Last week’s rumours of new MacBook Pros on April 13 were, for once, spot on. After months of anticipation, the upgrades offer few surprises but include a number of worthwhile improvements across the board. My only regret is that the humble 13in model, which is on my shopping list, has to soldier on with the slower Core 2 processor when the bigger models are getting the new i5s and i7s.
All three models get improved graphics processors, although the biggest improvements come in the 15-in and 17-in models, and all three have improved battery life. The 13-in model can now sport a 10-hour battery life while the others offer between eight and nine hours. Since all batteries are now non-removable, this extra puff is welcome. In addition, all models, including the lowliest 13in MacBook Pro, now come with 4GB of memory as standard.
The base 2.4GHz 13in comes with a 250GB drive, SD slot, 10-hour battery and NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics and sells for £1,199, excluding sales tax in the USA (£999 including 17.5% VAT in the UK). The faster 2.66GHz model has a similar specification and a US price tag of £1,499 (£1,249).
In the 15-in range, there are three options–2.4GHz Core i5 with 320GB drive at $1,799 (£1,499), 2.53GHz i5 with 500GB drive at $1,999 (£1,649) and a 2.66GHz i7 with 500GB drive at $2,199 (£1,799). The 17-in monster comes in only one guise, 2.53GHz i5 with 500GB drive for $2,299 (£1,899).
Options for additional memory and solid-state drives are slightly cheaper than before–$400 (£320) for an additional 4GB of memory and $750 (£600) extra for a 256GB SSD drive. All models get the luxury option of a 512GB SSD drive for a sensational £1,120.
A fully specified 2.66GB 13-in MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD drive now works out at $2,649 (£2,169). Bear in mind, again, that British (and all European) prices are normally quoted inclusive of tax. Without tax, the UK equivalent prices is £1,846. That’s equivalent to $2,824 at today’s rate of exchange. So the pre-tax price is just $175 higher in the UK than in the USA. Apple explain this by the extra cost of doing business in Europe. But with exchange rates yo-yoing around all the time it must be hard to fix a price and stick to it.
So there we have it for another year or so. Buyers who’ve been waiting in the wings for the past six months can now go out and buy with confidence.