New model, two-year-old processor: the 2015 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro … – Ars Technica (blog)

Apple released a new 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro last month, but it’s not the update we were expecting.

When the company held off refreshing the 15-inch model alongside the 13-inch Pro and both MacBook Airs earlier this year, we assumed it was waiting for the oft-delayed quad-core Broadwell processors from Intel. Those were just announced and should begin showing up at retail within the next 30 to 60 days. Assuming they follow the same pattern as the dual-core Broadwell parts, those chips would have provided small CPU and battery life boosts and larger increases to graphics performance.

Instead, Apple released the new MacBook Pros with the exact same chips they’ve been using for almost two years now, quad-core Haswell chips with Intel’s Iris Pro 5200 GPU. It’s not clear why this happened—given the timing I’d guess Apple knows something we don’t about how well Intel’s quad-core parts are ramping up—but whatever the reason, the new model is neither as significant nor as interesting as it might have been.

The new MacBook Pros do include a handful of other upgrades, though. A different dedicated GPU in the high-end model, a marginally larger battery, and faster PCI Express-based storage are all welcome improvements. Apple sent us the high-end $2,499 model for review so we could at least test out all of those tweaks, but if you were hoping for something significantly better than the 2013 and 2014 models, you’ll come away disappointed.

Look and feel, 4K and 5K, and the Force Touch trackpad

Nothing about the design of the new MacBook Pro is a surprise. This is the same unibody aluminum chassis Apple has been using for the 15-inch model since the Retina model was introduced back in 2012.

If you’re upgrading from an older 15-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro, this laptop will still seem relatively thin and light. Those models weighed 5.6 pounds where the Retina version weighs 4.49 pounds; they were 0.95 inches thick where the Retina model is 0.71 inches thick.

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