is a writer, professional photographer, and video editor. One of his all-time favorite jobs was working at a large video game publisher as a QA trainer for testing game software.

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