MacBook Pro 2012: everything you need to know

MacBook Pro 2012 release date, news and rumours
The retina display on the new MacBook Pro looks stunning

Apple has updated its new MacBook Pro with the latest Intel Core processors, faster graphics and flash storage that, according to the company, is up to twice as fast as the previous generation.

As if that wasn't enough, there's also a new, thinner, retina display version of the MacBook Pro too, which also has flash storage as standard. So that means there are now six separate products in the MacBook Pro line:

  • 15-inch MacBook Pro with retina display 2.3GHz - £1,799
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro with retina display 2.6GHz - £2,299
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro 2.6GHz - £1,799
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro 2.3GHz - £1,499
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro 2.9GHz - £1,249
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro 2.5GHz - £999

As you'll note - and as was predicted - the 17-inch MacBook Pro has now ceased to be.

See the Retina Pro side by side with the 2011 version in our build comparison video:

MacBook Pro 2012 release date

All the new MacBook Pro 2012 models are available now.

MacBook Pro 2012 processors

The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models have been updated with the latest Ivy Bridge-spec Intel Core processors. Everything but the basic £999 13-inch MacBook Pro now has a Core i7 on board - see above for the speeds of the various models. Speeds are up to 2.9 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz. You can also configure a 2.7GHz quad-core inside the top-end retina display model.

MacBook Pro 2012 graphics

Once again Nvidia provides the discrete graphics inside the MacBook Pro, though the 13-inch doesn't get the extra help, instead sticking with the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip. It's a different story for the bigger size notebook though; the 15-inch 2.3GHz configuration comes with the 512MB version of the Nvidia GeForce GT 650M. The 2.6Ghz 15-inch and both retina display models have the 1GB variant of the GeForce GT 650M.

MacBook Pro 2012 storage and memory

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro can be configured with a 1TB hard drive or SSDs up to 512GB. As before, the MacBook Pro features a Thunderbolt port.

The 2.5 GHz 13-inch MacBook Pro is available with 4GB of memory and 500GB hard drive, while the 2.9 GHz dual-core version has 8GB of memory and a 750GB hard drive.

The 2.3GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro is available with 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. The 2.6 GHz version features 8GB of memory and a 750GB hard drive.

The two retina display MacBook Pros both have flash storage - 256GB and 512GB respectively. You can upgrade the higher end model to 768GB if you've the extra cash. These have 8GB of memory.

As you may have heard, there's no optical drive in the next generation MacBook Pro retina model, though there is in the standard MacBook Pro 13 and 15-inch line.

MacBook Pro 2012 retina display

The retina display models boast a staggering resolution. You get a 15.4-inch LED-backlit IPS display which clocks in at 2,880 x 1,800 resolution. That's 220 pixels per inch, so not as good as the iPhone 4, 4S and iPad though - the latter is 264ppi, while the iPhone 4 and 4S is 326ppi. The standard MacBooks have 1,280 x 800 resolution displays.


The retina display in action

MacBook Pro 2012 dimensions and weight

As for the standard models, both are 2.41 cm in height. The 13-inch is 32.5 x 22.7cm, while the 15-inch is 36.4cm x 24.9cm. The weight of them is 2.06Kg and 2.56Kg.

The retina display version of the MacBook Pro brings the thickness down to just 1.8cm, while the footprint is slightly smaller than the standard 15-inch at 35.89 x 24.71 cm. Weight is just over 2Kg.

MacBook Pro 2012 connectivity

Apple has finally buckled to USB 3.0 and HDMI - we're glad to finally see these on the Mac and it's sad Apple decided to go the Thunderbolt route in previous preference. However, HDMI is only provided on the retina display MBP which also has two USB 3.0 ports plus an SDXC card slot and two Thunderbolts for connection to other display standards including DisplayPort, DVI and VGA. You can also connect this to FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet via adapters you'll need to buy separately.

The standard MacBook Pro models retain FireWire and also have a Gigabit Ethernet port in addition to Thunderbolt (which also connects to other display standards including HDMI). There's a combined line in/out on the 13-inch, while these are separated out on the 15-inch. You also get a Kensington lock slot on the standard models.

All have 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. There's also dual microphones on the MacBook Pro with retina display.

MacBook Pro

The standard MacBook Pro looks very similar to the older models

MacBook Pro 2012 battery life

Apple says the and 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros deliver up to 7 hours of wireless battery life - yep, that includes the retina display model too.

MacBook Pro 2012 and OS X Mountain Lion

The MacBook Pro 2012 ships with OS X Lion. Starting today, customers who purchase a Mac are eligible for a free copy of OS X Mountain Lion when it becomes available.


The retina display Pro is now almost as thin as the MacBook Air

Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.