Retina MacBook Pro (2013) vs Retina MacBook Pro (2012): What's the difference?

Apple has officially announced its next-generation Retina MacBook Pro, the laptop considered to be the go-to among students, professionals, and those looking for a bit of play. 

You may be curious to see what changes the new MacBook Pro brings over the 2012 version, announced at WWDC more than a year ago. It's a fair question: Apple seems to be updating its devices every few months. 

We've drawn together key details, pricing and specifications to provide you with just the answer. 

Haswell across the line-up

Each year Intel releases a new processor with juicy features, leaving Apple to adopt it. Apple just recently updated the iMac and MacBook Air with Haswell in September. The 2013 MacBook Pro just announced joins the ranks to inherit the fourth-gen Intel Core i processor as well. 

The 2012 MacBook Pro has a Sandy Bridge processor, and while powerful, the new Haswell brings about a few notable changes. Compared to the 2012 version, you'll get a sizable boost of up-to 9 hours of battery life on the 13-inch version, from the 7 hours in the older version. The 15-inch version goes from 8 hours of battery life, from the 7 hours in the older version.

Speed increase is obviously a factor, as well. It remains to be seen just how much faster the Haswell processor is, but you bet we'll be performing tests just as soon as we can. 

13-inch goes thinner, lighter and cheaper

The new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro model has been updated to be the thinnest and lightest yet. At 1.8cm (0.71 inches) thick and 1.57kg (3.46 pounds), it is a fair amount smaller than the 1.9cm (0.75 inches) and 1.61kg (3.57 pounds) found on the 2012 model. 

The price has received a considerable price drop, too. The 2013 model now starts at $1,299 (about £800) versus the $1,699 users had to cough up when the 2012 version first went on sale. In the UK, it will start at £1,099.

With a price drops comes a cut. The 2013 base model starts with 4GB of RAM, instead of 8GB of RAM like in the 2012 version. 

15-inch performance boosts, while price drops

Weight and thinness stay the same on the 2013 version, but performance in the graphics department has gained a sizable boost. You'll now find integrated Intel Iris Pro graphics, exactly what Apple just added to the iMac line in September. Iris graphics performance are said to improve graphic performance immensely - though we've yet to see any word on specifics. 

The price has dropped for the 2013 15-inch model. It now starts at $1,999 - compared to the $2,199 that was required a year ago. In the UK, it's starting at £1,699

Thunderbolt 2 and Wi-Fi 802.11ac

The 2013 MacBook Pro takes Thunderbolt and bumps it up a generation. Thunderbolt 2 has been included, which is said to bring a solid speed increase to accessories - 20GB/S of bandwidth is what Apple claims, compared to the 10GB/S found on the 2012 edition.

Most notable about Thunderbolt is support for 4K displays, which leaves us looking to Apple for a Thunderbolt display packing a higher resolution. 

Wi-Fi has been boosted in the 2013 version. 802.11ac Wi-Fi brings faster speeds and ranges than the 802.11n Wi-Fi found on the 2012 MacBook Pro - claimed to be three times faster.

OS X Mavericks 

Mavericks is available for free to download for every Mac since 2007, but given its newness, the 2013 MacBook Pro will ship with OS X Mavericks pre-installed right out of the box.