At its World Wide Developer Conference this week, Apple refreshed its line of professional Macintosh computers, introducing a sleek new top-of-the line laptop and boosting the power of the venerable Mac Pro, a staple of editing applications.
On the portable side, Apple introduced a new 15-inch MacBook Pro featuring a Retina display, all flash storage and quad-core processors in a thinner and lighter design than previous models. Measuring 0.71 inches and weighing 4.46 pounds, the completely redesigned MacBook Pro sets a new standard in performance and portability for pro users.
The Retina display has over five million pixels, three million more than an HD television. At 220 pixels-per-inch, the Retina display’s pixel density is so high the human eye cannot distinguish individual pixels from a normal viewing distance, so text and graphics look much sharper. The Retina display uses IPS technology for a 178-degree wide viewing angle, and has 75 percent less reflection and 29 percent higher contrast than the previous generation.
Final Cut Pro X, Apple’s professional editing software, was immediately updated to take advantage of the new Retina display.
Featuring a flash memory storage architecture, the laptop is up to four times faster than traditional notebook hard drives and enables the new computer to play four simultaneous streams of uncompressed 1080p HD video from internal storage. The flash storage architecture also delivers improved reliability, instant-on responsiveness and 30 days of standby time.
The new MacBook Pro features the latest Intel Core i7 quad-core processors (up to 2.7 GHz) with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics, up to 16GB of faster 1600 MHz RAM and flash storage up to 768GB. Two Thunderbolt and two USB 3.0 ports allow pro users to connect to multiple displays and high performance devices, and a new HDMI port offers quick connectivity to HDTVs.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro is available with a 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage starting at $2,199; and with a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz, 8GB of memory and 512GB of flash storage starting at $2,799.
The Mac Pro desktop now features Intel’s Xeon E5 processor. The standard-configuration 12-core Mac Pro features two 2.4 gigahertz six-core Intel Xeon E5645 processors and 12 megabytes of fully shared L3 cache per processor. The 12-core model starts at $3,799 with 12 gigabytes of memory, a 1-terabyte hard drive and ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics with 1 gigabyte of GDDR5 memory.
Build-to-order options for the $2499 Mac Pro includes a 3.33GHz six-core Xeon processor for an additional $500. The $3499 Mac Pro has options for a pair of 2.66GHz six-core Xeon processors ($1200) or two 3.06GHz six-core Xeon processors ($2400).
Apple also updated its Mac Pro Server. The updated version has the same 3.2GHz quad-core Xeon W3565 processor as the $2499 Mac Pro, but the Server includes two 1TB hard drives, 8GB of RAM, and OS X Lion Server. It is $2999.
There had been rumors that Apple might discontinue the Mac Pro, prompting an outcry from professional editors. While the upgrade proved that wasn’t true, Apple executives told the New York Times that an even greater upgrade for the Mac Pro would be available in 2013.