New 2016 MacBook Pro with Retina display release date, specs and UK pricing … – Macworld UK
There are two sizes of MacBook Pro models available from Apple right now – a 13in model, last updated in March 2015, and a 15in model, last updated in May 2015.
We anticipate that Apple will be updating these models at some point in the first half of this year, perhaps at WWDC in June.
We’d like to see a bit of a makeover, but it’s what’s inside that counts and what’s inside currently is the Intel Broadwell processor in the 13in model (updated in March 2015) and inexplicably, the even older Haswell processor in the 15in version which was updated in May 2015.
We say inexplicably, but part of that blame must lie at the feet of Intel, who was particularly lax at updating its chips in 2015. It seems likely that the MacBook Pro range will finally get the Skylake chips at some point in the first part of 2016. That will make a lot of professional Mac users very happy. We hope to hear more at the rumoured March event.
2016 Retina MacBook Pro specs
We anticipate that the new MacBook Pro models will feature Skylake processors, which will bring wire-free computing capabilities to laptops . The new 13in and especially the 15in MacBook Pro are likely to feature a Skylake processor.
Skylake will bring significant performance gains. In addition, new wireless technology in Skylake will replace display, charging and data transfer cables. A Skylake MacBook Pro could be an even faster machine.
Another point to note. Currently only the 15in models offer quad-core processors, which means they compare very favourably with the 27in iMacs, which also sport quad-core processors, although these are i5 rather than i7.
We hope the 15in versions of the 2016 MacBook Pro maintain these quad-core processors – the reason for our concern is the fact that the Mac mini when updated in October lost its quad-core processor options.
While the 13in models feature 8GB RAM, the 15in models all offer 16GB RAM and it’s likely that the 16GB of RAM offered by the 15in models will remain.
The 15in MacBook Pro is Apple’s only laptop to offer the dual-graphics card setup that allows users to switch graphics cards depending on the kind of work being performed. So the less power-hungry apps need only use the integrated graphics, thereby draining less of your battery, but power-intensive apps can use the specialised graphics processor. The Mac switches between the two processors according to the application being used. It’s the best of both worlds. Hopefully Apple will continue to offer the dual graphics processor option in the high-end MacBook Pro.
The 13in Retina MacBook Pro offers 9 hours of battery life and the 15in model offers 8 hours. Given that the MacBook Air offers 12 hours of battery life in the 13in model, and 9 hours in the 11in version – despite the fact that the thinner MacBook Air has less battery space, the Pro model is looking like it lacks the stamina of its slimmer sibling. However, the MacBook Pro is a more powerful and therefore more power-hungry machine, so it is unlikely to ever match the battery life of the Air.
We’d like to see more battery life offered by the new 2016 models, though, aided by the new Broadwell processors, and other energy use enhancements offered by El Capitan.
2016 Retina MacBook Pro launch date
We anticipate that we couls see new MacBook Pro models at WWDC, although they could arrive sooner.
2015 13in Retina MacBook Pro specs
The Retina MacBook Pro 2015 was quickly announced during Apple’s 9 March Spring Forward Apple Watch event, alongside updates to the MacBook Air and the 13in MacBook Pro, and an all-new MacBook, which you can read about in our MacBook round-up article here.
The changes to the 2015 13in MacBook Pro were all under the hood. The 13-inch MacBook Pro got a new INtel Broadwell processor chip with speeds up to 3.1 GHz and Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.4GHz – and Intel Iris Graphics 6100. And its flash memory is twice as fast, with claimed throughput of up to 1.6GBps.
Apple also claims that battery life is longer: the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro now delivers up to 10 hours of general use or up to 12 hours of iTunes movie playback, the company says.
There was one change to the physical design of 2015’s Retina MacBook Pro: it too gets the Force Touch trackpad seen on the new 12-inch MacBook notebook.
According to Apple’s press release, this will make all the difference to your day-to-day computing experience: “The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features the all-new Force Touch trackpad that brings a new dimension of interactivity to the Mac. The new trackpad features built-in force sensors that allow you to click anywhere and haptic feedback that provides a responsive and uniform feel. You can even customise the feel of the trackpad by changing the amount of pressure needed to register each click. The Force Touch trackpad also enables a new gesture called Force Click, a click followed by a deeper press, for tasks like pulling up the definition of a word, quickly seeing a map or glancing at a preview of a file.”
In other words, it’s sensitive to different degrees of touch – you can press harder to speed up the fast-forward command on a video player, for instance.
Wondering which MacBook is best for you? Read: MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro comparison review, 13in Apple laptops compared
2015 15in Retina MacBook Pro specs
In May 2015 Apple two new 15-inch variants of the MacBook Pro to its Online Store, complete with Force Touch capabilities.
The base model comes packing a 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz, 16GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage. That’s without mentioning the Intel Iris Pro Graphics and of course, the beautiful Retina display. It also boasts Force Touch, a feature that made its debut on the Apple Watch and 13in MacBook Pro back in March.
For those of you that need a bit more bang for your buck, Apple also stocks another variation. This one boasts a 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz, as well as 16GB RAM and a 512GB of flash based storage.
One surprise is that the latest 15in Retina MacBook Pro models still feature Intel’s Haswell processors, rather than the newer Broadwell, suggesting Apple is skipping the much delayed Broadwell processors and waiting for Skylake.
The new Macs do have some benefits, they gain a Force Touch trackpad, and faster flash storage, better discrete graphics on the top of the range, and better battery life.
Probably Broadwell wouldn’t have made a great deal of improvement to the 2014 models.
Another reason why Apple has skipped Broadwell is the fact that the quad-core Broadwell chips that Apple would have required for the MacBook Pro models (and the new 27in Retina iMac that was also introduced) haven’t yet launched.
All eyes will are on Intel now, as the company gears up to release Skylake, which is what everyone is really waiting for. Hopefully it won’t take Intel another year to release Quad-core versions of Skylake or we will have a long wait for faster Macs.
2015 Retina MacBook Pro prices
The best way to gage the price of the new models is to look at the existing range.
As usual with Apple laptops – and indeed laptops in general – prices vary widely depending on the specification you go for. There are three basic starting configurations:
- 2.7GHz Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost speed up to 3.1 GHz), 8GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage: starts at £999. View on Apple Store
- 2.7GHz Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz), 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage: starts at £1,199. View on Apple Store
- 2.9GHz Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz), 8GB of memory and 512GB of flash storage: starts at £1,399. View on Apple Store
Configure-to-order options include a faster dual-core Intel Core i7 processor up to 3.1GHz (Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.4 GHz), up to 16GB of memory and flash storage up to 1TB.
These prices are pretty much what we would have expected, given the prices of the old range:
- 13in Retina MacBook Pro, 2.6GHz (dual-core i5), 128GB, £999
- 13in Retina MacBook Pro, 2.6GHz (dual -core i5), 256GB, £1,199
- 13in Retina MacBook Pro, 2.8GHz (dual -core i5), 512GB, £1,399
Above: the non-Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro is still on sale, but for how long? Will Apple update the MacBook Pro with CD/DVD drive in 2015 ? There have been rumours that Apple will update that model, but also rumours that it will be discontinued. Read more here: MacBook Pro with CD/DVD redesign: Apple ‘planning new non-Retina MacBook Pro’.
The ‘entry-level’ 15in model costs £1,599 and the top of the range 15in model will set you back £1,999.
Read our MacBook Pro Retina reviews