MacBook Pro Overview Updated September 14, 2016

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro family currently includes two separate product lines: the MacBook Pro ($1,099 and up from the Apple Store) and the MacBook Pro with Retina display ($1,299 and up). Apple is clearly focusing all its attention on the Retina models, as the standard MacBook Pro hasn’t been updated in years.

Premiered in 2012 as a successor to the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display is sold in 13.3″ (2560×1600-pixel) and 15.4″ (2880×1800-pixel) versions, the latter at a $700 premium. Both models are lighter than the regular 13″ MacBook Pro, with the 13.3″ Retina Pro weighing only half a pound more than the 13.3″ MacBook Air. These models require few performance compromises: they have faster Core i5 and i7 processors than any other Apple laptop, much higher-resolution (and more color-accurate) screens, twin Thunderbolt 2 and twin USB 3 ports, plus an HDMI port and dual noise-canceling microphones.

As of the last (March 2015) hardware update, the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro starts with a dual-core 2.7GHz Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM, and features 10-hour battery life. By comparison, the 15.4″ Retina MacBook Pro was updated in May 2015, sporting a quad-core 2.2GHz Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, now with up to 9 hours of battery life. Both Retina models feature Force Touch pressure-sensitive/haptic feedback trackpads, plus 802.11ac wireless, but continue to lack DVD/CD drives and mechanical hard drives in favor of 128GB to 1TB of flash storage.

First released in 2006 and last redesigned in 2008, the non-Retina MacBook Pro was at one time known as the “MacBook,” and is currently available only in a 13″ version. Thicker and 1/3 heavier than the 13.3″ MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro includes a substantially faster Intel Core i5 processor, offset by a much slower 500GB hard drive and a lower-resolution 1280×800 screen. It is now the only Apple laptop with a DVD/CD drive, integrated FireWire 800 port, and Gigabit Ethernet port, all features dropped from the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina Display. However, while it has two USB 3 ports and a Thunderbolt 1 port, it lacks HDMI output, 802.11ac wireless, and Force Touch, delivering only 7 hours of battery life.

The MacBook Pro with Retina display remains Apple’s best overall performer for the dollar, laptop or otherwise. Though more expensive and a little larger than the MacBook Air, it delivers much more horsepower and a hugely better screen; there are even reasons to prefer the Retina MacBook Pro over an iMac for daily use unless you really need a much larger (and non-portable) display.

Apple is rumored to release a new MacBook Pro in late 2016.

299 MacBook Pro stories

August 2010 - September 2016

MacBook Pro Stories September 14

AAPL: 111.77

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After months of speculation, Apple last week officially announced the headphone jack-free iPhone 7. Now, the company appears to be asking MacBook Pro users to take a survey concerning their use of the various connectivity options supported by their laptop. One of the questions relates to the use of the headphone jack, perhaps indicating that Apple is considering removing the connection from the MacBook, as well…

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MacBook Pro Stories August 29

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We already know a lot about Apple’s upcoming iPhone and MacBook Pro refreshes, but a new report today from Bloomberg details a bit more about what the company has up its sleeve for the rest of the year. The report claims that in addition to the new iPhone and MacBook Pro lineups, Apple is planning to refresh the iMac and MacBook Air and will also introduce a new 5K display, as we’ve reported in the past, in partnership with LG. On the software side of things, Apple is reportedly working on a variety of new features for the iPad Pro.

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Bokeh Apple shape hints at dual lens camera focus tricks
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Update: As usual, the event will be livestreamed online. Grab the calendar event here.

Mark your calendars, folks, it’s official. Apple has issued press invites to its next media event on September 7 at Bill Graham Civic Center in San Francisco at 10 am PT. The company is widely expected to unveil new iPhones and could unveil new MacBook Pros and the Apple Watch 2 at the same event.

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9to5toys 

MacBook Pro Stories August 24

AAPL: 108.03

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Apple has supported USB 3.1 since 2015’s single-port MacBook release, but both it and the updated 2016 model feature the Gen 1 flavor of USB 3.1. Despite its name, USB 3.1 Gen 1 is basically rebranded USB 3.0, also known as SuperSpeed USB. That means that like USB 3.0, transfer speeds max out at 5 Gbps.

With the upcoming release of macOS Sierra, however, there are strong indications that rumored new Mac hardware will support faster USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds. expand full story

A Kickstarter campaign which got fully-funded on day one is offering a choice of two external GPUs for MacBook Pros that offer up to ten times the performance of the top-end built-in one. Connected via Thunderbolt 2 or 3, the Wolfe Pro gets you an NVIDIA GTX 970 GPU for $599, with estimated delivery in March 2017.

The GTX 970 has 1664 cores operating at 1050MHz, for a peak computing power of 3.49 teraflops, with rendering speeds almost ten times higher than a maxed-out 15-inch MacBook Pro with AMD R9 M370X GPU. Frame rates exceed 70 frames per second, creating a machine suitable for high-end gaming and VR applications.

The company also promises that backers will be given the option of upgrading to the even more powerful GTX 1060 when available …

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MacBook Pro Stories August 11

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There has been a lot of talk about the OLED touch bar rumored for the upcoming MacBook Pro refresh expected this fall. But how exactly will the touchscreen work for users?

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