Apple cuts prices on Macs, takes a jab at PCs

Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,299, while the 15-inch model starts at $1,999

By , IDG News Service |  Hardware

Apple on Tuesday introduced new versions of the MacBook Pro laptops and cut prices, but not before taking a jab at PC makers.

The company's MacBook Pro with Retina Display and 13-inch screen starts at US$1,299, which is $200 cheaper than the previous model. The 15-inch model will start at $1,999, while the previous-generation laptop was $2,199. The laptops are available now.

The company also introduced a new Mac Pro desktop, which will start at $2,999. The high-end workstation is based on a new cylinder design and packs more storage, memory and graphics features.

The new computers come as Mac shipments continue to decline. Apple's growth is being driven by tablets and smartphones.

"We've been hard at work on the Mac," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, at a keynote during Apple's event in San Francisco.

Cook took a jab at PC makers, saying they were confused between laptops and tablets.

"They chased after netbooks," Cook said. "They changed PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs."

The MacBook Pro with Retina Display laptops are lighter than their predecessors, starting at 1.57 kilograms (3.46 pounds), with a thickness of just 19 millimeters (0.75 inches). The new MacBook Pros incorporate some of the latest technologies including 802.11ac wireless and Thunderbolt 2, which will bring support for 4K displays. Thunderbolt 2 transfers data from Macs to peripherals at a rate of 20G bps (bits per second), and the technology is also being included in the Mac Pro desktop.

The laptops also include the latest Intel chips based on the Haswell microarchitecture, as well as faster flash storage. The chips have an integrated graphics processor called Iris, which will make graphics 90 percent faster than on previous laptops, said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, during the event.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display offers nine hours of battery life. The $1,299 price is for a configuration that includes a dual-core Core i5 processor running at 2.4GHz, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of solid-state drive storage. The laptop will be priced at $1,499 with 8GB of DRAM and 256GB of SSD storage, and $1,799 with a 2.6GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of DRAM and a 512GB SSD.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro offers eight hours of battery life. The $1,999 configuration includes a quad-core Core i5 processor running at 2.0GHz, 8GB of DRAM and a 256GB SSD. The price rises to $2,599 with a quad-core Core i7 chip, 16GB of memory, a separate Nvidia graphics processor and a 512GB SSD. Buyers can customize the laptop to include 1TB of storage.

The new Mac Pro is "our vision of the pro desktop," Cook said. The desktop was previewed earlier this year, but was officially announced on Tuesday.

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