At this year’s World Wide Developer’s Conference, Apple spent equal time talking about hardware and software updates. The annual event heated up when the MacBook lineup received a healthy dose of upgraded processors and graphics, among other spec bumps. Also, a brand new “next-generation” MacBook Pro was unveiled. Later, the mobile iOS that powers iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches was significantly enhanced with the introduction of iOS 6. For all the details, read on.
The MacBook Air was refreshed with the following spec bumps. The thin-and-light laptop now packs the 3rd-gen Intel Core processors, also known as Ivy Bridge; these dual-core i7s can reach speeds up to 2.0GHz (or up to 3.2GHz with Turbo Boost). Memory reaches 8GB 1600MHz, and graphics can perform up to sixty percent faster. Flash storage has been beefed up to 512 GB and is 2x speedier featuring a 500MBps read speed. The Air also includes a USB 3 port and a FaceTime HD camera (720p). There are two 11-inch and two 13-inch configurations, both shipping today and both starting at $100 cheaper than the previous generation. The 11-inch MacBook Air with 64GB starts at $999 and the 13-inch Air with128GB starts at $1,199.
The MacBook Pro was also refreshed and here are the note-worthy spec bumps. Just like the new Airs, the updated Pros now include the 3rd-gen “Ivy Bridge” Intel Core processors; these dual-core i7 processors reach speeds up to 2.7GHz (or up to 3.7GHz with Turbo Boost). Memory reachers 8GB 1600MHz. Graphics are upgraded to NVIDIA’s GeForce GT 650M (based on the graphics chip maker’s new Kepler architecture), with up to 1GB video memory that is up to sixty percent faster than before. USB 3 is on board. There are two 13-inch and two 15-inch MacBook Pro configurations, both shipping today and they start at the same price ranges as the previous generation Pros. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.5GHz processor speed starts at $1,199 and the 15-inch Pro with a 2.3GHz speed starts at $1,799.
And now we move onto what Apple is branding the “next generation” MacBook Pro. The company says it’s “the best computer we’ve ever made.” In short, what makes this new breed of Pro so special is that it’s made thinner and lighter and it packs a gorgeous Retina Display. You want hard specs, so here they are. This new Pro measures at 0.71 inches thin (a quarter thinner than the standard Pro) and it weighs 4.4 pounds. The 15.4-inch screen is a Retina Display with an impressive resolution of 2880×1800, packing 4x the number of pixels than the previous-gen Pro. With 220 pixels per inch, Apple crowns this “the world’s highest-resolution notebook display.” Lion has been updated to take advantage of the higher resolution; Mac apps like Mail, Safari, iMovie and iPhoto will be compatible, along with others like Aperture, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk Autocad, and the game Diablo 3. Just like they had to do when the Retina Display came to the iPhone, software developers will have to update their apps to make them Retina-ready. Jumping inside, the Pro runs on Intel’s fastest quad-core processors, that is Core i7s up to 2.7GHz (or up to 3.7GHz with Turbo Boost); memory goes up to 16GB 1600MHz; next-gen NVIDIA Kepler graphics GeForce GT 650M; up to 768GB fast flash storage; up to 7 hours of battery life with 30 days of standby time. Across the left-side of the powerful, noticeably thinner lappy you’ll find an SD card slot, HDMI, and USB 3 ports; along the right side there’s a MagSafe 2 port (the new port has been made thinner to fit the design), two Thunderbolt ports, USB 3, and a headphone jack. That’s right, this Pro has ditched an optical drive, FireWire, and Gigabit Ethernet. Apple sells adapters if you require these. Additionally, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display features a glass multitouch trackpad, backlit keyboard, 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones, stereo speakers, and a new internal fan system that outputs nearly imperceptible sound. Two configurations of the next-gen Pro ship today starting at $2,199. (Click here for more…)
It has been close to a year since Apple rejuvenated its MacBook Pro line of laptops with fresh processors and graphics chips. This go around the engineering team decided not to change the lappy’s aesthetics but instead upgrade only the internals. Neatly hidden inside the aluminum unibody MBPs are Intel’s latest Core i5 and Core i7 “Sandy Bridge” dual/quad-core processors, Intel HD Graphics 3000, and AMD’s beefier Radeon HD graphics, depending on the screen size (13, 15, and 17 inches). Take note that Apple has ditched NVIDIA’s mobile graphics cards for AMD’s latest and greatest.
