Apple's commitment to the personal computing market has gotten smaller, but only in terms of device size, as made clear in company's announcements today of a smaller MacBook Pro With Retina display and thinner, more powerful iMac destkops models.
13-Inch MacBook Pro With Retina Display
By far the most expected announcement was a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and Apple didn't disappoint. Citing the 13-inch MacBook Pro as Apple's best-selling notebook model, Phil Schiller, Sr. VP of Worldwide Marketing, indicated to the rapt audience that producing a Pro Retina model was a logical conclusion.
The device has a lot more going for it than that hi-res screen, though it certainly has that, too, with a 2560 X 1600 pixel display that Schiller cracked was the world's "second highest resolution notebook display" - after the 15-inch version. The new notebook is just .75-inch thick, which Schiller cites as 20% thinner than the MacBook Pro.
The device is priced relatively high for a notebook of its power configuration: a 2.5-GHz with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB Flash drive runs for $1,699. A version with a 256GB solid state drive will run $1,999. For users who need the power of a Retina display, though, like designers and photographers, the prices are more attainable than the 15-inch Retina models, which start at $2,199.
The new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros are shipping today.
iMacs Get Thinner
Schiller also showcased a new line of iMacs, Apple's stand-alone personal computers.
The new iMacs' biggest physical feature has to be the reduction of the devices' thickness. Schiller excitedly displayed the form factor of the device that is almost 45% thinner than the current line of iMacs.
Of course, with that thinness, something had to go, and that would be the optical drive. Neither the 21.5-inch or 27-inch model will feature an optical drive, though Schiller did say that Apple would still market an external drive for those "stuck in the past."
iMac users may not mind the loss, thanks to the inclusion of the new FusionDrive option for the iMac product line. The FusionDrive is a software-controlled drive that combines a 128GB of Flash drive and either 1TB or 3TB HDD space into what appears to the user as a single volume.
What's notable about this configuration is that Mountain Lion users will have the operating system and apps automatically installed on the Flash portion of the drive, with documents and other files out on the HDD. If an application has low usage, Schiller explained, it would automatically be shifted to the HDD section of the drive.
The 21.5-inch model will feature a 2.7-GHz quad-core i5 with 8GB RAM and a 1TB HDD for $1299, with shipping starting sometime in November. The 27-inch model, which will ship in December, will feature a 2.9-GHz quad-core i5 with the same memory and drive for $1,799.
Also announced today were updated Mac Mini models. The new headless computers have dual- or quad-core Core i5/i7 processors, a max of 16 GB of RAM and 500 GB hard drive, starting at $599. Server models that can hold up to two 1-TB HDDs are starting at $999.