MacBook Pro 2012: everything you need to know

12th Jun 2012 | 13:05

MacBook Pro 2012: everything you need to know

Next generation MacBook Pro specs, display and more

MacBook Pro 2012 release date, news and specs

Apple has updated its new MacBook Pro with the latest Intel Core processors, faster graphics and flash storage that, according to the company, is up to twice as fast as the previous generation.

As if that wasn't enough, there's also a new, thinner, retina display version of the MacBook Pro too, which also has flash storage as standard. So that means there are now six separate products in the MacBook Pro line:

  • 15-inch MacBook Pro with retina display 2.3GHz - £1,799
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro with retina display 2.6GHz - £2,299
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro 2.6GHz - £1,799
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro 2.3GHz - £1,499
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro 2.9GHz - £1,249
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro 2.5GHz - £999

As you'll note - and as was predicted - the 17-inch MacBook Pro has now ceased to be.

See the Retina Pro side by side with the 2011 version in our build comparison video:

MacBook Pro 2012 release date

All the new MacBook Pro 2012 models are available now.

MacBook Pro 2012 processors

The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models have been updated with the latest Ivy Bridge-spec Intel Core processors. Everything but the basic £999 13-inch MacBook Pro now has a Core i7 on board - see above for the speeds of the various models. Speeds are up to 2.9 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz. You can also configure a 2.7GHz quad-core inside the top-end retina display model.

MacBook Pro 2012 graphics

Once again Nvidia provides the discrete graphics inside the MacBook Pro, though the 13-inch doesn't get the extra help, instead sticking with the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip. It's a different story for the bigger size notebook though; the 15-inch 2.3GHz configuration comes with the 512MB version of the Nvidia GeForce GT 650M. The 2.6Ghz 15-inch and both retina display models have the 1GB variant of the GeForce GT 650M.

MacBook Pro 2012 storage and memory

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro can be configured with a 1TB hard drive or SSDs up to 512GB. As before, the MacBook Pro features a Thunderbolt port.

The 2.5 GHz 13-inch MacBook Pro is available with 4GB of memory and 500GB hard drive, while the 2.9 GHz dual-core version has 8GB of memory and a 750GB hard drive.

The 2.3GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro is available with 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. The 2.6 GHz version features 8GB of memory and a 750GB hard drive.

The two retina display MacBook Pros both have flash storage - 256GB and 512GB respectively. You can upgrade the higher end model to 768GB if you've the extra cash. These have 8GB of memory.

As you may have heard, there's no optical drive in the next generation MacBook Pro retina model, though there is in the standard MacBook Pro 13 and 15-inch line.

MacBook Pro 2012 retina display

The retina display models boast a staggering resolution. You get a 15.4-inch LED-backlit IPS display which clocks in at 2,880 x 1,800 resolution. That's 220 pixels per inch, so not as good as the iPhone 4, 4S and iPad though - the latter is 264ppi, while the iPhone 4 and 4S is 326ppi. The standard MacBooks have 1,280 x 800 resolution displays.

Retina

MacBook Pro 2012 dimensions and weight

As for the standard models, both are 2.41 cm in height. The 13-inch is 32.5 x 22.7cm, while the 15-inch is 36.4cm x 24.9cm. The weight of them is 2.06Kg and 2.56Kg.

The retina display version of the MacBook Pro brings the thickness down to just 1.8cm, while the footprint is slightly smaller than the standard 15-inch at 35.89 x 24.71 cm. Weight is just over 2Kg.

MacBook Pro 2012 connectivity

Apple has finally buckled to USB 3.0 and HDMI - we're glad to finally see these on the Mac and it's sad Apple decided to go the Thunderbolt route in previous preference. However, HDMI is only provided on the retina display MBP which also has two USB 3.0 ports plus an SDXC card slot and two Thunderbolts for connection to other display standards including DisplayPort, DVI and VGA. You can also connect this to FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet via adapters you'll need to buy separately.

The standard MacBook Pro models retain FireWire and also have a Gigabit Ethernet port in addition to Thunderbolt (which also connects to other display standards including HDMI). There's a combined line in/out on the 13-inch, while these are separated out on the 15-inch. You also get a Kensington lock slot on the standard models.

All have 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. There's also dual microphones on the MacBook Pro with retina display.

MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro 2012 battery life

Apple says the and 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros deliver up to 7 hours of wireless battery life - yep, that includes the retina display model too.

MacBook Pro 2012 and OS X Mountain Lion

The MacBook Pro 2012 ships with OS X Lion. Starting today, customers who purchase a Mac are eligible for a free copy of OS X Mountain Lion when it becomes available.

Retina

MacBook Pro 2012: all our previous rumours

A thinner MacBook Pro with no optical drive

While you might imagine Apple would make the MacBook Pro resemble its Air line, the latest rumours suggest that's not the case. Slashgear reckoned the case will remain much as it is in the current models, but the space will be used differently: the optical drive will be removed, the battery will be increased in size, and SSDs for boot drives would become standard (possibly Samsung's fast 830 series, according to 9to5Mac).

9to5Mac also said in May that Apple would ditch the optical drive, but thought it would nonetheless reduce the MacBook Pro's thickness a little, but the case won't taper like the Air's.

Developer Marco Arment added that Apple could ditch the glass in front of the display in favour of glossy plastic, like in the Air, to save on weight.

MacBook Pro 2012 gains USB 3, loses FireWire

The 9to5Mac report said the 2012 MacBook Pro will be the first Mac to sport USB 3, offering three ports. Other ports include one each for charging, audio in, audio out and an SD card slot, and two for Thunderbolt. The new MacBook Pros will ditch Ethernet and probably also FireWire. Arment explained that will be down to the thinness of the case not providing enough room for those ports, and quipped: "Expect video pros to complain."

MacBook Pro to gain a Retina display

As reported by AppleInsider and others, DigiTimes was naturally first to claim the MacBook Pro would sport a Retina display, boasting a resolution of 2880-by-1800 pixels on the 15-inch model. This would, it said, differentiate the laptop from those made by other brands.

An Ars Technica report in March added fuel to the fire, having unearthed double-sized images within OS X Mountain Lion. Interestingly, the 9to5Mac report added Apple might ditch pixel-based resolution settings with the new MacBook Pro, instead using descriptions such as 'big', 'small' and 'optimal'.

However, CNET put a spanner in the works by noting relevant displays already exist but are $100 more than those Apple currently uses.

The Cupertino giant will save some money by ditching an optical drive and using its massive cash pile to secure displays for the cheapest possible price, but the question is whether the MacBook Pro will nonetheless see a price-rise in an increasingly competitive market.

Ivy Bridge processors in the MacBook Pro

According to Bloomberg the 2012 MacBook Pros will run on Intel's Ivy Bridge processors with Nvidia graphics.

According to the previously mentioned 9to5Mac report, this combination is "perfect for a high-end professional notebook", and will boost performance while also potentially improving battery life. MacRumors in May appeared to confirm this rumour with a report on Geekbench database updates that included a 'MacBookPro9,1' entry.

The relevant model was running OS X 10.8, had a 2.7 GHz processor, and its score was 12,252, compared to 10,500 for the corresponding current MacBook Pro processor.

No 17-inch MacBook Pro - at least for now

In a MacRumors report on Retina display costs, Eric Slivka noted that the issue of the 17-inch model was 'unaddressed', not least because it would require a display of 3840-by-2400, which could mean a massive price-hike.

In the report, Slivka suggested the 17-inch model would, as usual, simply lag behind the rest of the line in terms of updates, although in an earlier article he cited a research analyst that said the 17-inch model would simply be quietly discontinued, in order to streamline the range.

MacBook Pro 2012 release date

According to the Bloomberg report, the new MacBook Pros will be unveiled at WWDC 2012, starting June 11.

Typically, Apple gets its kit on to the store extremely quickly after such announcements, and so it's possible you'll be able to order a new MacBook Pro this month. As reported by 9to5Mac, Amazon appears to be banking on this being the case, having just added laptops and netbooks to its US trade-in program.

However, Cult of Mac reported in late May on a DigiTimes story regarding supply chain 'havoc'.

Massive orders from Apple during the industry's "slow season" means demand reportedly cannot be met for a 'possible' July release. Still, you know, it's DigiTimes, and so chances are Apple's already had its MacBook Pros shipped out, and is now just waiting for everyone to open their wallets.

Expect the next-generation MacBook Pro to be thinner, faster and lovelier than this current model

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