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.