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MacBook Pro: New, cheaper sweet-spot configuration


Today’s surprise MacBook upgrades bring the sweet-spot standard walk-in-and-buy 15in Retina Pro for the first time. Since the introduction of the retina-screened MBPs last year, the only standard configuration with 16GB of memory was the £3,000-plus specced-up quad-core i7 with the unnecessarily large 769GB solid-state disk. Those who wanted the bigger RAM package, which is the single best way of improving performance, were forced to go for a built-to-order model in order to bring the price down.

The top configuration has now been dropped from the standard bill of fare in physical Apple Stores, where the 15in range starts with the 2.4GHz processor, 8GB of memory and a 256GB disk. For the second standard off-the-shelf configuration, Apple has sensibly opted for a speedy 2.7GHz processor, a smaller 512GB disk and, most importantly, the big 16GB RAM package. The £2,299 price tag, including tax, is attractive.

Most power users will be delighted with the new compromise and I predict BTO orders will be less popular. While I do not consider it worth the extra £200 to get the 2.8GHz processor, nor a further £320 for the upgrade to a 768GB drive, those who do want all this now have a better deal. This top-spec computer now costs £2,819 compared with yesterday’s £3,099 price tag.

by Mike Evans, 13 February 2013