In case you hadn’t heard, Apple announced some new hardware today. Actually, they also announced a lot of Apps and OS features, but for many, the focus was on the new hardware. For the last couple of weeks (and even right up to announcement time), wild speculation made its rounds. There were rumors, rumbles, supposed leaks, wish lists, and probably a case or two of “just making it up for ratings” — like just about every Apple hardware release.
The extra attention really wasn’t that surprising, though, as this had been rumored to be the largest hardware refresh in a while, and those rumors included some models, like the Mac Pro, which haven’t been updated in a quite some time.
While, the hardware updates weren’t quite as extensive as we’d been anticipating, the updates we did get were quite substantial. It’s all the more significant for a software-focused event like WWDC. Here’s a brief summary of the new iron from Apple.
- “Ivy Bridge” Core i5/i7 Processor up to 2.0GHz (“”Turbo Boost” to 3.2GHz)
- Up to 8GB RAM
- Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated graphics card – up to 60% faster than previous models.
- USB 3.0
- Thunderbolt port
- Redesigned MagSafe 2 power connector
- 720p FaceTime HD Camera
- Up to 512 GB flash storage.
- Shipping immediately
In all, these weren’t too far off of what was expected. Processors were bumped up to the new “Ivy Bridge” chipset. USB got its 3.0 upgrade. The camera was updated to HD. Even the MagSafe power adapter got updated. Basically, it was a natural evolution of the previous two models.
While you can’t upgrade your memory past the factory RAM, there is the possibility that any SSDs other than the 512GB model are still 3Gb/s, meaning a 6Gb/s Mercury Aura Express may still offer a significant performance boost. You can be sure we’ll be checking this one closely.
MacBook Pro: 13- and 15-inch
- “Ivy Bridge” Core i5/i7 Processor up to 2.0GHz (“Turbo Boost” to 3.2GHz)
- 13-inch models are dual-core, 15 models are quad-core.
- Intel HD Graphics 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics cards
- USB 3.0
- Price points stay the same
- Shipping immediately
This too, was a “natural progression” update: Ivy Bridge, USB 3.0, faster graphics, etc. More important thing here is what wasn’t upgraded: the 17-inch model. It’s more than that, though; the 17-inch MacBook Pro is no longer available from the Apple Store. This model MacBook Pro (which we’re calling non-Retina) is incredibly easy to upgrade, and we’ve already got the memory and SSDs you need to really maximize their potential. Watch the blog for an announcement soon on that.
However, for those looking for more pixels got all they wanted and more with Apple’s newest creation…
MacBook Pro with Retina Display
- 2280 x 1800, 220ppi Retina Display
- 2.3-2.7GHz Quad-core i7 “Ivy Bridge” processor (“Turbo Boost” up to 3.7GHz)
- Up to 16GB memory.
- up to 768GB Flash Storage
- less than 3/4” thick when closed.
- Weighs under 4.5lbs.
- Intel HD Graphics 4000 & NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GPUs
- Up to 7 hours of battery life, up to 30 days of standby.
- MagSafe 2 power port
- Two Thunderbolt ports (up to 10 Gbps)
- Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps)
- HDMI port
- Headphone port
- SDXC card slot
- Quieter fan.
- $2199 for base model – shipping today
Apple’s big hardware announcement today was this next-generation MacBook Pro. Obviously, the big selling point is the huge Retina Display, which will make video editing, photo retouching and many other jobs much nicer.
Though roughly the same size as a “regular” 15-inch MacBook Pro, it has taken many of its cues from the MacBook Air. It is now incredibly thin, light for its size and is now flash-based.
On the flip side of that coin is that you lose both an Ethernet and a FireWire 800 port, though you can still connect via a Thunderbolt adapter if you wish. With such a radical redesign on the inside, we’re not quite sure yet what upgrades we’ll have for these, but if it can be done, you can be sure we’re on top of it.
The rest of the event was focused on Software, notably iOS 6 and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. iOS 6 features a lot more Siri integration (even on iPad) and an increased focus on “social” platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as a number of APIs, for programmers to add this functionality to their own apps. Previews of iOS are available to developers today; we’ll see the release version this fall.
Mountain Lion’s preview touched on many of the same shared elements as iOS – things like iCloud and shared data among devices were the main focus here. Siri’s influence is shown, too, with the addition of Dictation capabilities in all apps, even third-party ones. It’s nearly ready to go; we’ll see it next month in the Mac App Store for $19.99. If you buy a new Mac from Apple between now and then, though, you can get it for free.
So what are your thoughts on the WWDC announcements? Excited over the new portables? Disappointed there were no updates to the desktop line, save some minor tweaks to the Mac Pro? Was there something else you were hoping to see but didn’t? Let us know in the comments below.
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