After a long old wait, Apple have finally revealed the next-generation of their MacBook Pro line. And for once, the Cupertino company seem to have made good on every rumour that’s made the rounds on the web these past few months. “The very best computer for today, and for the future”, according to Apple, it packs a Retina Display into a thinner chassis, along with SSD storage, Intel Ivy Bridge processors and NVIDIA Keplar-series graphics.
A 15.4 inch model, the next gen MacBook Pro introduces the Retina Display to the laptop line. Running at a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1800, it’s hitting 220 ppi, or 5,184,000 pixels, or four times the pixels of the last generation, which Apple claim will be a real boon to photo editors. Mac Apps will need to be updated to take full advantage of the higher resolution however. Better viewing angles with reduced glare and higher contrast ratios were also touted.
The chassis gets a fair bit slimmer too, at just 0.71-inches thick, making it 1/4 thinner than the current Pro. At 4.46 pounds, it’s the lightest Pro ever too. Again, a large glass trackpad features, alongside a backlit keyboard.
Ivy Bridge Intel processors power the machine, with configurations starting at 2.3GHz quad-core i7s and going up to 2.7GHz quad-core i7s, and as much as 16GB of 1600Mhz RAM available for those looking to splash out. Ivy Bridge leads to a 60% integrated graphics performance boost, though that’s not all that important, thanks to the the discrete NVIDIA chips onboard. Their latest Kepler series GT 650M graphics is inside, showed blasting through a Retina-display updated version of Diablo III.
Flash storage is now also in the MacBook Pro. You can configure up to a 768GB SSD, allowing for super-fast boot speeds and fast application loading.
Connectivity options on the next generation MacBook include an SD slot, HDMI and two USB 3.0 ports, as well as the thinner new MagSafe 2 connection, two Thunderbolt ports and a headphone jack. There are also stereo speakers, as well as dual-mics, useful for clear audio when Facetime HD video calling with the built-in webcam and OS X Mountain Lion’s new dictation feature. FireWire 800 and Gigabit Ethernet Thunderbolt adapters will also ship soon, with 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 handling wireless connectivity.
Something had to give however, and as expected, it’s the optical drive. You’ll need an external drive to watch DVDs or Blu-ray’s, which is a shame considering the insane display on show. Same goes for disc-based software. Still, that won’t hurt Apple’s HD iTunes movie downloads or Mac App Store sales we guess.
Even with all this going on, battery life matches previous models. 30 days of standby time and seven hours of typical usage per charge are on offer, with a video showing the new MacBook Pro’s internals dominated by battery packs.
As expected, OS X Mountain Lion will be a free upgrade when it launches in July. OS X Lion comes pre-installed.
“The new, next-generation MacBook Pro with Retina display. It is the future and, best of all, it is going to start shipping today,” said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple.
And start shipping it will, so long as you’ve got the pennies. As ever, Apple products command a premium, and this being their new computing flagship, it’s going to get pricey. You’re looking at $2199 for the entry level model with a 2.3GHz quad-core chip, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage. Expect it to easily push $3,000 once you’ve maxed out the build-to-order specs.
Still, even the most cynical Apple haters can’t complain about this one. Ticking pretty much every rumoured spec on our wish-list, our bank account just shed a single, emptying tear.
We’ll have more from WWDC 2012 later, so stay glued to Tech Digest for all the details.