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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Apple releases new MacBook Pro, iMac 5K models

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

On Tuesday Apple updated the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and iMac Retina 5K. These are incremental updates to existing products, but in the case of the MacBook Pro there are some interesting new features.

RMBP 15 gets Force Touch

Back in March Apple updated the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with the new Force Touch Trackpad also found in the new adjectiveless MacBook1. The $1999 2015 model 15″ Retina MacBook Pro now gains that same trackpad. The MacBook Air looks on forlornly.

The new MacBook Pro also features faster storage (throughput up to 2GBps), is rated for an additional hour of battery life, and offers a discrete-graphics-processor option (available on the higher-end $2499 model) featuring the Radeon R9 M370X. And if your MacBook Pro has the Radeon R9 M370X, it can use its Thunderbolt 2 port to drive an external display2 (5120 x 2160) at 60Hz, which is pretty cool.

However, a lot of MacBook Pro fans have been waiting for Apple to ship new laptops based on Intel’s latest-generation Broadwell technology, but these laptops appear to be using speed-bumped versions of the older Haswell chip generation. (That explains the groaning I heard from my developer friends via the Internet this morning.) This new MacBook Pro appears to be an improvement over the previous generation, but it doesn’t appear to be the quantum leap some were hoping for.

Retina iMac gets more affordable

The Retina 5K iMac hasn’t really changed, but Apple has created a lower-end configuration that brings the starting price of the product below $2000. For your $1999 price tag, you get all the pixels of the higher-end $2299 (new lower price!) Retina iMac, but a slightly slower Core i5 processor and a purely spinning 1TB hard drive rather than the 1TB fusion drive.

If the extra $300 of the higher-end model is simply a bridge too far, then the Retina iMac is now in your price range. But this looks to me a bit more powerful as a bit of buying psychology. Now the Retina iMac “starts under $2000!” Sounds great, but I’d recommend springing for at least the Fusion Drive—it’s a $200 upgrade from the base model.

Still, many months in I’m still loving my Retina 5K iMac, and it’s good to see Apple slowly growing the options in that product line.

iPhone Lightning dock

And then there’s this. My old Macworld colleague Dan Frakes points out that Apple also added an iPhone Lightning dock to the Apple Store. Third party accessory vendors take note.

  1. Still looking for the best nickname for the new MacBook. Marco Arment seems to be calling it the “MacBook One.” I also kind of like “MacBook Nothing.” As for adjectiveless, that’s what comic book fans used to call the comic “X-Men” when it spun out of “Uncanny X-Men.” See? No adjective. 
  2. Okay, so if 5120×2880 is 5K and 3840×2160 is 4K, what’s 5120 x 2160? 4.5K? UPDATE: I’m told that the “K” comes from the vertical lines, as opposed to the descriptions we’re used to for TV resolutions which are based on horizontal lines. 5120 x 2160 is 5K, but not quite the same as the 5K iMac. 

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