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All New MacBook Pro; Updated MacBook Air

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.

MacBook Air

  • “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
  • Thunderbolt
  • 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.

Software Updates

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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  • Hi,

    Unfortunately (for owc and upgraders) they said that new Air has 500MBps disk speed so they’ll use SATA 3 interface and will probably have same performance as OWC Aura. Is there any chance to make 1TB SSD for Air? :)

    Retina MacBook Pro has different shape of flash storage than air, I hope you started working on your own ssds for new mbp. RAM is definitely not upgradable. :/

  • I have chatted with Apple’s online chat and they said that both the RAM and SSD on the new Retina MacBook Pro are non-upgradeable. :( So looks like the Macs are becoming even more like the iOS devices. Hence I guess that is why they makes them so recyclable, because that’s it.

    I’m glad I got the last model MBP 17″.

  • The SSD does look to be removable as it has what appears to be an mSATA connection – but it appears to be a different design to what has been available in the MacBook Air.

  • *Macbook Airs have (1) One Thunderbolt port, not two.

    Luke – RAM upgrades on machines with it soldered to the boards are extremely unlikely. May want to change that order.
    (OWC – buy a logic board soldering machine? mail in upgrades?)

    I’m not sure it’s fair to criticize the next gen MBP product yet. If it helps, consider the Retina 15″ as the new 17″ and the price makes a lot more sense.

    New Airport Express is pretty significant, first major change in 8 years (802.11n notwithstanding).

    Mac Pro’s are confusing. Not sure whats going on there- still have to keep the 27″ LED around for it, and the lack of Thunderbolt & BT4.0 are odd, to say the least.

    The SSD in the retina MBP looks upgradable, but not the same physical size as the Toshiba Blade SSDs in the MBA’s.

  • Disappointed in no desktop upgrades. The MP only got a processor bump but is still Sandy Bridge. Nothing on minis or iMacs. While iOS6 and ML sound good the hardware was disappointing if you discount the laptops. Again, Apple is doing what they want, not what their users want. I find myself less and less enthralled with Apple and the fact that they are becoming a mobil hardware company. It’s no wonder Apple dropped computer from their company name. Wouldn’t surprise me if they because Apple Mobil Inc.

  • If you go check out the “Design” section you can see that the new Retina MBP has it’s memory and flash storage built into the board. You will not be able to upgrade, so make sure you deck out the system at purchase.

  • Ordered the Retina unit today… chose 8GB ram just hoping that you guys will find an upgrade path… please keep us posted upgradeability of both on the RAM and the SSD…

  • BIG disappointment on the new macbook pro. You are trading in the optical drive, ethernet, memory upgrades, drive upgrades so Apple can have a wow factor with a slightly thinner system. Its a bit arrogant to do this on the back of the consumers wallet. Wait until folks drop $2500–$4000 on these systems with a standard 1440 display with 220dp. That is not professional grade to me.

    Mac Pro update was a joke. No thunderbolt or an i reading this wrong?

    No iMAC update in 15 months

    No MAC Mini Update in 11 Months

    Macbook Air was a minimal upgrade and again a non-professional proprietary systems

    I predict the MAc Pro will be gone in a year

    • “BIG disappointment on the new macbook pro.”

      Why are complaining about the Retina MacBook Pro?

      Not like Apple is preventing you from buying the regular 15″ MacBook Pro.