Apple Overhauls MacBook Pro, Debuts Mountain Lion

PHOTO: Apple Phil Schiller speaks about the new MacBook Pro at the Apple Developers Conference in San Francisco, June 11, 2012.
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Apple overhauled its popular notebook, the MacBook Pro, with a state-of-the-art, super high-resolution screen, and updated it and the MacBook Air with the latest processing technology, the company announced today at its annual World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple, said both laptop models will feature faster processors, more advanced graphics, larger memory and flash storage and high-speed connectivity.

Like the ultra-slim MacBook Air, the new MacBook Pro will feature a thinner aluminum case only 0.71 inches thick and weigh 4.5 pounds.

"It's the lightest Pro notebook we have ever made," Schiller said.

However, the most stunning feature of the new Pro is the one that users will look at the most -- the screen. Schiller announced that this MacBook Pro will have Apple's brand new "Retina Display," an ultra-crisp, super high-resolution screen to rival the one on its newest iPad tablet. Its 2880x1880 resolution (that's 5,184,000 pixels) is the highest of any notebook display in the world.

"We want the next MacBook Pro to have a killer new display," he said.

Our first impressions of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Click Here for more: Apple Unveils iOS 6 for iPhone, iPad

And what good is a state-of-the-art screen without updated visuals? Schiller said both the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air will be outfitted with the third-generation Ivy Bridge processor from Intel, as well as a high-speed Thunderbolt port and a new USB 3.0 port, which is 10 times faster than current the USB 2.0.

Graphics will be up to 60 percent faster than with previous processors, Schiller said, which is perfect for gamers playing the newly announced "Diablo III."

In addition, the MacBook Pro will also have Nvidia's latest graphics card, the GeForce 650M (Apple had used AMD graphics cards in previous models), up to seven hours of battery life and an HDMI port for hooking up to a television -- a first for a MacBook.

The MacBook Air, which comes in 11-inch and 13-inch sizes, will be $100 cheaper now, starting at $999 and $1,199 respectively. But the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display will set you back $2,199.

The upgraded MacBook Airs and the MacBook Pros will be shipped out today, Schiller said. "No one turns over their entire line as quickly as we do at Apple."

But both new laptops will carry OS X Lion, Apple's current operating system, and not the hotly anticipated OS X 10.8, known as Mountain Lion, the next generation for Mac.

Craig Federighi, the vice president of Mac software, announced that starting today, customers who purchase a new Mac are eligible for a free copy of OS X Mountain Lion when it becomes available next month.

Mountain Lion has around 100 new features, many inspired by Apple's iOS for the iPhone and iPad.

Federighi demonstrated how Mountain Lion would provide a unified experience between all of the latest Apple products using iCloud, the company's online storage service. With Mountain Lion, users just have to sign in with their Apple ID and iCloud is automatically set up to sync mail, calendars, contacts, reminders, music, documents and even apps, with a Mac computer to an iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

So, for example, if you add a meeting to your calendar on your Mac it will appear almost immediately on your iPhone's calendar. The new system even has Twitter integrated into it.

But one of Mountain Lion's coolest (for lack of a better word) features borrowed from mobile iOS is the debut of Messages. This new software is like iChat messaging on steroids. Now you can send messages back and forth to anyone between your Mac computer, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5. You can start a chat on your laptop and then pick it up on your phone.

Mountain Lion will also feature AirPlay mirroring, Federighi said, which will allow users to stream anything that's on a Mac computer to an HDTV wirelessly through the external Apple TV device, as well as Game Center for setting up a gaming network and Dictation.

For Mac users who want to upgrade to Mountain Lion on their current machines, the new OS X system will be sold separately for $19.99.

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