MacBook Pro Overview Updated July 19, 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.

308 MacBook Pro stories

August 2010 - July 2016

MacBook Pro Stories July 19

AAPL: 99.87

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MacBook Pro Stories July 5

AAPL: 94.99

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MacBook Pro Stories July 4

AAPL: 95.89

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Regular readers will know that I still have a 17-inch MacBook Pro as my main computer. It’s almost five years old now, which is a relatively long time in Mac terms, and an absolute age for someone who usually does poorly when it comes to resisting shiny new tech.

But when Apple stopped selling the machine, I’d initially hoped that it was just a temporary measure. The company had only just introduced new Retina displays in the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros, both of which carried a hefty price-tag, and my theory then was that a 17-inch Retina screen wasn’t practical. Yield rates were too low, I supposed, meaning that the cost of a 17-inch model would have been too expensive even for Apple to contemplate.

So I hung in there …

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MacBook Pro Stories July 2

AAPL: 95.89

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In this week’s top stories: Space Black iPhone 7 leaks, more MacBook Pro rumors, and Apple dukes it out with Spotify as reports emerge that Apple is in negotiations to acquire Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service. Head below for all the handy links to these and our other top shared stories from the past week: expand full story

MacBook Pro Stories June 28

AAPL: 93.59

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For some, Apple’s next major important product unveiling might not be the iPhone 7. It could be the rumored upcoming MacBook Pro expected to sport a new touchscreen OLED strip to replace the function key row on the keyboard. That will likely be a standout new hardware feature that Apple will want to highlight and launch during a public event, but it likely won’t be the only notable hardware upgrade for a new 2016 MacBook Pro.

Head below for our roundup of everything we know so far about Apple’s upcoming MacBook Pro…

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MacBook Pro Stories June 21

AAPL: 95.91

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I mentioned in an opinion piece back in April that while Apple still sells a single non-Retina MacBook Pro model, it does its best to tuck it away out of sight – not mentioned at all on the main MacBook Pro page, and hidden at the bottom of the ‘buy‘ page. It now appears that the company is doing the same thing in its retail stores to the last remaining product of an optical drive bygone era.

We’ve been hearing reports of the model being withdrawn from display in Apple Stores for a week or so now, and checks by both AI and TNW appear to confirm that this is official …

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