Apple Unveils Cheaper MacBook Pro Retina With Intel Haswell Processors, Slimmer Designs

Today at Apple’s press conference, the company unveiled updated MacBook Pro models with retina displays. The new laptops sport the latest Intel processors based on the Haswell architecture. Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros got updated.

The 13-inch model is lighter (under 3.5 lbs), slimmer (.71 inch thick) and has a bigger 9-hour battery. It has integrated graphics and Thunderbolt 2 — the new Thunderbolt could help drive external retina displays. The flash-based storage is faster and this laptop comes with a new Wi-Fi chip supporting the faster 802.11ac standard. The new 13-inch model starts at $1,299 instead of $1,499. For $1,299, you get a 2.5GHz dual core i5, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and the Intel Iris graphics chip.

The 15-inch model comes with a quad core processor and Intel Iris Pro graphics. There are separate models with discrete graphics, but the entry-level one won’t get a dedicated AMD or Intel chip. It now sells for $1,999 instead of $2,199. For this price, you get a 2.0GHz quad core i7, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and the Iris Pro graphics integrated chip. Not shipping a dedicated graphics card is a step backward in some way, but it will certainly improve battery life. We will have to wait for benchmarks to see if the Intel chip is enough for a wide range of tasks.

These two MacBook Pros ship today. Phil Schiller didn’t say anything about the old MacBook Pro laptops with a DVD drive. These models will maybe be slowly phased out, but it’s unclear. Schiller kept saying “MacBook Pro”, like it was the only existing version. For now, there is one thing for sure — Apple is not putting any emphasis on its thick MacBook Pro.