New Retina MacBook Pros launched July 29.
At a Glance
Apple's 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros are the company's top-tier portable machines and received a minor update on Tuesday, July 29.
- Haswell/Crystal Well processors
- PCIe flash storage
- 8+ hour battery life
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- 0.71 inches thin
13.3-inch with 2560 x 1600 Display:
- $1,299: 2.6 GHz Core i5 & 128 GB
- $1,499: 2.6 GHz Core i5 & 256 GB
- $1,799: 2.8 GHz Core i5 & 512 GB
15.4-inch with 2880 x 1800 Display:
- $1,999 2.2 GHz Core i7 & 256 GB
- $2,499 2.5 GHz Core i7 & 512 GB
Retina MacBook Pro
Apple's 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros were last updated on July 29, 2014, delivering a speed-bumped version of the machines launched on October 22, 2013. These models include Intel Haswell/Crystal Well processors designed to improve battery life and overall performance. While the 13-inch model use Haswell processors, the 15-inch version includes Crystal Well processors, a variation of the Haswell.
With the new family of processors, the 15-inch model offers eight hours of battery life while the 13-inch version offers nine hours of battery life, an overall increase from the seven hours of battery life of the pre-Haswell generation.
The Haswell-based 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro retains the same form factor as its predecessor, but the 13-inch version has been slightly redesigned with a slimmer chassis to match the thickness of the 15-inch model. Both Retina MacBook Pros are now 0.71 inches thin.
Along with new processors, the Retina MacBook Pros feature Intel's "Iris" integrated graphics, which are a big improvement over the previous Intel HD Graphics 4000. According to Apple, Intel's Iris graphics deliver 90 percent faster performance. While the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro features Intel's Iris 5100 graphics, the 15-inch model incorporates Iris "Pro" HD 5200 graphics. An NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M discrete graphics card with 2GB of video memory can also be added to the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.
Both versions of the Retina MacBook Pro also include faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, PCIe-based flash storage that offers 60 percent faster read speeds than the pre-Haswell generation, and dual Thunderbolt 2 ports to allow users to connect multiple displays.
Apple's Retina MacBook Pros are available starting at $1,299 for the 13-inch version and $1,999 for the 15-inch model. The Retina MacBook Pros can be purchased today, both online and in retail stores.
Non-Retina MacBook Pro
Apple has not updated its non-Retina MacBook Pros with Haswell processors and has ceased offering the non-Retina 15-inch MacBook Pro. While Apple is still selling the non-Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro, it has not been refreshed since June of 2012. The stock configuration did receive a $100 price cut to $1099 on July 29, 2014.
As the Retina MacBook Pro has reached near pricing parity with the non-Retina version with the most recent price drops, rumors have suggested Apple will discontinue its standard models in favor of an all Retina MacBook Pro lineup at some point in 2014.
The entry level 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro can be upgraded to a maximum 3.0 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM. The mid-level version has the same upgrade options as does the most expensive model, though the high-end version can also be upgraded to add 1 TB of PCIe-based flash storage. With all upgrades selected, the ultimate 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is priced at $2,699.
The entry level 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro can be upgraded to a maximum 2.8 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and 1 TB of PCIe-based flash storage. The high-end version includes the same upgrade options, but it also comes equipped with NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics. With all upgrades selected, the ultimate 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro is priced at $3,199.
The Operating System
Apple's updated Retina MacBook Pros ship with OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Apple's newest operating system. Mavericks is all about saving power and introduces a number of new features that are designed to conserve battery life.
App Nap, Compressed Memory, and Timer Coalescing, for example, are all designed to reduce CPU utilization and cut down on unnecessary battery usage.
Mavericks also includes improvements to Finder, which will gain tabs and tags for easier file management, and better support for multiple displays, allowing full-screen apps to be used on individual displays for the first time.
Safari improvements are included, as well as apps for both Maps and iBooks. In all, Mavericks offers more than 200 new features that provide an unprecedented level of integration between OS X and iOS.
An early Geekbench benchmark of the entry-level 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro indicates that the new machine is eight percent faster than the entry level 15-inch 2013 Retina MacBook Pro, and only two percent slower than the mid-level Retina MacBook Pro released in 2013.
How to Buy
The MacBook Pro can be purchased from the online Apple Store, from an Apple retail location, or from select Apple Authorized Resellers. Currently, all models of the MacBook Pro ship within 24 hours from the online Apple Store.