New MacBook Retina Pros Starting at $1,299

Posted by at 4:30 pm on October 22, 2013

As part of its wide-ranging presentation of new products today, Apple has announced new MacBook Pro models that are available immediately. Retina-quality displays are now standard across the line, while prices on the starter models have dropped by $200. The basic 13-inch model now sports a 2.4Ghz i5 “Haswell” processor, 4GB of RAM standard and a 128GB SSD (PCIe-based) for storage, along with 802.11ac for Wi-Fi and Thunderbolt 2 for connectors. Both models are 0.71 inches thick, with the 13-inch weighing 3.46 pounds and the 15-inch model just one pound heavier.

Unannounced at the presentation, the company is keeping one configuration of the non-Retina 13-inch model, now priced at $1,199. The graphics on the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro are powered by the Iris integrated chip, which the company says is 90 percent faster than the previous-generation Retina MacBook’s graphics.

The 15-inch model uses Iris Pro as standard — but also offers an option to include a 2GB Nvidia GT 750M discrete card. The 15-inch uses a new “Crystalwell” quad-core processor. Battery life for the 13-inch is up to nine hours (even when watching iTunes video), while the 15-inch offers eight hours of battery life. The 15-inch has also dropped in price, now starting at $1,999.

The 13-inch new models can be configured up to 2.6GHz in speed, with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 3.1GHz. Also available is the option to upgrade to faster dual-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.8GHz with Turbo boosts up to 3.3GHz. The 15-inch model can optionally be fitted with quad-core i7 chips up to 2.6GHz in speed, with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.8GHz.

Both sizes are offering upgraded battery life, both from the use of the Haswell chip as well as software efficiencies inside Mavericks. The 13-inch is said to offer nine hours of battery life — two hours over the previous generation. The 15-inch offers eight hours of typical use time, an hour improvement over the previous model. Both models also claim to offer the same battery time if the user is playing an iTunes movie, suggesting a specific optimization in Mavericks.

The new models now exclusively use PCIe-based flash storage, which is up to 10 times faster than comparable hard disk drives and 60 percent faster speeds than the non-PCIe SSDs used in the previous generation. Also new on both size models are Thunderbolt 2 ports, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. In addition to the $1,299 basic-model price, a more powerful 13-inch versions are available at $1,499 and $1,799. Storage can optionally be configured up to 1TB.

The 15-inch new MacBook Pros start at $1,999 for 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, a 3.2GHz processor and Intel Iris Pro graphics. A more powerful option that includes 512GB of storage, 16GB of RAM and both the Iris Pro and an Nvidia GeForce GT 750M discrete card starts at $2,599.

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