Apple’s MacBook Air, Pro get updated to Intel’s fifth-generation processors

There has been a watch and a super slim new MacBook this morning, but what about the other computers Apple makes? Turns out they’re getting an update too.

Yes, it’s not the biggest news of the day, but if you were thinking of buying a MacBook Air last week and listened when we suggested holding off, your patience will have just been rewarded.

From today, Apple stores around the world (as well as the online presence) are receiving updated editions of the MacBook Air and Retina-equipped MacBook Pro, now with fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.


The chips are from the “Broadwell” generation of chips and should bring the heat down on a system, meaning there’s less reason for a fan to start up, if any have even been included with the machine.

We’re checking on that, but what we do know is the battery life looks strong on the Air front, with up to 9 hours on the 11 inch and up to 12 on the 13. Over on the refreshed 13 inch MacBook Pro with Retina, Apple is suggesting up to 10 hours of battery life are possible there, too. Sheesh.

The new MacBook Air doesn't look different at all. It's what's inside that counts.
The new MacBook Air doesn’t look different at all. It’s what’s inside that counts.

“Today the popular 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, 11-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Air all received significant upgrades,” said Philip Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple. “The 13-inch MacBook Pro has been updated with the latest processors, more powerful graphics, faster flash, longer battery life and the all-new Force Touch trackpad.”

“We’re also bringing the latest processors and graphics, and faster Thunderbolt 2 to the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air, as well as up to two times faster flash to the 13-inch MacBook Air,” he said.

The new MacBook Pro with Retina doesn't look different at all, either. Again, it's what's inside that counts.
The new MacBook Pro with Retina doesn’t look different at all, either. Again, it’s what’s inside that counts.

One tidbit you might pick up from that quote by Schiller is the “Force Touch” trackpad, and while that might seem like Luke Skywalker’s “force” has been brought over from the movies to a computer — a real life thing! — it’s actually a new type of trackpad that includes haptic feedback, similar to what Android and Windows Phone smartphones have been using for a while.

For Apple’s version of the technology, it will apparently utilise “force sensors” to return a slight vibration feedback to your fingers to let you better interact with something, almost as if your click registered a touch that was being returned to you with a deeper click.


We’re also told that a new gesture will be added to the Force-equipped trackpad called “Force Click” which will let you click once lightly followed by a heavier click to get different functions going, such as looking a word up in the dictionary or selecting a location and seeing where it is on a map. Neato.

That technology will only be on the new super-slim MacBook announced this morning, and on the updated MacBook Pro, with the updated MacBook Air missing out on the technology.


That said, both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro will get new graphics courtesy of the Intel 6000 on the Air and 6100 on the Pro, faster flash storage, and Apple’s latest operating system OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

Pricing and availability is much closer than the new MacBook, though, and you’ll find these in stores, well, now, with the MacBook Pro with Retina grabbing a starting price of $1799, while the MacBook Air will fetch starting prices of $1249 for the 11 inch model and $1399 for the 13 inch.