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2/13/2013
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Apple Cuts MacBook Pro Prices, Bumps Specs

Apple drops price of Retina Display MacBook Pro by $200 and boosts processor power at same time. That's a hint new products are coming soon.

Apple iTunes 11: Visual Tour
Apple iTunes 11: Visual Tour
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Apple's Retina Display MacBook Pro is now a more attractive option, thanks to a lower price and improved performance. Apple Wednesday announced a mid-cycle price drop for its pixel-dense laptops.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display now starts at $1,499 for the 128-GB model, down $200 from its previous starting price of $1,699. Those wishing to opt for a slightly better model can score 256 GB of storage and a faster 2.6-GHz Intel Core i5 processor for $1,699, down from its previous starting price of $1,999.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display is getting a small speed bump, too. The base model upgrades from a 2.3-GHz quad-core Intel i7 processor to a 2.4-GHz processor. The top-shelf model sees its processor updated from 2.6 GHz to 2.7 GHz, and ships with 16 GB of RAM standard. The price remains a whopping $2,799.

[ Would you buy a wearable iOS device? Read about Apple's new brainchild at Why Apple iOS-Driven Smartwatch Makes Sense. ]

There's no doubt that Apple is still charging a significant premium for its Retina Macs, but at least the prices are somewhat more down to earth. The 13-inch model has more than 4 million pixels (2560 x 1600), and the 15-inch has more than 5 million pixels (2880 x 1800). Gorgeous though they may be, the Retina Macs aren't necessarily a must-have for most professionals. Apple's advertising for the devices suggests they're most appropriate for those using intensive design, photo and video applications.

In comparison, Dell, HP and Lenovo all offer at least a dozen high-performance business laptops each with modern chips and displays that start at prices well under $1,000.

Finally, Apple dropped the price of the highest-caliber MacBook Air too. The 13-inch Air with 256 GB of storage now starts at $1,399. The low-end 13-inch model stills costs $1,199 and the base 11-inch model remains entirely unchanged.

All the new models and prices are available online and in stores beginning Wednesday.

Apple typically drops prices and bumps specs about halfway through the life cycle of its laptops. Though these new prices are welcome, they serve as a reminder that new products are always around the corner. The Retina MacBooks first debuted in June 2012. Apple will likely offer significant refreshes of its portables by October, in time for the holiday shopping season. That raises the question: should you buy now, or wait for the more significant refresh?

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PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/19/2013 | 7:44:14 AM
re: Apple Cuts MacBook Pro Prices, Bumps Specs
Go figure I buy a new MacBook Pro and then 2 months late they drop the price. I think that it is not even close to a fair trade off for the $200 they are going to charge to change the battery in your discounted MacBook. Sounds like Apple is trying to reduce whatGÇÖs is left of their inventory before they do a global push so everyone pays for battery change. On an endnote anyone is going to welcome a discount on any product, regardless of the motive of the company behind it all.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
Server Market Splitsville
Server Market Splitsville
Just because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
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