New 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and Cheaper $1,999 27-inch Retina iMac Released Amid Mixed Emotions

New 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and Cheaper $1,999 27-inch Retina iMac Released Amid Mixed Emotions

Following speculation of such a release, Apple announced the availability of updated versions of its 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with Force Touch and a new, cheaper 27-inch Retina iMac. While some specifications are improved, others seem to regress, spurring disdainful comments from some of Apple's biggest fans. On the other hand, it's likely that Apple (the most profitable company in the world) knows what they're doing.

First things first: the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display can now be had for $1,999, down from $2,499 in the previous version. That's a deal by any standards (let alone Apple standards) for the value of the screen alone. Graphics also improve with the AMD R9 M290 with 2GB RAM. The new entry-level model starts us out with a quad-core i5 processor at 3.3Ghz with Turbo Boost to 3.7Ghz that is even two megahertz slower than its previous counterpart. Finally, the entry into the Retina iMac with the new $1,999 price-point ditches the Fusion drive for a standard, old-fashioned spinning hard drive, giving Mac fanatics another reason to complain after the slower processors.

The truth is, however, that you can still get what you need if you want to upgrade, as the higher-end options are also discounted, now starting at $2,299. Complaining about a few spec drops that correspond to a significant drop in the barrier of entry is silly. Everyone should also be used to Apple tweaking every aspect of a computer to the best benefit possible. The new iMac will undoubtedly sell to people who were on the edge and to others who simply want to save a little more. It's good business for all.

Perhaps the other "first things first" is that the new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display now features flash storage with up to 2 GB/s. That's not a typo (I checked ten times). That's up to two gigabytes per second of gut-wrenching power that will provide some serious performance improvements. Meanwhile, 16 GB is the new minimum amount of RAM that comes in the new machine — the only problem being that it's also still the maximum.

The $1,999 entry-level 15-inch MacBook Pro starts with Intel Iris Pro graphics, a quad-core 2.2Ghz i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.4Ghz, and 256GB of that lightning-fast PCIe-based flash storage. Those features are upgradeable to combine the Intel graphics with an AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB RAM, to a quad-core 2.8Ghz i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4Ghz, and to 1TB of flash storage; and all models feature the new Force Touch trackpad technology that first debuted in the new MacBook and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro refresh. Those specifications translate to an 80-percent improvement in graphics performance, a 2.5x increase in flash storage speed, and magically greater efficiency leading to a one-hour extension in battery life to a new nine-hour total.

Those with a keen eye will notice the lack of a Broadwell mention because they're still not ready, leading Apple to stick with Intel's current-generation Haswell processors while its users have another reason to complain. Some outlets are speculating that Apple won't even release a model with Broadwell processors, opting instead for Intel's Skylake processors due at the tail end of 2015. However, while neither model screams, "Must update now," both are great updates that improve speed or price. Users with any of the current models, however, will almost undoubtedly be better off holding out for Skylake and further potential improvements.

You can find the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display and the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, both starting at $1,999 on the Apple Store website.

[via MacRumors and 9to5Mac]

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Ariel Martini's picture

what i don't get from apple is why a 256->512GB ssd upgrade costs $300 while the price difference is around $100. same for memory. $200 for a 8GB->16GB upgrade that costs about $80

You can't look at normal ssd pricing. All MacBooks have Pcie Flash that run around 1 GB/s. Yes 1000 MB/s ( megabytes ). I agree on the memory.

Apple have a proprietary m.2 socket that fits either a Samsung 941 or a 950 SSD (or 'Flash Card/Storage' in Apple parlance). PC and Laptops can also fit this drive, with the 950 there's two versions the m.2 SATA protocol and the m.2 NVMe version (950 only). The NVMe being the fastest there is.

In real world usage the read/write is no different from the PC version and is a lot slower than the NVMe that's coming to market now.

Adam Ottke's picture

It's just the same markup Apple has always had on their products...but also built into the options in this case. And it's good business...they have something everyone wants and is willing to pay for and take advantage of that. Good for them. But it's true that it's quite pricey. And yes, now it's at 2GB/s in some computers (like the new 15-inch rMBP). And that's pretty amazing...

