WWDC: 2012’s MacBook Update

David Liu June 11, 2012 0
WWDC: 2012’s MacBook Update

At the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) earlier today,  Apple announced the next update to the MacBook Pro line. Contrary to the rumor we heard last week (and more in line with earlier ones), updates do include a 220-dpi Retina-branded display, along with a powerful NVidia GT650M graphics processor.

Said GPU pushes an unheard-of 2880×1800 display (four times the resolution of the incumbent 1440×900 screen), continuing Apple’s trend of sticking crystal-clear, ultra-high-resolution displays in everything they make. The Retina display is only available in the 15″ MBP and is not standard, commanding a $400 premium over the more pedestrian 1440×900 screen. Interestingly, the higher-spec 15″ MBP is actually thinner and lighter than the non-Retina version, coming in at 0.71″ (only 0.03″ thicker than the 13″ MacBook Air) versus 0.91″.

Performance options include an available 16GB of RAM, a 2.7GHz quad-core Ivy Bridge core-i7 processor, and 768GB of solid-state storage. On the I/O front, both Ethernet and FireWire 800 have been axed in favor of a pair each of USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports. The older standards are still available, though, as Thunderbolt dongles. Other upgrades include a redesigned, “nearly imperceptible” fan and a more svelte Magsafe connector (which, of course, means incompatibility with older-generation Magsafe chargers). Battery life remains unchanged at 7 hours (although they do promise up to 30 days‘ standby time), and a bit of weight has been shed: the 15″ now weighs 4.46 lbs instead of the previous 5.6.

Additionally, the 17″ MacBook Pro has officially been killed off, leaving the high-resolution 15″ MBP to soldier on as the lineup’s biggest member.

The $1799 you’ll pay for an “entry-level” 15-inch MacBook Pro gets you a 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 processor and a 500GB HDD, but it can be specced up all the way to a massive $2799 with the Retina screen, a 2.7GHz Core i7, and a half-terabyte SSD.

The MacBook Air hasn’t gone through quite as massive of a change, although it does get USB 3.0 (replacing USB 2.0), Ivy Bridge and its integrated Intel HD4000 graphics (replacing its Sandy Bridge counterpart), twice the RAM capacity, and the new Magsafe connector. The 13″ MacBook Air also received a $100 price cut, bringing its MSRP to $1199. Dimensions, battery life, screens, and weight all remain unchanged.

Apple’s press release is contained below.

Show Press Release

Apple Updates MacBook Air and Current Generation MacBook Pro with Latest Processors and New Graphics

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apple® today updated MacBook Air® with the latest Intel Core processors, faster graphics and flash storage that is up to twice as fast as the previous generation.* MacBook Air is the ultimate everyday notebook, and with new lower prices it is more affordable than ever. The current generation 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook® Pro have also been updated with the latest Intel Core processors and powerful discrete graphics from NVIDIA. Apple’s popular AirPort Express® has been redesigned to include features previously available only in AirPort Extreme®.

“Today we’ve updated the entire MacBook line with faster processors, graphics, memory, flash storage and USB 3 connectivity,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We’ve made the world’s best portable family even better and we think users are going to love the performance advances in both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.”

Available in 11-inch and 13-inch designs, the new MacBook Air features the latest Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors and is perfect for browsing the web, making movies and managing photos. The new integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 is up to 60 percent faster and gives the MacBook Air plenty of power to tackle games and videos.** MacBook Air features flash storage up to four times faster than traditional hard drives for instant-on performance and fast access to your apps and data. Now with 4GB of faster memory, configurable up to 8GB, you can run memory-intensive apps with ease. MacBook Air also features a new FaceTime® HD camera that delivers high-definition 720p.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro features the latest Intel Core i5 or Core i7 dual-core processors up to 2.9 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz. The 15-inch MacBook Pro features the latest Intel Core i7 quad-core processors up to 2.7 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics. Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro can be configured with a 1TB hard drive or SSDs up to 512GB that are up to twice as fast as the previous generation.

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro both feature a high-speed Thunderbolt port and two USB 3.0 ports to easily connect to external displays and a wide variety of high performance peripherals. The 13-inch MacBook Air, and 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro deliver up to 7 hours of wireless battery life, and the 11-inch MacBook Air delivers up to 5 hours. Mac® notebook batteries use advanced chemistry and Adaptive Charging technology to provide up to 1,000 recharges.***

The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro ship with OS X® Lion. Starting today, customers who purchase a Mac are eligible for a free copy of OS X Mountain Lion when it becomes available. Mountain Lion introduces innovative features including the all new Messages app, Notification Center, system-wide Sharing, AirPlay® Mirroring, Game Center and the enhanced security of Gatekeeper. With iCloud® built into the foundation of OS X, Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to keep your content up to date across all your devices.

Priced at just $99, the new AirPort Express features a completely redesigned compact enclosure and new wireless and connectivity capabilities. Simultaneous dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi allows users to easily create a network that delivers optimal performance and range. The AirPort Express also features an audio-out port to connect external powered speakers or an A/V receiver and use AirPlay to wirelessly stream from iTunes® on your Mac or iOS device. A USB 2.0 port allows you to share a printer wirelessly over your network, and an additional ethernet port lets you connect to other computers and network devices. Setup is built right into OS X and iOS and can be done in just a few simple steps, and with AirPort Utility 6.0 for OS X Lion and iOS you can access a visual map of your network for viewing and reconfiguring devices.

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