Last Wednesday Apple updated its MacBook Pro with Retina Display lineup with new processors and more affordable prices. The 13-inch MBP with Retina Display now starts at $1,499 (with 128GB of flash storage), and for $1,699 you can opt for a model with a new 2.6GHz processor and 256GB of flash storage. The 15-inch MBP with Retina also received a processor upgrades now featuring models complete with 2.4GHz quad-core and 2.7 GHz quad-core processors. Additionally, the Pro’s slimmer cousin the 13-inch MacBook Air also saw a price drop and now starts at $1,399 (with 256GB of flash storage). These new MBP and MBA models are available at these prices and with these specs today at Apple.com, Apple Stores, and authorized resellers.
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…)
A couple months after updating the MacBook Pros, Apple has gone ahead and reinvigorated their MacBook Air and Mac mini products. The thin-and-light ultraportable notebook now boasts faster Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, the high-speed Thunderbolt I/O port, and a backlit keyboard. The 11-inch model is available in two customizable SKUs. The base $999 model packs a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 2GB of memory, 64GB of flash storage, and Intel HD Graphics 3000. The $1,199 model upgrades the memory to 4GB and the flash storage to 128GB. Moving along to the 13-inch model, two additional SKUs are offered. The $1,299 model features a 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB memory,128GB flash storage, and Intel HD Graphics 3000. The $1,599 model upgrades the flash storage to 256GB. Certain models can be customized to feature Intel Core i7 processors (up to 1.8GHz) and upgraded flash memory (up to 256GB). The new incredibly thin MacBook Air measures 0.11-inches at its thinnest point and 0.68-inches at its thickest. Apple claims it is is up to twice as fast as the previous generation thanks to the upgraded Intel processors. The 11-inch model (at 2.38 pounds) provides up to 5 hours of battery life, while the 13-inch model (2.96 pounds) offers up to 7 hours of battery life. It comes with a full size backlit keyboard and an improved glass Multi-Touch trackpad. Ports include MagSafe for power, 2 USB 2.0, headphone jack, Thunderbolt, and an SD Card slot (on the 11-inch model only). WiFi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 are included; the USB Ethernet Adapter ($29) can be purchased separately. Note that the $999 MacBook Air is the base laptop Apple offers today; the white plastic MacBook has been discontinued.
Like the newly enhanced MacBook Air, the Mac mini is speedier and packs Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and the Thunderbolt port. Additionally, graphics can be upgraded to AMD Radeon HD. Three SKUs are offered. The base $599 model comes with 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 2GB memory, 500GB hard drive, and Intel HD Graphics 3000. The $799 model upgrades the processor to 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, the memory to 4GB, and the graphics to AMD Radeon HD 6630M. These two SKUs can be customized to feature upgraded memory (up to 8GB) and hard drive space (up to 750GB); the pricier SKU can be configured with a 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7. The third and final SKU is the Mac mini with Lion Server and its specs include: 2.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 4GB memory, Dual 500GB 7200-rpm hard drives, and Intel HD Graphics 3000 for $999; memory and hard drive capacities can be upgraded. Ports include Gigabit Ethernet, Firewire 800, HDMI, Thunderbolt, 4 USB 2.0, SDXC card slot, and audio in/out. WiFi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 included. Notice that I haven’t mentioned anything about the Superdrive; that’s because Apple’s decided not to include a CD/DVD drive in the new Mac mini. A bold move if you ask me. BYO keyboard, mouse, and display.
Speaking of displays, in addition to updating their computers Apple has also given their Cinema Display a minor refresh. The newly branded 27-inch Thunderbolt Display features the 16:9 edge-to-edge glass design, a 2560 x 1440 resolution with IPS technology (that is, an ultra wide 178 degree viewing angle), and it’s the world’s first display to include the Thunderbolt I/O port. The display also includes includes a built-in FaceTime HD video camera for video conferencing, a 2.1 speaker system for high quality audio, an integrated MagSafe charger to keep Mac notebooks charged, three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and one Gigabit Ethernet port. The cost is $999.
