Feb 13, 2013 (06:02 AM EST)
Apple Cuts MacBook Pro Prices, Bumps Specs

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

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.

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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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