As expected, Apple today brought Intel’s latest Broadwell Core i5 and Core i7 processors to the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro families, beefing up both laptops with additional CPU and graphics power.

Apple’s updated 11″ and 13″ MacBook Airs are shipping today with up to 2.2GHz CPUs, plus Intel’s HD Graphics 6000 GPUs, which are smaller, markedly faster, and capable of superior shading/texturing than the 5000-series GPUs they replace. They have Thunderbolt 2 ports, doubling the bandwidth of prior-generation Thunderbolt. The 13″ MacBook Air also has new flash storage that’s up to twice as fast as the prior Air’s. Apple is pricing the 11″ Air at $899 for 1.6GHz/4GB RAM/128GB SSD, or $1,099 for 256GB of SSD storage. The 13″ Air is $999 for 1.6GHz/4GB RAM/128GB SSD or $1,199 for 256GB of SSD storage, with faster processors, more memory, and more SSD space at premiums.

Also shipping today is the updated 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display. This machine will have fifth-generation Intel Core processors with speeds of 2.7 to 3.1GHz, and Intel Iris Graphics 6100 GPUs. Additionally, the Retina MacBook will get the new Force Touch trackpad introduced in the all-new 12″ MacBook today – including Taptic Engine feedback – as well as 1.6GBps flash memory, and 10-12 hour battery life (shorter for regular use, longer for iTunes movie playback). Pricing starts at $1,299 for a 2.7GHz/8GB RAM/128GB SSD model, with double the SSD storage for $1,499, a 2.9GHz/8GB RAM/512GB SSD model at $1,799, and further customizations at premiums.

Prior to the official announcements, a seemingly authentic spec leak showed a new version of the 13″ MacBook Air with an updated Intel Core i5-5250U 1.6GHz CPU, Intel HD Graphics 6000 GPU, and roughly 4% larger 7422mAh battery.

About the Author