Apple upgrades both Retina and non-Retina MacBook Pro

The laptop is now available with faster processors and more RAM – but only the Retina Display model gets the top-spec chip.

Apple is now offering its 15-inch MacBook Pro with faster processors. Both non-Retina Display and Retina Display models are available with a new 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 processor (the i7-3820QM, model number fans), while the Retina Display only is available with 2.8GHz (i7-3840QM) chip. The non-Retina Display model is also available with 2.3GHz and 2.7GHz chip options.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display's standard – and maximum – RAM has been upped to 16GB from 8GB.

The standout feature of the Retina-display model is the high-density display. The new MacBook Pro's 15.4-inch (diagonal) screen has four times the number of pixels as the previous model at 2880 x 1800, at 220dpi. Despite its glossy screen, it has a 178-degree wide viewing angle, has 75 percent less reflection, and 29 percent higher contrast than the previous generation, Apple says. The company says it was able to achieve this reduction in glare by building the layers of the display into the laptop’s Unibody frame, eliminating the need for a separate cover of glass.

When we initially reviewed the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, we called out the lack of support for its display in most creative applications. Though Adobe has updated Photoshop and Illustrator for the display, the interfaces of tools from InDesign to Maya are still unsuited to the density of the screen – appearing either pixelated or too small.

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display weighs  2.56kg, heavier than a MacBook Air, but similar in weight to the non-Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro. Like the old Air, it has no optical drive. Closed, it’s 2.4cm thick— about as thick as the base of the old MacBook Pro but about as thin as an old Air. Unlike the old wedge-shape of the MacBook Air, this laptop has a uniform thickness.

The new MacBook Pro with Retina display offers up to seven hours of battery life and 30 days of standby. Apple noted that the battery cells take up much of the interior. Built around flash storage, users can opt (when ordering) to equip the new MacBook Pro with up to 768GB of internal flash storage. It also features the fastest graphics on a Mac laptop—Nvidia GeForce GT 650M.

The laptop also has 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0. a FaceTime HD camera, and dual microphones using beam-forming technology. There’s also the obligatory glass Multi-Touch trackpad and backlit keyboard.

It also features an SD-card slot, HDMI out, two USB3/USB2 ports (one on each side), two Thunderbolt ports, and a headphone port. The new MacBook Pro also ships with a new, thinner MagSafe 2 power port.

Pricing stays pretty much the same. Apple has also added faster chips to its 13-inch model, and dropped the price of that.

Additional reporting by Jackie Dove.


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