Tam Nguyen's picture

Here, I'll start the war: Apple sucks. I can build just as powerful of a PC that cost only half the price. I've run my PC for years without any problems at all, and I can customize it the way I want. Why anyone would shell out so much money to become a sheep will always be beyond me.

Michael Kormos's picture

Because not everyone has the spare time required to build a PC from scratch, piece by piece; nor is everyone as resourceful as you in maintaining a windows PC, including running all those utilities and add-ons just to keep the malware and viruses away. Also, as a piece of office decor, they're just awfully ugly to look at :-) Plus, OSX is still a much smoother operator. If it costs me 40% more to buy a reliable and secure machine with literally zero maintenance, which in turn saves hours upon hours of troubleshooting various issues each month, I'm happy to pay it.

Tam Nguyen's picture

I can name at least a few of my friends who recently got their Mac infected with malware. So the perception that OSX is more secure than Windows is completely false. My Windows desktop requires no maintenance either. It just runs.

Usman Dawood's picture

LOL you knew what you were getting into :P

I wonder if he will add the $2300 Dell 27 inch 5K monitor to his "cheaper" home built pc.

Ariel Martini's picture
Hans Rosemond's picture

I don't think Macs suck. People just want what they want. Do leica's suck because a nikon or canon can do what it does for a fraction of the cost? Nah. Some people are just willing to pay more for the name/experience. That said, I've had both Macs and PCs and both do the job just fine. If you're going to buy a mac, though, I'd buy used. I agree, though, that Malware and crashing is a universal problem.

Ariel Martini's picture

sorry @michael building a pc takes about 2 hours, at most 5 hours if you have to learn from scratch. you can order all parts online in the same site. you need: case, motherboard, processor, memory, hdd, psu, keyboard, mouse, monitor and optionally cooler, sdd, optical drive, speaker and video card. it's also much better and cheaper to upgrade and maintain than an imac.
to keep viruses away i use only one software: avg.

People buy all-in-ones for the convenience. They rather do something else than troubleshoot their computers. It's easier to go Apple or Dell for support.

Josh Rottman's picture

"A machine with literally zero maintenance" is an oxymoron. I shoot full time, have built 3 PCs and every company I've been to has thanked me for saving them money. In 3 years I've never had a single major issue, only the type of little things every computer owner experiences (I shoot in an environment full of Mac users). It's just like owning and operating a camera, the more you understand about how it functions, the more likely you are to keep it in working order in the long term.

And when 4K becomes the mainstream, I'll be able to swap out the RAM and video cards on all of these machines and be ready for the future. You'll be dropping $4k at the Apple store for the next disposable machine you'll need to keep up with my $600 investment. I suggest the one in Delaware. They have no sales tax.

Justin Haugen's picture

I build my PCs and will always support the argument for it, but I understand why people choose to use Apple computers and it's too subjective of an experience to have to tell people why their reasons are invalid.

Brian Dowling's picture

You buy your own clothes? Wow, that sucks. I can sew my own clothes for half the price! I can even customize them any way I want. Why would anyone shell out so much money for expensive clothes and glasses to become a sheep.

Keep on defragmenting that hard drive.

Ariel Martini's picture

lol.. i don't defrag my hd since windows xp. that's over 6 years ago.

It doesn't do so by itself though, does it? Mac OS does its own maintenance in the background. Why can't windows catch up to that? Besides the interface remains outdated and ugly no matter how much they try to modernize it.

Ariel Martini's picture

that's what i'm saying, since windows 7 (2009) it does it in background.

about interface and looks that's all it comes down to when i argue with someone about pc x mac. the final word is always "i want to pay $1000 more for the looks". well, that's your choice.

Paulo Macedo's picture

Defrag??? Ohhh you macheads never evolve. Keep up with the 2005 OS X. xD you are hitech jokes yourselves!!

Paulo Macedo's picture

Tam, they love to pay for nothing. Why bother? 800€ i've built such a PC that would take 4000€ to get on apple side.
8 Core processor with 4.5GHz
16GB DDR3 2100MHz
Saphire AMD R7 260X OC
And a lot other gizmos! It runs flawlessly, i don't know what viruses are, my computer is allways clean and running. With the spare 1000€, i've bought an WQHD 27" IPS screen with a color gamut superior to the one on the iMac, and i've paid like 20€ more to get the screen calibrated.

