Apple’s new MacBook Pro: goodbye 17-inch, hello new 15-inch Retina screen

The new MacBook Pro with a 15-inch Retina display.

Over in San Francisco, Apple was talking about some new products at the start of its Worldwide Developers Conference, updating its MacBook Pro computers by killing off one model and introducing something the industry hadn’t seen before today.

Apple’s MacBook Pro range has taken an expected update, with the new computers moving to Intel’s latest generation of chips, the new Core processors with Ivy Bridge technology.

Much like it was before the update this morning, you can still grab both a 13 and 15 inch MacBook Pro, with these models updated to support Intel’s 3rd generation Core technology.

The updated MacBook Pro 13 and 15 inch models.

Apple’s 13 inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,349 RRP and arrives in configurations with either a dual-core i5 or dual-core i7, with as much as 8GB RAM, either a 500GB or 750GB conventional hard drive, and Intel HD 4000 graphics, and a 13.3 inch screen with 1280×800 resolution.

Meanwhile, the 15 inch MacBook Pro will start at $1,999 RRP and come with a quad-core i7, up to 8GB RAM, either a 500GB or 750GB hard drive, Nvidia GeForce GT650M graphics card switchable to the more-battery optimised Intel HD 4000 graphics, and a 15.4 inch screen with 1440×900.

Both laptops feature the same aluminium unibody from recent years, as well as a 720p FaceTime HD camera, Gigabit Ethernet port, Firewire 800 port, Thunderbolt port, audio jacks, SDXC card slots, WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, up to 7 hour batteries, and two USB 3.0 ports.

The new MacBook Pro with a 15-inch Retina display.

And then there’s one new MacBook Pro, with a new face and body that Apple hopes will impress you.

Coming off the back of rumours, Apple has also introduced a higher resolution screen into one of its MacBook Pros, creating what Apple calls a MacBook Pro with a higher resolution display. This new 15 inch MacBook Pro does come at the expense of the 17 inch, with Apple killing off the larger model and replacing it with the new more impressive 15 inch.

Like the iPhone 4 and new iPad’s increased screen quality, the MacBook Pro with Retina display upgrades the 15 inch 1440×900 screen normally found on the model to a 2880×1800 pixel screen, effectively doubling the resolution and offering better text and image clarity.

While the new machine takes many of the specs found in the regular MacBook Pro – Intel’s 3rd generation Core i7 processors, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT650M with 1GB graphics memory, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11n – it also makes the laptop slimmer than a regular Pro laptop.

Lots of ports on the new MacBook Pro 15.

The ports have been reduced, with Ethernet and Firewire ports ditched, in favour of adapters that can be purchased separately and plugged in through the Thunderbolt port connector. A new slimmer version of Apple’s MagSafe 2 power connector helps kept the laptop slim, and the availability of the two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, headphone, and SDXC card slot offer a fair amount of versatility for interested parties.

Storage has also been shifted away from the conventional hard drive with moving parts, and like the MacBook Air, the Retina-based MacBook Pro now features a minimum of 256GB solid state drive with as much as 768GB offered as an option.

There is a higher price for the new MacBook Pro, but you probably expected that, with this new generation starting at $2,499 RRP.

Interestingly, this isn’t the usual refresh for Apple, however, with some of the changes signalling a slightly different company under the leadership of Tim Cook. While many in the tech world expected the Retina screen, the inclusions of HDMI and USB’s latest update – USB 3.0 – were two that many didn’t see coming.