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MacBook Pro: Apple's professional laptop gets a speedy new processor

Almost lost in the landslide of product announcements at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote was the reveal the MacBook Pro received an important update: The new laptops have the same design as the previous version, but the laptops feature new processors that should provide a speed boost.

New processor, graphics, and solid-state drives

The biggest MacBook Pro news is that Apple is now using Intel’s Kaby Lake processors. Kaby Lake is Intel’s seventh-generation processor, and it replaces the sixth-generation Skylake processors that were in the previous MacBook Pro.

Apple has also upgraded the MacBook Pro’s graphics hardware. The 13-inch models that have only an integrated graphics processor use either the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 or Graphics 650, replacing the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 540 or Graphics 550 in the previous models.

The 15-inch models upgraded its integrated graphics from an Intel HD Graphics 530 to an Intel HD Graphics 630. They also have heftier discrete graphics: either a 2GB Radeon Pro 555 or a 4GB Radeon Pro 560, which are an upgrade from the 2GB Radeon Pro 450 and 455 and the 4GBRadeon Pro 460 found in earlier models.

The solid-state-drives (SSDs) in the new MacBook Pro are faster as well—up to 50 percent over the SSD in the previous models, according to Apple.

Models and prices

Apple offers four standard configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and two of the 15-inch MacBook Pro. All laptops are available in Space Gray or Silver. Here’s the rundown on each model. (Each model can be customized at an additional cost.)

13-inch MacBook Pro

$1,299: 2.3GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, 128GB SSD, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 (integrated graphics), two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, no TouchBar

$1,499: 2.3GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, 256GB SSD, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 (integrated graphics), two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, no TouchBar

$1,799: 3.1GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, 256GB SSD, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 (integrated graphics), four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, TouchBar included

$1,999: 3.1GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, 512GB SSD, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 (integrated graphics), four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, TouchBar included

15-inch MacBook Pro

$2,399: 2.8GHz quad-core Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, 256GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 630 (integrated graphics), 2GB Radeon Pro 555 (discrete graphics), four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, TouchBar included

$2,799: 2.9GHz quad-core Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, 512GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 630 (integrated graphics), 4GB Radeon Pro 560 (discrete graphics), four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, TouchBar included

Apple also sells an “affordable” 15-inch MacBook Pro, which is based on specifications from a model that sold in 2015 and is available only in silver. The heart of this laptop is a Haswell processor, which is a fourth-generation Intel processor. Here are its price and specifications:

$1,999: 2.2GHz quad-core Core i7 processor (Haswell), 16GB of memory, 256GB SSD, Iris Pro Graphics (integrated graphics), two Thunderbolt 2 ports, two USB 3 ports, no TouchBar

How to buy a MacBook Pro

You can buy a new MacBook Pro directly from Apple online. Check the Apple website for ship dates, since the laptops may not be available immediately. You can also visit a retail Apple store near you

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