Along with the new 12″ MacBook, Apple updated the 13.3″ MacBook Pro Retina model last week. Unlike the 12″ MacBook, the MacBook Pro models retain all of their ports, including two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, HDMI and an SD card slot.
The processors got a modest update to the new Intel Broadwell line, which is designed to be a more efficient processor. Early benchmarks show a nominal improvement over the previous Haswell processors. However, Apple bumped the battery life specs to 10 hours of use (compared to 9 hours for the Haswell).
The graphics have also been updated to include Intel’s integrated Iris Graphics 6100 chipset over the previous Iris Graphics 5100. The new models can now support 4K video output at 60Hz over DisplayPort, whereas the 2014 models could only push 4K video at 30Hz. The built-in display remains unchanged with its Retina-class 2560 x 1600 resolution at 227 ppi.
The biggest upgrade to the new machines comes in the for of its trackpad. Apple has updated the trackpad with the same Force Touch trackpad found in the new 12″ MacBook. As such, the trackpad no longer moves to “click” when press down on it. Instead, it features electromagnets under the trackpad surface that provide haptic feedback to your touch. Accordingly, it still feels like you are clicking it.
The Force Touch effect goes one step further to provide additional control based on the amount of pressure you apply to the trackpad. In the demo from Apple, users would press harder to fast-forward a video even faster, or “Force-click” a word to bring up a definition.
It’s a new element of control that will likely build on the natural gesture controls, which many Mac users now swear by. Whether it is as integral to the OS X user experience remains to be seen but early reports show a lot of promise.
Only the 13.3″ models are updated for now. Expect to see similar updates to the 15″ models later this year when the Intel Broadwell processors for its class are released.
The new 13.3″ MacBook Pro Retina models start $1299 with a 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM and 128GB flash storage. Configurations allow you to upgrade to a 3.1GHz Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and 1TB flash storage. You can find the new line 13.3″ MacBook Pro models here at B&H Photo.