Apple announces complete MacBook refresh, thinner 'Retina' MacBook Pro

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As it was widely expected, Apple announced updates to its notebook lineup across the board during its WWDC 2012 opening keynote. First up was the company’s widely popular MacBook Air, which received third-generation Intel processors (aka Ivy Bridge) with Intel HD 4000 graphics, along with increased storage and memory options, an improved 720p ‘Facetime’ camera and USB 3.0 support.

The smaller 11-inch model gets a 1.7GHz Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM as standard, with the 64GB SSD variant going for $999 and the 128GB option priced at $1,099 — $100 cheaper than its predecessor. Both maintain the 1366 x 768 resolution and have a battery life rating of 5 hours. Meanwhile, the base 13-inch MacBook Air gets a 1.8GHz Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM (upgradeable up to 8GB), and either 128GB or 256GB of flash storage (upgradeable up to 512GB). They’ start at $1,199 and $1,499, respectively, with 7-hour battery life.

The MacBook Pro lineup was also updated with Intel’s latest processors, Nvidia graphics and USB 3.0, while suffering one casualty (the 17-inch model is no more, apparently) and welcoming an all-new, 15.4-inch Retina Display packing model that represents the next-generation of Apple’s professional-grade notebooks.

Whereas the updated 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros maintain the same profile as their predecessors, the redesigned ‘Retina’ MacBook Pro is an impressive 0.71 inches thin — almost as thin as the MacBook Air’s 0.68 inches — while weighing under four and a half pounds. The display is 15.4 inches across and sports a 220ppi 2880 x 1800 native resolution. Apple claims it has improved viewing angles and reduced glare by 75%.

 

Under the hood is a 2.3GHz quad-core i7 processor paired with 8GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics cards, and 256GB of flash storage. That’s the base model, which actually starts at the same $2,199 of the higher-end, non-Retina 15-inch MacBook Pro. Optional upgrades include up to a 2.7GHz processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 768GB flash storage — but you’ll have to pay dearly for those.

Other noteworthy improvements include dual Thunderbolt ports, dual microphones “to enable a new generation of voice applications”, better speakers, USB 3.0, HDMI-out (finally no need for adapters), and a thinner MagSafe port, as well as the usual SD card reader, webcam and backlit keyboard.

Applications such as Mail, Safari, iMovie, iPhoto were updated to support the new screen resolution, along with Final Cut Pro which now has room to spare for you to edit videos in full 1080p. All new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models will start shipping today.

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