And with the money that i've spared i went to a strip club... (not)

So yeah, Tam, we PC users know our stuff. =P

Ofcourse you can built a pc that is cheaper but it will be with cheaper components. All MacBook Pro's have Pcie flash ( 1 Gigabyte/s ) Go buy that and built that in your medium hardware self built pc. You need at least 2 ordinary SSD's in RAID 0 to get the same read write. Sure you'll pay a little for design but at least be fair when comparing hardware components.

Ariel Martini's picture

It's less commom but you can assemble a pc with pcie ssd, just get a motherboard with m2 slot, or a m2-pcie adaptor. There's also pcie cards bundled with the ssd..

Well that's needlessly inflammatory, though about par for the course given our previous interactions Tam. The advantage Apple generally offers is vertical integration-- you know that everything inside an Apple computer has been specially configured and chosen to work harmoniously with everything else. Combined with superior build quality, Apple's computers are an easy choice if you want something that just works.

Obviously, you can put together a computer for cheaper than you can buy one-- I thought we had gotten past the point where people bragged about being able to build computers, it's basically the adult version of sticking the square peg through the square hole. I built a hackintosh that dual boots Yosemite with Windows 8 because I'm more comfortable in OS X for both media & development tasks, but I would be hard pressed to recommend a non-Apple laptop to somebody who wants the more integrated & complete system possible.

It's always amusing to see armies of people bleating at other people about being sheep.

Andrew Richardson's picture

Because I like Macs, using OSX makes me happy, I like the aesthetics, and I can afford it.

Justin Haugen's picture

There hasn't been a whole lot of performance gains realized from Sandy Bridge to the Haswell and now Broadwell processors. The architecture is getting smaller and more efficient and so it's mostly been battery life in laptops that has gained much from the newer processors, but when I work on a laptop I'm plugged into an outlet like 99% of the time anyway so it's a moot point for me.

Until we see leaps in clock speed and front side bus, your best upgrades will be realized in processors with more cores than what you currently run and motherboards that support faster memory.

At any rate, spending a $1000 on computer parts right now is an awesome sweet spot in considerable performance. I love the era of computing we're in and wonder how we did it before now :)

Spy Black's picture

The ad for the Windows machine on this page is great entertainment...

Alessandro Bondielli's picture

Since we're all here debating on the endless fight, I'll give you my opinion. I'm Sir Nobody, but I have a (Sort of)Computer Science degree and I'm studying to get my master degree. That's not to brag, that's just to say if I wolud like to build a custom PC, i easily could.
I bought my first and only MacBook Pro 13'' (Mid 2010, basic model) 5 years ago, just when I started university. It was, even back then, less powerful than my friends machines ("ahahahah Apple sucks" etc etc). I did pretty much anything that could be done on a computer to this bad bod. Photoshop, Premiere, multiple virutalized OS running at the same time, and a hell of other things that you should not do on your only computer, like letting it fall from the table. Heck, I even played Skyrim. This to say it never gave me a single problem, except for a fried Sata just a few days ago. And I'm still writing now on that bad boy, while my friends pretty much destroyed their "super powerful mega wonderful your Mac sucks" PCs.
And I haven't even talked about the OS. Because OSX is way beyond how Windows will be even in the next few years. I'm not talking about features, I'm talking about how it can handle pretty much everything you throw at it.
And when the time will come, and my friend will finally go to a better place, I will be more than happy to spend a little bit more for a machine that will fit my needs as my older PCs never could.
Sorry if I annoyed you, here is a heart <3

Bavarian DNA's picture

I do agree on the OSX and how powerful it is, I own a MacBook Pro mid 2009 and still work like a charm. Although osx really engineered well with its hardware, the hardware specs really needs to be improved with the price tag they are offering.

By the way windows is a powerful Os too, but unfortunately Microsoft doesn't do their own pc build. I'm not a windows nor Mac lover, but I like Mac more than pc for many reasons and I own both systems in my home office.

I doubt Microsoft windows will compete with apples OS X as long as Microsoft keep their pc builds with a third party companies

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