Professional-grade Mac users, take note: Apple today announced updates to both its MacBook Pro line of performance laptops, as well as its Mac Pro workstation tower.
As per usual, the MacBook Pro line is getting slimmer. Both the 15- and 13-inch models are just a bit thicker than seven-tenths of an inch wide, with weight reductions to match. Notably, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display now weighs in under 3.5 pounds.
Both laptop models are getting an upgrade to Intel’s Iris integrated graphics chip, which provides significant performance boosts over the previous generation of integrated cards powering the laptops. For people looking for a dedicated graphics card, whether for gaming or something else, the high-end 15-inch rMBP sports a GeForce GT 750M graphics card with 2GB of dedicated VRAM.
Along with the performance improvements, picking up a Retina laptop just got cheaper, too. The 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 for Apple’s base configuration, while the 15-inch model starts at $1,999. There are, of course, a variety of build-to-order options available for those people who want to customize their Mac.
The new Mac Pro, which was announced at WWDC, will retail for $2,999, and will be available from the Apple Store in December. The monolithic black cylinder will be manufactured here in the United States, a first for Apple, which usually chooses to partner with manufacturers in and around China.
The base model sports a 3.7 GHz Intel Xeon processor, along with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of flash storage. That may seem like a fairly small amount of internal space, and that’s because Apple seems to be banking on users of the Mac Pro connecting larger amounts of storage to the Mac Pro using the tower’s 6 Thunderbolt ports. That’s a big shift from the company’s previous tower, which offered four internal hard drive bays for people looking to expand their storage.
The other purpose for the sextet of Thunderbolt ports is the ability to simultaneously drive three 4K displays from the Mac Pro’s twin GPUs. While some thought Apple was going to be offering a first-party 4K display to go with that capability, it didn’t show up at today’s event.
With the updates, Apple is trying to build new momentum for the Mac lineup, which hasn’t been immune to the broader slump in the traditional desktop and notebook computer market.
Blair Hanley Frank is GeekWire’s Bay Area Correspondent. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.