Nice, rounded corners. MicroSD card slot with far less jutting out. Two more USB 2.0 ports. These are just some of the changes—Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton would be quick to replace the word "changes" with "enhancements"—that have been announced in the Monday product launch of the new look in the credit-card sized computer costing $35 that has drawn so many fans and active users since the Model B launch in 2012. The announcement on Monday is all about the new Model B+. Same BCM2835 application processor as the Model B, running the same software, and still having 512MB RAM, the Model B+ cuts ahead of the original in a number of other ways. Commenting on the decision to add two extra USB connectors, James Adams, director of hardware, said the add-ons were really one of the biggest reasons that drove the ball, to add more USB. The team found, he said, that many users wanted to plug in their keyboard and mouse but also wanted a WiFi dongle; "Having those two extra USB ports is a massive win," he said. Putting the Model B+ to the test, Linux Voice said, "We tried to overload it with a mouse, keyboard, USB webcam and memory stick and it still worked."
Dominating attention on Monday about the launch announcement in tech news sites was also the replacement of the Model B card socket with the smaller, microSD card version. Also, there are 14 more GPIO pins which makes the GPIO header now with 40 pins. The team merged composite video and audio ports into one, which delivers better audio.
They improved power such that one can expect lower power consumption than with the model B. "By replacing linear regulators with switching ones we've reduced power consumption by between 0.5W and 1W," said Upton. The difference between 0.5 and 1 watt "isn't going to make much of a dent in your electricity bills, but it is very important," said Linux Voice. "The 0.5 – 1 watt saving can be thought as extra head room for the device, and should make it far less prone to power-related crashes."
The B+ model is now on sale. Upton noted that the Model B+ costs thirty-five dollars, just like the model B did. He also noted that, with all the enhancements, there will be users who will want to stick with the Model B. Why? "He said, "there are also a lot of people who will want the B, industrial customers in particular, who designed the Model B into products, so to support them we are going to be keeping the model B in the market, really just as long as there is industrial demand."
The B+ is available from many of the regular Raspberry Pi stockists. To go direct to the two main manufacturing partners, the Raspberry Pi web site provided the urls.