MacBook Pro Overview Updated October 22, 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.

306 MacBook Pro stories

August 2010 - October 2016

MacBook Pro Stories Yesterday

AAPL: 116.60

Stock Chart

Reliable Apple analyst KGI has published a report on Saturday outlining their predictions for Apple’s Mac roadmap ahead of the media event on October 27th. The report says that Apple will launch three new MacBooks at the event, a new 13 inch MacBook, a new 13 inch MacBook Pro and a new 15 inch MacBook Pro.

It goes on to say that new iMacs and the Apple external display will not be shipping this year; those should be expected in the first half of 2017.

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MacBook Pro Stories October 18

AAPL: 117.47

Stock Chart

Apple is said to be introducing an entirely refreshed lineup of Macs later this month. The event is said to be on October 27th, which we first speculated earlier this month. The new Macs are expected to be available to consumers this month, as well.

As is often the case with Apple events, we already know a good portion of what the company has up its sleeve. Read on for a roundup of what to expect…

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Last night we received a report from Macotakara that the new MacBook Pros were still coming this month, despite a lack of any announcements from Apple. The reporting didn’t specify anything about the internal hardware specs, but did resurface the idea that MagSafe, Thunderbolt 2, and USB-A ports would be replaced.

The thing for me is this: Apple just dropped the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 and the reaction to that has been controversial to say the least. Apple explained that the move took courage and was needed to move from analog to digital, free up space in iPhones, and push wireless. There are no signs that this affected iPhone sales, but transitions are still hard.

Headphone jack aside, if new MacBook Pros fully replace USB-A with USB-C, are we in for the next episode in the same series? We’ve already seen this with the 12-inch Retina MacBook’s single USB-C port, but it’s worth considering what it could mean for MacBook Pro users if true.

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MacBook Pro Stories October 17

AAPL: 117.55

Stock Chart

Just as doubt was beginning to surround whether or not Apple was still on track to release new MacBook Pros this month, a new report from Macotakara this evening brings some reassurance. The report claims that Apple will still announce and release a new lineup of MacBook Pros this month, and offers up some details…

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MacBook Pro Stories October 12

AAPL: 117.34

Stock Chart

After a lot of abuse, my MacBook Pro’s 85W MagSafe 2 adapter finally died last week. Often Apple adapters fray at joints and this one did to an insane degree but somehow it kept working for 3 years through tons of travel, work and even some fun.

So what to do? Typically I’d buy a new Apple Magsafe 2 adapter. But clearly Apple has some redesigned MacBook/Pro/Airs coming later this month and they will likely be charged via USB-C, at least in some cases. So that means I only need MagSafe to power this 2013 MacBook Pro for at least a few more weeks before it gets relegated to backup machine, kid’s computer or sold off when I get Apple’s new OLED/USB-C creation.

So I thought I’d get a little creative and save a few bucks at the same time. As I was looking for options on Amazon, I came across an interesting product: The “BND 85W MagSafe 2 Replacement Power Adapter Charger w/ 5 USB Ports for Apple MacBook Pro”. For less than half the price of a discounted $77 Apple MagSafe Adapter this $37 charger includes 5 USB ports and gets solid 4.3/5 star reviews. What the heck, I’ll give it a try… expand full story

MacBook Pro Stories October 5

AAPL: 113.05

Stock Chart

When the largest company in the world changes the date of a quarterly earnings call, there has to be a good reason. It’s not the sort of thing you do on a whim.

Apple has done this once before, and there was indeed a very good reason, which it shared with us: to allow senior Apple execs to attend the memorial service of long-standing board member Bill Campbell.

This time, however, no explanation has been offered, and enquiries by reporters have received no response. I’m with Philip Elmer-DeWitt in thinking that there’s one very plausible explanation …

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