The Mac Pro has long been overdue a refresh and Apple now has done just that, releasing a beast of an update to its flagship laptop. Behold the new MacBook Pro.
The new MacBook Pro isn't going to be cheap, with prices starting at £1799. So is it worth it and how does it compare to the previous generation MacBook Pro?
On the 2011 Pro you had the option of going all the way up to a 1920 x 1200 resolution on the 17-inch model. For the standard 13-incher there was just 1280 x 800 to play with. Both were glossy, with the larger screens being available in matte anti-glare versions. The Pro screen was also extremely balanced in colour reproduction yet bright and rich, great for photographers.
Opt for a new MacBook Pro and you will instantly blow pretty much any other available laptop out of the water. Apple has managed to fit a staggering 2880 x 1800, 15.4-inch, 220ppi screen on to the new body. Promising up to 75 per cent reduced glare and better viewing angles, this screen alone ensures it instantly becomes one of the most desirable laptops on the market and boasts the highest resolution display on any notebook computer.
If all that resolution weren't enough, Apple has also given its core apps a makeover to take advantage of the extra pixels. That means you get things like a full native res 1080p-screen running in the top right-corner of Final Cut Pro, as well as a new-style web browser and mail app, among others. Adobe is also on board with the Retina Display and a new version of Photoshop is promised that will support it.
All this makes the new MacBook Pro a very persuasive package for creative types. It ensures that you have a ton of resolution to play with and could just be reason for many to migrate over to the new version of Final Cut Pro.
Processor and Memory
Things went Sandy Bridge in 2011 for the MacBook Pro. Again there was a gamut of specifications to choose from going all the way up to a 2.5 GHz ,quad-core, i7 processor in the top 17-inch model. The base Pro shipped with a 2.4GHz dual-core i5.
Both of these offer quite a lot of speed to play with but apart from the absolute top flagship model, just aren't really quick enough against current competition to be deemed truly Pro. Apple has fixed this by adding as standard a 2.7GHz, quad-core, i7 to the new MacBook Pro. This is a lot of power to play with and should ensure that the likes of the increased resolution Final Cut Pro run at lightening speed.
Apple has also given you a lot more to play with in terms of RAM, the new Pro being able to increase all the way up to 16GB, over previous offerings which managed 8GB.
This time around Apple has gone all out on the flash storage front. The new MacBook Pro ships with a 256GB solid state drive as standard. This results in some of the MacBook Air-like boot times as well as better battery life and a lengthier sleep period of 30 days.
There is the option to go all the way up to 768GB of solid-state storage should you be so inclined, although don't expect it to be cheap. Adding a 512GB SSD to the older generation MacBook Pro will set you back £880.
Now for the really exciting bit. Part of the joy of owning a Pro is the way it looks: that brushed-aluminium effect Apple goes for in the majority of its products ensures a premium feel all over. Problem is that for the Pro, it just doesn't look exciting enough anymore.
This has all changed with the new MacBook Pro.Tthe aluminium is still there, but the bulk isn't. Ditching the Super Drive and going solid state means Apple has managed to drop weight from 2.99 Kg (the heaviest model) down to 2.02 Kg. You still wouldn't want to lug it around all day, but it's a substantial reduction in weight.
At just 0.71 inches thick it's only a tad larger than the MacBook Air and a quarter thinner than current MacBook Pros.
Apple made a big furore over the fact it had moved to AMD for its graphics processing units with its MacBook Pros. A Radeon HD 6770M was, at the time, a quick enough GPU and ensured that the 2011 Pro could do a decent job gaming or handling things like Photoshop and video editing.
This time round Apple has gone to Nvidia for its GPU in the new slimmer MacBook Pro. One of the main reasons being, we suspect, because the GeForce 650m saves quite a bit on size and weight while helping extend battery life. Either way it's definitely a major step up from last year's graphics offering.
It's such a step up in fact that the likes of Diablo 3 are now going to be able to run at native Retina Display resolution on the new MacBook Pro. Yep that's right, you will be able to dungeon crawl at 2880 x 1800.
Okay, so battery hasn't seen a major improvement in the new MacBook Pro. It is still that standard seven hours that Apple always aims for, but it's important to remember there is a lot more going on inside this time round. That screen alone is going to be a fairly hefty power hog.
Going SSD has meant you now get the 30-day sleep that the MacBook Air manages, which is definitely handy. We don't have much else to say about the new Pro's battery, other than that, from previous experience, these new Nvidia GPUs work magic with power saving. This could mean that more GPU-intensive tasks, that would have typically drained older Pros, can be run for longer on Apple's new flagship kit.
Apple talked a lot about doing away with legacy technology when it launched the new MacBook Pro. That means no more Ethernet port, and no more Firewire 800. This might anger a few fans, but what Apple has replaced it with is definitely a handy addition.
So now the MacBook pro comes with HDMI and SD slot, USB 3, USB 2 and Thunderbolt as well as a newly redesigned and slimmer MagSafe 2 power adapter. A lot of connectivity to play with and we know plenty of people will be happy about the addition of USB 3.
We have already talked a bit about the new MacBook Pro and its approach to design. Think of it like an amalgamation of the Air and the older Pros. As such Apple has worked some serious magic cramming top-spec kit into such a small body.
Designed with the unibody as a component of the display, from the side it makes the top half of the laptop look incredibly thin. The speakers have also had a rethink and should sound a lot better, although until we have actually heard them we can't guarantee. Dual-microphones on the front promise better voice-based applications and a FaceTime HD camera on the top should make video chat nice enough.
It's still not totally out there, we know, but the new MacBook Pro definitely looks different enough to start turning heads again.
So should you get one?
If you were thinking about getting a MacBook Pro anyway, then paying the extra cash over the non-Retina Display, £1500 model is a no brainer. Unless you absolutely desperately need a Super Drive then this quicker and lighter Pro is far too persuasive a package to pass up.
From what we have seen this is the most persuasive laptop package Apple has ever put together. It's pricey, but then things of beauty don't come cheap. Those keen to save, try to avoid wandering into the Apple store and looking at its Retina Display - it is clearly a thing of danger.
Like the sound of the new MacBook Pro? Let us know in the comments below ...
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