Another new addition to the MacBook Pro lineup is a port called Thunderbolt I/O. Apple teamed up with Intel to invent a rehashed version of the DisplayPort with dual copper wire-based Light Peak technology; it doubles as a video out port and a way to transfer data with speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. For comparison’s sake, Thunderbolt can move data to and from peripherals up to 20 times faster than with USB 2.0 (480 Mbps) and more than 12 times faster than with FireWire 800. It also happens to best Intel’s next-gen USB 3.0 which promises to reach speeds of up to 5 Gbps. With existing adapters Thunderbolt can support all kinds of throughput including DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, and VGA; Mini DisplayPort support is native. Thunderbolt can daisy-chain up to six peripherals; and speaking of which LaCie and Promise are currently developing Thunderbolt-ready RAID arrays and high capacity external hard drives. Though the MBPs are the first products to include the Thunderbolt port, Intel expects other manufacturers to build it into their computers by early 2012. It’ll be interesting to see if Apple can pioneer the adoption of yet another new display/transfer port. They did it with FireWire way back when, so we’ll see. With Intel on board, they’ve got a fighting chance.
New processors, graphics, Thunderbolt I/O, higher capacity hard drives, and an improved FaceTime 720p HD camera find their way into the refreshed MacBook Pros. Hop after the break to find a full rundown of the new 13, 15, and 17-inchers, including specifications and price. They are all available to customize and purchase today.
On Tuesday Apple refreshed their Macbook Pro line, at long last. The 15.4 inch and 17 inch models now have 2010 Intel processors; the 13 inch model is sticking with Intel Core 2 Duo (2.4GHz/2.53 GHz). The 15.4 inch MBP can be puchased with a Core i5 (2.4 GHz/2.53 GHz) or Core i7 (2.66 GHz) processor, while the 17 inch MBP can be configured with this i5 (2.53 GHz) and i7 (2.66GHz). The 15 and 17 inch models got fitted with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M (256MB/512MB); the 13 incher’s got the NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated graphics.
The GeForce GT 330M features “automatic graphics switching technology” a process whereby the computer automatically switches between using the integrated and discrete graphics. Apple describes how it works: it “switches graphics processors on the fly to give you performance when you need it (when you’re playing the latest 3D game, for example) and better battery efficiency when you don’t (such as when you’re reading email). MacBook Pro transfers the workload between the powerful discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M graphics processor and integrated Intel HD Graphics so seamlessly, you won’t even notice.” That last part there is key; the user never has to worry about toggling on/off a graphics card. Depending on what type of application you’re using, it’s all done on the fly.
All MBPs come standard with 4GB of RAM and a hard drive (250GB for 13 inch, 320GB/500GB for 15 & 17 inch). There’s an option to swap out the HD for a solid state drive (128GB/256GB/512GB) on all models. Battery life on the 13 inch remains at 10 hours, while the 15 & 17 inch models will manage 8 to 9 hours on a single charge. There are three display options for the 15 inch: Glossy Widescreen (1440×900), Hi-Res Glossy Widescreen (1680×1050), and Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen (1680×1050). The 17 inch comes with a 1920×1200 display, with glossy and antiglare options.
The unibody enclosure, ports and all, have stayed the same. The only new addition is one that cannot be seen, only touched: the multitouch trackpad now supports inertial scrolling, “an intuitive way to scroll through large photo libraries, lengthy documents and long web sites” just like you’re used to on the iPhone.
The 13 inch MBP starts at $1,199; the 15 inch base price has jumped $100 to $1,799; and the 17 inch starts at $2,299. They are all available to purchase today. Apple’s online store says all 15 & 17 inch models ship within 24 hours, but give the 13 inch 2-3 days to ship.
Long overdue, but they’re finally here. Faster processors, better graphics chips, new customizations. Here’s the deal: if you purchased a MBP within the last year, stick with that you got; if it’s been longer than that and you’ve been waiting for the new Intel processors to hit the MBP with bated breath, go for it. Look after the break for the full list of specs and customization options.