All three products–the MacBook Air, Mac mini, and Thunderbolt Display–are all available today. The new computers come preinstalled with Apple’s latest and greatest operating system Mac OS X Lion. Get a closer look at everything in the galleries below. Official PR sits after the break.
Today Steve Jobs hosted an Apple keynote presentation appropriately titled Back to the Mac. In it he demonstrated the new version of iLife ’11, highlighting major upgrades to iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand; introduced FaceTime for the Mac; previewed the next version of Mac OS X; and unveiled two new MacBook Air notebooks. It’s breakdown time.
iLife ’11: The latest version of iLife packs the usual suspects–iPhone, iMovie, GarageBand, iWeb, and iDVD. The former three have been given major upgrades in functionality.
iPhoto ’11 features a new full-screen mode. With a click of a button (the green [+] located at the top left corner of the window), desktop applications, the menu bar, and other distractions disappear. In full-screen mode you take advantage of more screen real estate when viewing pictures in Events, Faces, Places, Albums, and Projects. Projects is a new way to view your collection of books and letterpress cards on a wooden bookshelf. The ability to create custom letterpress cards is a new feature; 15 distinct themes are at your disposal to customize and order directly from Apple to send to relatives and friends. When you go to create a book or letterpress card, a new dynamic theme browser in carousel style will be presented to you. There are also a bunch of new slideshow themes including Holiday Mobile, Reflections, and Places. Want to email a group of photos to a friend? Now you can create and send an email message within iPhoto; no need to jump out and into a mail client. You can choose from eight themes to customize how you want your pictures to be presented in the email. And lastly there’s Facebook enhancements. Within iPhoto you can now publish photos directly to your wall or to an existing album, and if your friends leave comments on your photos you’ll be able to view them in iPhoto. You can also tag faces and browse all of your Facebook albums in iPhoto; no need to jump out and into a browser.
iMovie ’11 features new audio editing tools. Detailed wave forms are color coded, so now you can see where audio levels are too loud or quiet and adjust them properly. Also there’s a new single-row view that shows you your entire movie project in one horizontal row, making it easier to edit your soundtrack. One-step effects are also at your disposal. Adding visual effects like instant replay, flash and hold, and jump cuts at beats can be done with minimal amount of clicks. The new People Finder feature works similarly to Faces in iPhoto; the software will analyze your video to identify the parts with people in them. It also finds the close-ups, medium shots, or wide angles making it easier to find these specific shots during an edit session. There are two new themes: sports and news. And now you can publish your movies directly Vimeo,CNN iReport, and Apple Podcast Producer in addition to iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, and your mobile devices. Last there’s movie trailers. You can choose from 15 templates to create professional-looking movie trailers out of your clips. Apple commissioned the London Symphony Orchestra to record (in Abbey Road Studios) and perform original tracks for you to use when creating movie trailers. Outline and storyboard views make it simple to put together a movie trailer in no time.
GarageBand ’11 includes two new features called Flex Time and Groove Matching. Flex Time allows you to fix timing mistakes on the fly; you can literally click and drag any part of a waveform to change the timing of a note or beat. Groove Matching is described as ”an automatic spell checker for bad rhythm.” If one (or multiple) instruments appears to be out of rhythm, all you have to do is select the one instrument that has the perfect rhythm (called the Groove Track) and all the other instrument tracks will instantly match it. A new feature called “How Did I Play?” gives you the opportunity to play along with a piano or guitar lesson, record yourself, and test how you’re doing in real time. Like Guitar Hero, the GarageBand lesson will keep track of your performance with a performance meter and show you missed notes in red to help you perfect your skills. A track progess bar will show you how better (or worse) you’re performing a particular song by date. Finally, there’s new lessons for piano and guitar, as well as new guitar amps and stompbox effects.
iLife ’11 is available for purchase today at $49. A family pack, which includes 5 licenses, goes for $79. Keep in mind iLife ships free with every new Mac. (Click here for more…)