WWDC 2012: The Mac is back

15MBPR_34_Op_ApertureZebras_PRINT[1].jpg“To create something that’s genuinely new, you have to start again.”

Apple’s chief designer Jony Ive describing his company’s latest MacBook Pro, launched today at WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) in San Francisco. Featuring a new, svelte design and a high-resolution Retina display, it’s certainly a considerable update on the “old” Pro. However, Sir Ive’s rhetoric seems lost on a design that, though certainly improved, still sticks to the tried-and-tested (and much copied) formula of MacBooks from the past few years. That’s not to disregard the depths of Apple’s engineering prowess on display here. This new MacBook checks in a quarter of an inch thinner than its predecessor, and sheds over a pound of weight in the process. The aluminum unibody frame is intact, as is the glass screen — which now comes with 75 percent less glare. Speaking of the screen, this is where the new MacBook shows its true colors. Featuring an eye-melting resolution of 2880×1800, it crams 5 million pixels into a 15-inch display (3 million more than that Full-HD flatscreen in your living room) whilst utilizing IPS technology for 178-degree viewing angles and 29 percent more contrast than the current MacBook Pro. Apple is promising updates to various OSX apps to take advantage of the new resolution, including iTunes, iPhoto, Aperture and Final Cut Pro X.

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Further specs to satiate your inner-geek include Intel’s newest Ivy Bridge processors, with up to 2.7GHz i7 quad-cores on offer. Graphics come courtesy of NVIDIA’s discrete Kepler GT 650M, and up to 16BG of 1600MHz RAM is available. Storage has enjoyed a bump too, with 768GB of flash storage available at the top end. Other features include a glass touchpad, HD camera, dual microphones, dual speakers, b/g/n WiFi, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and a battery rated for up to 7 hours of use and a potential 30 days in standby.

 

When is all this shiny goodness available for you to buy? Right now. A word of caution, though: prices start at $2,199 for the base 2.3GHz model with 8GB RAM and 256GB of flash storage. Want a 2.6GHz CPU and and 512GB of storage? Prepare to sell a limb and rake together $2,799. Higher configurations will easily top the $3k mark, but I’m pretty sure those that are willing to pay stopped reading at “Right now.”

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What of the outgoing MacBook Pro? It’s not actually going anywhere, instead slotting in between the new Pro and the Air. It too sees a refresh with new Ivy Bridge processors (up to 2.7GHz), a 60 percent boost in graphics performance courtesy of Intel’s Kepler GT 650M, flash storage available up to 512GB (hard drives are still available maxing out at 1TB) and the inclusion of USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports.

The MacBook Air has been gifted a similar Ivy Bridge refresh, with dual-core i5’s and i7’s in place and a 60% boost in graphics courtesy of Intel’s integrated HD 4000 GPU. Memory comes courtesy of 1600MHz RAM starting at 4GB, and flash storage is available up to 512GB. Also included are an HD FaceTime camera, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt.

The refreshed Pro and Air are also available today. The Air is available in 11- and 13-inch configurations starting at $999 and $1,199 respectively. The Pro is available in 13- and 15-inch screen sizes, and starts at $1,199 and $1,799 respectively. Apple have discontinued production of the 17-inch MacBook Pro, with no announcements made regarding any future models.

Full press releases here and here.

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Rhuaridh Marr is one of Metro Weekly's contributing editors and covers cars, technology, gaming and world news. He is usually found with a game controller in one hand and a smartphone in the other and can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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