Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) is held annually in California by the company. The conference is used by Apple to showcase new products, technology and software, mostly for its developers. At this year’s WWDC, Apple announced new models of MacBook Air and a new line of MacBook Pro sporting their retina displays. They also showcased OS X Mountain Lion (their newest operating system) and iOS 6.
This article will focus specifically on the MacBook while the next part will highlight everything else that went on at the conference.
Let’s start off with the Macbook Air. What many tech journalists and Apple fan boys were expecting was a retina display MacBook Air. They didn’t get it presumably because Apple couldn’t introduce the technology without significantly increasing the price. What they got instead was a significant update to the ultraportable member of the family. They got the much needed Ivy Bridge update, a pair of USB 3.0 ports and the flash storage capacity can now be doubled to a 512GB SSD. One can also get 8 gigs of 1600MHz DDR3L RAM and the brand new Magsafe 2 connector on the laptop.
The base model, 11-inch version, can still be bought for $999, while the bigger 13-inch for $1199, which is a $100 drop over its predecessor. Besides an increase in performance, there has been no improvement anywhere else.
The Macbook Pro has consistently been Apple’s best selling laptop since quite a while but a redesign is what many fans have been waiting for over a year and a half. It’s not the thinnest or the best looking product (that award goes to the Air) but it has the computing power for heavy duty artists and gamers.
Almost everything besides the exterior has been updated in this laptop. The CPU has been upgraded up to a 2.7 GHz quad-core i7 Ivy Bridge. The graphics have been switched from AMD to Nvidia with the Kepler GeForce GT 650M with the new Intel HD Graphics. The storage has been upped in the 15-inch version to 1TB or a 512 GB SSD. There are a plethora of ports and one can expect the same price for the base models. It’s $1,799 for the base 15-inch model and $1,119 for the base 13-inch model.
Retina Display MacBook Pro
The big announcement that everyone was waiting for was the heavily-rumored retina display MacBook and they didn’t disappoint. This is known as the next-gen Macbook Pro. It packs in a Retina display with a massive 2880×1800 resolution and a casing that measures only 0.71-inch thick and weighs only 4.46 pounds. Apple promises a higher contrast ratio, better viewing angles and reduced glare compared to other laptop displays. It’ll get up to 16GB of RAM, Nvidia’s Kepler GT 650M, up to a quad-core i7 (Ivy Bridge processor), a maximum of 768GB SSD, a promised 7 hours of battery life, and 30 days standby.
One big omission from this laptop (which was expected though) is that there is no optical drive, other minor omissions include there being no Ethernet or FireWire ports. It’s a bit expensive though, starting at $2,199 for a 2.3GHZ unit with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The axed 17-inch MacBook
This was expected but was still surprising for some of the Apple loyalists. Apple has decided to axe the 17-inch model of the MacBook Pro from its lineup. This is probably due to the fact that sales of the 17-inch model had been dropping every quarter and with other manufacturers moving towards smaller laptops and cheaper prices, Apple wasn’t going to be left behind.
It may have been one of the first to introduce a 17-inch model but it is also one of the first to discontinue them.
Which one should you buy?
The two most important factors when deciding on a laptop are your budget and the size of laptop you are looking for. Everything else comes second. This is no difference when you are deciding on which of the new MacBook’s you want (assuming you want an Apple laptop!).
If there is no budgetary problem and you just want the best of the best, then go for the new Retina display MacBook’s. The screen is jaw droppingly good and with a 75% reduction in glare from the previous MacBook Pro’s, this laptop is a no brainer.
If your budget is still stretched and you want a 15-inch model, then look no further than the newly updated MacBook Pro with Ivy Bridge. Even the base model significantly outperforms its predecessors in the benchmarks and with the base model price staying the same, this is looking like a sure shot hit for Apple.
If portability is what you’re after, I’d say buy a MacBook Air (if you have to buy an Apple model), it’s got a significant update and the benchmarks show that, but with so many Ultrabooks coming out in the last quarter of the year and with the introduction of Windows 8 in October, it’s worth it to wait.
Overall, the MacBooks at WWDC have clearly taken centre stage and it’s no surprise. They outperform their predecessors, introduce new technology and stay ahead of the competition. A much needed update for Apple and now all of you can go and spend your hard earned money on one of these.