Apple has updated its MacBook Pro with Retina display lineup with more RAM and slightly faster processors, as well as a few price drops. While these updates are overall about as humdrum as recent updates to the MacBook Air (see “2014 MacBook Air Offers Better Performance for $100 Less,” 29 April 2014), the interesting bit is that 8 GB of RAM is now the base level.
The $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is practically identical to last year’s model, except it now comes equipped with a slightly faster 2.6 GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor (up from 2.4 GHz) and double the amount of RAM — 8 GB as opposed to 4 GB. It still features 128 GB of flash storage, and stepping up to the $1,499 model continues to double that to 256 GB. The high-end 13-inch model has been bumped to a 2.8 GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor (up from 2.6 GHz) and still features 512 GB of flash storage, as well as 8 GB of RAM.
Build-to-order options for the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display include a $300 upgrade to a 3.0 GHz dual-core Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM for $200, and for the high-end model, 1 TB of flash storage for $500.
Finally for the 13-inch line, the non-Retina model from 2012 continues to hang on by its virtual fingernails, and receives a $100 price cut, bringing it to $1,099. It features a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 4 GB of RAM, and a 500 GB hard drive.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display still starts at $1,999, but the high-end model has dropped in price from $2,599 to $2,499. The base 15-inch model has been bumped to a 2.2 GHz quad-core Intel i7 (up from 2.0 GHz) and 16 GB of RAM (up from 8 GB), and still features 256 GB of flash storage. The high-end model receives a similar processor bump to a 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel i7 (up from 2.3 GHz).
Options for the low-end 15-inch model include 2.5 GHz (add $100) and 2.8 GHz (add $300) quad-core Intel i7 processors, and either 512 GB (add $300) or 1 TB (add $800) of flash storage. For the high-end model, the 2.8 GHz processor costs $200 and the 1 TB flash storage is $500.
Particularly given that Intel’s next-generation Broadwell chipset has been delayed (see “Intel’s New Mac Processors Delayed Until 2015,” 9 July 2014), it’s not surprising to see Apple sticking to its standard approach of small performance and RAM upgrades and associated price drops. Besides, Apple has no need to rethink the MacBook Pro line every year, given that Mac sales are up a staggering 18 percent over a year ago, in a time when PC sales continue to sag (see “Apple Q3 2014 Results Show Highest EPS in Seven Quarters,” 22 July 2014).