The New MacBook Pros Are Here
The rumor sites were right about one thing–Apple did indeed refresh its MacBook Pro line this morning. But they were wrong about pretty much everything else. The new machines aren’t cast from Liquid Metal. They don’t run on a combination drive that stores their OS on SSD and data on HDD. And they retain the same trackpad, the same aspect-ratio displays. That said, they do feature a number of evolutionary upgrades: new processors, updated graphics cards, and support for Intel’s Light Peak connectivity standard.
As expected, the MacBook Pros all run Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge CPUs, which Apple says will make them up to twice as fast as their predecessors. The 13-inch machines has been outfitted with an up to 2.7GHz Core i5 processor while the 15-inch and 17-inch models sport Core i7 processors up to 2.3 GHz. For graphics, the 13-inch runs an integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 chip. The 15-inch and 17-inch versions use AMD Radeon HD processors with up to 1GB of memory. And the entire product line line has been upgraded with a new Light Peak I/O port that Apple calls Thunderbolt and intends as a replacement for Firewire, USB, Ethernet, and HDMI connections, among other things. Thunderbolt is backwards compatible with both full and Mini DisplayPort screens.
Also new to the line: a FaceTime HD camera, which outputs video at three times higher a resolution than its precursor iSight and require’s FaceTime 1.0 which is now out of beta and available in the Mac App Store for 99 cents.
So not a revolutionary refresh, but one that hews to Apple’s strategy of offering increasing value at similar price points. Interesting that none of this hardware merited inclusion in next week’s big event …