Apple released updates to the entire MacBook Air and MacBook Pro line, introduced a new model, dropped the 17 inch MacBook Pro and updated the Mac Pro Tower.
The big news is the introduction of the MacBook Pro 15 inch with Retina display. This is a new design which is somewhat of a cross between a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro. Like the Air, it has a solid state drive but no optical drive. The highlight is what Apple calls the “highest resolution notebook display,” the Retina display. External connections include Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, HDMI, SDXC card slot and headphone jack. Note that it does not have a Firewire connection although a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter will be available from Apple in July. The MacBook Pro Retina display is geared toward the high-end graphics professional and replaces the 17 inch MacBook Pro in the lineup.
The new MacBook Air 11 and 13 inch models both start at 4GB of RAM, a welcome change. The USB connection has been upgraded to the USB 3.0 standard and both models include new Intel chips with faster processors.
All laptops now include “Turbo Boost.” This increases the speed of the processor under heavy load.
The Mac Pro update was heavily anticipated by video professionals and others requiring a top-end workhorse Mac. Unfortunately the update was modest. Instead of the anticipated redesign, the same Intel chip was given a speed bump and more RAM was added. USB 3 and Thunderbolt aren’t included and all else remains the same as previous models. An Apple verified email from Tim Cook to a customer says that a revised Mac Pro will come “later in 2013.” The Mac Pro is still the most expandable Mac. A USB 3.0 card can be added, an eSATA or fiber for fast external storage and the case holds four drives that slip in and out with ease.