WWDC 2012: Retina Display reaches MacBook Pro

By Jonny Evans

Apple [AAPL] CEO Tim Cook and marketing head honcho, Phil Schiller, have introduced new Macs at WWDC 2012 this morning.

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Stopping only briefly to reveal the company's coughed-up over $5 billion in payments to iOS app developers, the company's taking the wraps off of its new range of updated notebooks, chopping $100 from the entry-level price of the MacBook Air, (now $999 for the 1.7GHz 11-inch model).

Confirming months of speculation, the new Macs offer Ivy Bridge processors and up to 8GB of memory. The company promises its new MacBooks will run up to "16 times faster" than the previous generation -- not a bad bump. These models are available with up to 512GB flash storage, USB 3, a FaceTime camera. A 13-inch series is also available.

The notebook upgrades didn't stop with the MacBook Air, the Pro series laptops also came in for change, once again with Ivy Bridge processors, up to 60 percent faster graphics, 1GB video memory. 13- and a 15-inch breeds are available.

Somewhat theatrically, Cook and Schiller held one more Mac, this one wheeled on stage and hidden by a black cloth. Schiller said Apple's design team has spent time thinking on the future of the MacBook Pro. This will boast a "magnificent new display" is thin (0.71-inches) and weighs 4.46Ibs. "This is the lightest pro notebook Apple's ever made," said Schiller.

And, of course, this 15-inch MacBook Pro boasts a Retina Display (2,880-x-1,800 with 220PPI). Glare and reflection are far better than on other laptops and it ships with a version of Lion that's been updated to exploit the display.

As part of the presentation, Apple will also introduce iLife and pro apps improvements to enable use of the new display. Mac OS X will double pixels in unadapted apps and Adobe is cooking up a new version of Photoshop for it, also.

Equipped with quad-core Intel i7 processors the Mac can take up to16GB of memory and uses Nvidia's new Kepler graphics chips. Additional details: 768GB of flash storage, 7 hours battery life, SD, stereo speakers, dual mics, HDMI, Thunderbolt, USB 3, MacSafe. The company promises adaptor cables for Firewire and Ethernet users.

Apple has been expected to update other Macs. We'll be watching for new information during the keynote.

More details of these new Macs follow:

Model details: In its press release Apple confirms the new Macs exploit Intel Core processors, faster graphics and offer flash storage that is up to twice as fast as the previous generation (I wonder if the Anobit acquisition has helped with this).

Apple’s AirPort Express has also been redesigned to include features previously available only in AirPort Extreme.

MacBook Air

-- Available in 11-inch and 13-inch designs this model features Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors. Additional features

-- Intel HD Graphics 4000 is up to 60 percent faster.

-- 4GB of faster memory, configurable up to 8GB

-- FaceTime HD camera delivers high-definition 720p.

MacBook Pro

-- The 13-inch MacBook Pro models feature Intel Core i5 or Core i7 dual-core processors up to 2.9 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz.

-- The 15-inch MacBook Pro hosts Intel Core i7 quad-core processors up to 2.7 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics.

-- These Macs can be configured with a 1TB hard drive or SSDs up to 512GB.

-- The 13-inch MacBook Air, and 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro deliver up to 7 hours of wireless battery life, and the 11-inch MacBook Air delivers up to 5 hours.

-- Starting today, customers who purchase a Mac are eligible for a free copy of OS X Mountain Lion when it ships.

"The new AirPort Express features a completely redesigned compact enclosure and new wireless and connectivity capabilities. Simultaneous dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi allows users to easily create a network that delivers optimal performance and range. The AirPort Express also features an audio-out port to connect external powered speakers or an A/V receiver and use AirPlay to wirelessly stream from iTunes on your Mac or iOS device. A USB 2.0 port allows you to share a printer wirelessly over your network, and an additional ethernet port lets you connect to other computers and network devices."

MacBook Pro with Retina Display

-- 15-inch Retina display offers 220 pixels-per-inch and uses IPS technology for a 178-degree wide viewing angle, and has 75 percent less reflection and 29 percent higher contrast than the previous generation.

-- These Macs can play four simultaneous streams of uncompressed 1080p HD video from internal storage.

-- Engineered aluminium unibody design.

-- 7 hours battery life

-- Core i7 quad-core processors up to 2.7 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz

-- NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics.

-- Up to 16GB of faster 1600 MHz RAM.

-- Flash storage up to 768GB.

-- Two Thunderbolt and two USB 3.0 ports.

-- FaceTime HD camera.

-- Glass Multi-Touch trackpad.

-- Full-size backlit keyboard.

-- Thinner MagSafe port.

-- Starting today, customers who purchase a Mac are eligible for a free copy of OS X Mountain Lion when it ships.

Also read:

WWDC: iPhone in the wings, expect software surprises

Apple WWDC: iOS 6 says farewell to Google Maps

Apple Mountain Lion OS stalks to launch -- free upgrade?

iPhone 5 release: Apple's September launch, what to expect

Apple TV: exec says it's coming 'soon'

Computerworld's WWDC 2012 topic page

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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