Apple\u2019s Todd Benjamin, director of portables worldwide product marketing, took a few minutes out of his hectic schedule to speak with Macworld UK Wednesday.He offered a whistle-stop tour of some of the new features in Apple\u2019s new MacBook systems."The performance improvement in these systems over the preceding systems is dramatic," he explained. "Performance is going to be a really big draw [for customers]," he said."The improvement will be evident to anybody who has been using a G4 notebook," he added.Faster, brighter and betterApple claims the new portable to be up to five times faster than comparable iBooks. A range of tests published on the company\u2019s website confirms the claims.Benjamin stressed the numerous enhancements in the new systems as compared to the iBooks and 12-inch PowerBooks these new machines replace. "The new MacBooks have a really compelling feature set," he said.The new MacBooks include a 79 percent brighter display, much faster processors, Sudden Motion Sensors, MagSafe power cables, Front Row and integrated iSight cameras. Benjamin called this "a very robust feature set."Apple has been describing the new Macs as boasting "glossy" displays. Benjamin explained what this means. "We say glossy because when you look at the screens you\u2019ll see a glossy appearance. It means colors are much richer; they look great," he said.Benjamin\u00a0said users watching DVDs on a new portable MacBook should appreciate the extra luster. "I think people will really enjoy these displays," he said.Unlike previous-generation iBooks, the new MacBooks simultaneously support full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 1,920\u00a0by 1,200 pixels on an external display. IBooks couldn\u2019t do this.Thin, well-featured Macs keep level price"The enclosure is amazing," Benjamin explained. "The machines are 20 percent thinner than the previous iBooks." They weigh 5.2 pounds, which is "slightly more" than 12-inch PowerBooks, "but you get a 13-inch screen," he observed.Apple has also maintained a general equivalence on price, though the entry-level model is 50 pounds (US$94) more expensive than the previous entry-level iBook. "But you are getting plenty of extra features," Benjamin explained. "It\u2019s fabulous value for the money."The mid-range MacBook (899 pounds) costs the same as the iBook model it replaces, while the new black top-of-the-range model actually costs a little less, he said: "This model is 70 pounds cheaper than the 12-inch PowerBook G4," he observed.However, with the only differences between the 2.0GHz white and black MacBooks evidently being the hard drive size and color, it\u2019s strange to note that the white model costs 939 pounds with an 80GB drive installed\u201497 pounds cheaper than the black model. This matter wasn\u2019t addressed during the conversation.Please use Apple CareThere have been numerous reports recently of MacBook Pro owners experiencing some problems with their new Macs. One well-documented problem involves a loud whining sound when the machines are in use. Benjamin had nothing to add to this debate, but advised that Apple\u2019s customers contact the company if they experience problems."Anyone who has an issue with their system should contact Apple Care," he explained. "We offer 90 days free telephone support and a one-year warranty. Anyone with a problem should get in contact."Despite these reported problems in the first-generation MacBook Pros, Benjamin\u2019s pretty confident in the new Macs."These are really compelling, well-featured, exciting products," he said.- Jonny Evans, Macworld.co.ukFor related news coverage, read Apple Launches 13-Inch MacBooks.Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.