WWDC announcement roundup, part 1: New hardware
Apple’s WWDC 2012 keynote was today, and the company announced a variety of new products. As I predicted, the entire MacBook lineup received an incremental spec bump, but Tim Cook and company did not stop there: enter the next-generation MacBook Pro – with a Retina display.
The Cupertino-based company also introduced iOS 6 and showed off OS X Mountain Lion. It was a big event, so I’m not going to waste any more of your time by simply summarizing everything. Keep on reading to find out exactly what Apple is doing with its hardware products this year.
Apple Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller introduced the new lineup of MacBooks today, starting with the MacBook Air. Apple will be keeping both the 11- and 13-inch Airs, but the specs have increased across the board. The 11-inch still starts at $999, and the internals are as follows: 1.7GHz dual-core Core i5 that Turbo Boosts to 2.6GHz – upgradeable to a 2.0GHz dual-core i7. Both are Ivy Bridge processors, too, which brings better battery life and cooler performance. 4GB of 1600MHz RAM is standard, but you can pay Apple for an upgrade to 8GB. Storage has stayed at 64GB, but you can get up to 512GB – if you pay the premium.
The 13-inch model starts at a cheaper $1199, but the internal specs have been upgraded here, as well. The aforementioned base model comes with a 1.8GHz dual-core i5 chip that Turbo Boosts up to 2.8GHz. RAM is the same as the 11-inch: 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3L standard with the option for the upgrade to 8GB. Storage starts at 128GB here like last time, but – again – is upgradable to 512GB.
Both models have USB 3.0 ports that are backwards compatible to USB 2.0. The design for both has also stayed the same, as has screen sizes and resolutions.
After the announcements of the new Airs, Schiller introduced the new line of MacBook Pros. Gone is the 17-inch model, but Apple kept the 13- and 15-inch models.
The 13-inch starts at $1199 and keeps the same screen size and resolution. As with the rest of the lineup, processors have been upgraded to Ivy Bridge. The base model has a 2.5GHz dual-core i5 chip that Turbo Boosts to 3.1GHz, coupled with 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM. Storage is limited to a typical 500GB 5,400RPM hard drive, but Apple gives you the option to upgrade to 750GB 5,400RPM hard drive, as well as 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB solid state drives. If you opt for the $1499 model, you will get a 2.9GHz dual-core i7 processor that Turbos to 3.6GHz and 8GB of the same speedy RAM. Storage is bumped up to 750GB, with the same solid state options available. All 13-inch models include Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 4000 GPU.
Meanwhile, the 15-inch models – which are priced at $1799 and $2199 – come only with quad-core i7 chips, clocked at 2.3GHz (Turbo to 3.3GHz) and 2.6GHz (Turbo to 3.6GHz), respectively. The cheaper model couples its processor with 4GB of 1600MHz RAM, while the more expensive Pro comes with 8GB, which is the largest amount of RAM it can take. Storage is similar to the 13-inch model: 500GB 5,400RPM on the cheaper model, 750GB 5,400RPM on the more expensive one. Both can be upgraded to a 1TB 5,400RPM drive or any one of the solid state options found on the 13-inch. The 15-inch models include the HD Graphics 4000 chip found in the 13-inch models, but also include a new NVIDIA Keplar GPU: the GeForce GT 650M with either 512MB or 1GB of GDDR5 memory.
Next-generation MacBook Pro
Here’s where Apple’s event got really interesting. The other MacBook Pros are just a spec bump. The next-generation MacBook Pros are anything but. As of right now, the new MacBook Pro only comes in a 15.4-inch model, but it comes in at a starting price of $2199 and $2799. There’s a good reason for that price, though, as the body is only 0.71-inches thick and it still packs some great components. The cheaper model has the 2.3GHz processor that’s found in the regular 15-inch Pro, but instead of 4GB of DDR3 RAM, it comes with 8GB of DDR3L standard; that 8GB is upgradable to 16GB.
Its storage is also completely flash-based, just like the MacBook Air. Storage capacities start at 256GB and go all the way up to 768GB.
But the most important feature of this new MacBook Pro – even more important than its thinner body or better performance – is its Retina display. The resolution of the 15.4-inch panel is 2880 x 1800. This brings the PPI up to 220, which, according to Apple, is the highest of any notebook display. Driving all of those pixels is a 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M.
For the longest time, Apple had just given the Mac notebook line simple spec bumps when new hardware was released. With the introduction of the next-generation MacBook Pro – and its much-improved body – the company has proven that it doesn’t want to combine the iPad and the Mac. It wants each to continue living for the people who need the specific features of either product.[MacBook Air | MacBook Pro | Next-generation MacBook Pro]