The MacBook Pro with Retina and 13-inch MacBook Air got some mid-cycle improvements under the hood today, with a new 2.6GHz processor for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, new 2.4 and 2.7GHz processors for the 15-inch version, and 16GB of memory as a top-end spec on the larger Retina model. The MacBook’s 256GB version has a new lower price of $1399, and the 13-inch Retina now starts at $1499 and $1699 for the base and upgraded configurations respectively.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display was at $1,699 and $1,999 respectively for its two stock considerations before today, and the higher-end model sported only a 2.5GHz processor before any user upgrades. So now you get a beefier process for $300 less. The new price points also mean that the entry-level 13-inch Retina is now at price parity with the top-end 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro, though you get a i7 processor at that price instead of an i5 as in the Retina. The 15-inch now has a faster 2.4GHz processor at the entry-level configuration for $2,199, and gets a new 2.7GHz quad-core processor at the top end, with 16GB of memory instead of 8GB for $2,799.
The 13-inch MacBook Air used to cost $1,499 before the price drop, but now keeps the same specs, including a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory and a 256GB SSD, and gets a $100 discount to $1,399. Apple combining mid-cycle spec increases with price drops on a lot of its key models is a good way to shake up the market between major announcements, and it’s also well-timed to take some of the steam out of Microsoft’s Surface launch, which in not very likely to be a coincidence.
Apple has also updated its upgrade pricing on SSD storage, meaning you can add a lot more disk space to your Mac via custom configuration for a lot less. The 512GB upgrades get a $200 discount as part of this round of updates, and the huge 768GB drive is now $300 less than it used to be. That’s likely due to Apple arranging better prices from suppliers, something CEO Tim Cook alluded to during yesterday’s Goldman Sachs investor conference keynote speech.
As with any mid-cycle upgrade, some customers will likely be worried about what happens if they just ordered a new machine before these changes went into effect. But as always, Apple has its 14-day return and refund policy in place to make sure buyers who just took the plunge won’t be left in a lurch.