Apple has confirmed the rumors, and has announced a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. The model shares many of the same features first introduced in the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, including a redesigned, slimmer chassis that omits the optical drive found in previous MacBook Pros. The chassis is 20 percent thinner than the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro that it replaces. The highlight feature is undoubtedly the 13.3-inch screen, and it should impress thanks to its 227 pixels per inch and 2560 x 1600 screen resolution. Just like its 15-inch sibling, the screen has four times as many pixels as the non-Retina machine it replaces (which came in at decidedly subpar 1280 x 800). The IPS panel is said to have a 178-degree viewing angle, 75 percent reduced reflection, 29 percent higher contrast ratio, and 300 nits brightness.
Of course, Apple's engineers lost some space to work with when shrinking down the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, as the 13-inch model's footprint is quite a bit smaller. That's reflected in the model's 0.75-inch thickness — 0.04 inches thicker than the 15-inch model — though the laptop weighs in at only 3.57 pounds. Still, the new machine does match the 15-inch's port selection, with two Thunderbolt and two USB 3.0 ports, as well as an HDMI port, SD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, and MagSafe 2 power connector. As with every other MacBook Pro, the laptop has a FaceTime HD camera, dual mics, and stereo speakers that Apple claims improve on the performance of the previous model, despite their smaller size. The keyboard is also full-sized, though the speaker grilles have been moved from the sides to the edges of the machine.
Without discrete graphics, this may just be a thicker MacBook Air with a high-resolution screen
There are some changes internally to cope with the smaller footprint: most notably, the machine lacks a discrete graphics card, meaning owners will be stuck with the integrated HD 4000 graphics offered by Intel's Ivy Bridge processor. That change may make some question the "Pro" branding on this machine. Without discrete graphics, the machine will be like the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it may struggle to run demanding professional applications like Photoshop, especially when it has that extremely high-resolution 2560 x 1600 display to cope with. If you're not concerned about the loss of discrete graphics, keep in mind that the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro almost always switches to its Nvidia GPU when connected to an external display or running several apps. We'll have to reserve our judgement until we get to use the new MacBook for ourselves, as Apple's specification sheets say that the new model will be able to push two external monitors as well as the built-in display at the same time — just like the 15-inch model.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro will ship today starting at $1,699. That model will include a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of flash storage. That starting price represents a $500 bump over the previous base model MacBook Pro, which will continue to be offered. A 256GB model will cost $1,999, and there will be options for up to a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel i7 processor and 768GB of flash storage, which will most assuredly cost quite a bit more. Notable differences other than the lack of discrete graphics include no 16GB RAM option and no quad-core Intel processors, when compared to the 15-inch MacBook Pro. There will also be no 1920 x 1080 scaling mode on the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, and Apple is quoting seven hours of life from the computer's 74-watt battery.
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