MacBook Buyer's Guides October 2020

Our MacBook buyer's guide helps answer the questions you need to know before buying.

MacBook Pro 2020 - 13"

Avg Price: $1449

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Apple announced a refreshed MacBook 13-inch in May 2020 with a new keyboard, double the storage, and faster performance options. Apple’s new Magic Keyboard officially makes its way to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, killing off the previous model’s controversial Butterfly keyboard. The new keyboard brings more travel with quieter typing, inverted “T” arrow keys, and physical escape key. Intel’s 10th-generation processors are also on board, with optional quad-core options delivering 4.1GHz Turbo Boost speeds and 80% faster Iris graphics. 16GB of faster 3733MHz RAM is now standard, with up to 32GB RAM available for the first time on the 13-inch MacBook. Storage configurations range from 256GB to 1TB, and can even go up to 4TB with a custom order. This is all in addition to staple features, like a True Tone Retina display, Bluetooth 5.0, T2 Chip, Hey Siri, Force Touch trackpad, high-quality stereo speakers and up to 4 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports. At launch, the new retail price for the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) started at $1,299.

MacBook Air 2020 - 13"

Avg Price: $1032

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The 2020 MacBook Air was an early-year release, coming in March 2020. The 2020 MacBook Air remains part of the third generation of the Air lineup, however, there were some notable changes. The 2020 MacBook Air base storage was upped to 256GB and the keyboard shifted from the butterfly style to the Magic Keyboard (scissor-switch style). Apple also began offering different processor options; a 1.1GHz Intel Core i3, a 1.1GHz Intel Core i5, or a 1.2GHz Intel Core i7. Other hardware specs for the 2020 MacBook Air include Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 8GB of RAM, a 720p FaceTime HD camera, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 5, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, 4379 mAh battery, and weight of 2.8 pounds. Apple released the 2020 MacBook Air with macOS 10.15 Catalina.

MacBook Pro 2019 - 15"

Avg Price: $1837

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The fourth-generation MacBook Pro 15” received its final update in May 2019, prior to being replaced in November 2019 by its 16” fifth-generation successor. While similar in external appearance and overall feature set to its predecessor, the MacBook Pro 2019 15” boasts a number of improvements to performance and device longevity. Most notably, this model updates the processor to Intel’s ninth-generation Intel Core i7 (6-core) and Core i9 (8-core) processors. Additionally, the butterfly keyboard was updated with new materials to improve long term reliability. As with previous generations, the 2019 MacBook Pro features a large Force Touch trackpad, a high-resolution 15.4-inch True Tone Retina display, and a context-aware Touch Bar with Touch ID instead of traditional function and power keys.

MacBook Pro 2019 - 13"

Avg Price: $1169

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In May 2019, Apple introduced a somewhat minor update to the MacBook Pro 13-inch. The design remains the same as previous fourth-generation models, but adds faster 2.4 GHz/1.4 GHz Intel Coffee Lake CPUs. Everything else is the same as the previous year’s models, with the MacBook Pro 13-inch (2019) coming equipped with True Tone Retina display, third generation butterfly keyboard, Bluetooth 5.0, T2 Chip, Hey Siri, Force Touch trackpad, high-quality speakers and up to 4 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports. Although Apple dropped non-Touch Bar models the previous year, they did introduce a lower-end MacBook Pro 13-inch with 2 USB-C ports instead of 4, but still keeps the Touch Bar intact. Apple also promised to replace any faulty keyboards with butterfly switches (including previous year’s models) up to four years after sale date.

MacBook Air 2019 - 13"

Apple shifted back to a mid-year release with the 2019 model MacBook Air, this time arriving in July 2019. This model shared many of the same specs as the 2018 model, however, Apple did upgrade the display with True Tone. The display size remained unchanged at 13.3-inches and the resolution was 2560 x 1600. The 2019 MacBook Air was powered by a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and had Intel UHD Graphics 617, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage. The 2019 MacBook Air was running macOS 10.14 Mojave at launch. Other hardware specs included the butterfly style keyboard, Apple T2 security chip, a 720p FaceTime HD camera, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.2, two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. This 2019 model also kept the 4379 mAh battery and 2.75-pound weight that was found on the 2018 model Air.

MacBook Pro 2019 - 16"

Avg Price: $2532

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Apple kicked off its fifth generation of MacBook Pro in November 2019. The MacBook Pro 16” 2019 serves as the successor to the fourth-generation 15” model released earlier that year. As its name implies, the MacBook Pro 16” features a 16-inch Retina display with a 3072×1920 resolution at an insanely crisp 226 pixels-per-inch, making it the largest screen on a MacBook since the 17” model was discontinued in 2012. Despite its larger screen, the ultra-thin bezels on the MacBook Pro 16” mean that it’s only slightly larger than the outgoing 15" model. Internal specifications are nearly identical to the MacBook Pro 15” 2019, with its ninth-generation Intel Core i7 (6-core) and Core i9 (8-core) processors and AMD Radeon Pro GPU options. As a result, the MacBook Pro 16” is lightning fast, and more than capable of functioning as a mobile workstation for even the most demanding professionals. Finally, the MacBook Pro 16” offers an improved typing experience with the new scissor-style Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar, a physical escape key, and a Touch ID sensor for authentication.

MacBook Pro 2018 (With Touch Bar) - 15"

Avg Price: $1754

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Apple refreshed the fourth-generation MacBook Pro in July 2018 with an update that brought faster processors, updated graphics chips, and new keyboards. Performance was given a substantial boost, thanks to the new eighth-generation Intel Core i7 (Coffee Lake) hexacore processor and faster AMD Radeon Pro 555X or Radeon Pro 560X discrete graphics chips. This generation also received an update to the butterfly keyboard, aimed at preventing dust and debris from causing key failure over time. Finally, the 2018 MacBook Pro received yet another update in November 2018, giving power users the option to upgrade to the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 and Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics processors for graphics-intensive tasks.

MacBook Air 2018 - 13"

The 2018 MacBook Air release was a late-year release and took place in October. Apple kept the MacBook Air available in one size, the 13-inch model, however, the 2018 Air marked the start of the third-generation. This jump in generation meant a few changes such as a higher-resolution display and the introduction of the Apple T2 security chip. The display was 13.3-inches with a max resolution of 2560 x 1600. This release of the MacBook Air included a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.2, a 720p FaceTime HD camera, a Butterfly style keyboard and was running macOS 10.14 Mojave. Other hardware specs for this model year included Intel UHD Graphics 617, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, 4379 mAh battery, and 2.75-pound weight.

MacBook Pro 2018 (With Touch Bar) - 13"

Avg Price: $1290

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The updated fourth-generation MacBook Pro 13-inch was released in July 2018 with updated Intel Coffee Lake quad-core processors, Iris 655 graphics, and more. A new True Tone display adjusts color temp based on ambient lighting, and newer third-generation butterfly keyboards have been tweaked to prevent dust and debris from causing malfunctions over time. Other hardware specs include Bluetooth 5.0, the T2 Chip, Hey Siri functionality, Retina display, large Force Touch trackpad, 4 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, and high quality speakers. This was also the year that Apple officially dropped the entry-level non-Touch Bar models from the MacBook Pro lineup, so all models now officially feature the OLED Touch Bar.

MacBook Pro 2017 (No Touch Bar) - 13"

The MacBook Pro 13-inch (2017) was released in June and was a modest upgrade from the previous year’s model. Hardware upgrades include newer Intel Kaby Lake Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors, more powerful Iris Plus 640/650 graphics cards, and faster SSD storage. Apple also added a more affordable 128GB base storage option. Other specs include a Retina display, butterfly keyboard, large Force Touch trackpad, optional Touch Bar with Touch ID, up to 4 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, and high quality speakers. Model numbers for the entry level MacBook Pro 13-inch (no Touch Bar) can be found as A1708, while the higher-end models with the Touch Bar will have an A1706 model number.

MacBook Pro 2017 (With Touch Bar) - 13"

The MacBook Pro 13-inch (2017) was released in June and was a modest upgrade from the previous year’s model. Hardware upgrades include newer Intel Kaby Lake Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors, more powerful Iris Plus 640/650 graphics cards, and faster SSD storage. Apple also added a more affordable 128GB base storage option. Other specs include a Retina display, butterfly keyboard, large Force Touch trackpad, Touch Bar with Touch ID, four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, and high quality speakers. Model numbers for the higher-end models with Touch Bar carry an A1706 model number.

MacBook Air 2017 - 13"

The 2017 MacBook Air shifted to a mid-year release that happened in June, and this time around Apple offered just one size -- a 13-inch model. The display remained the same as previous years, with the 13.3-inch measurement and 1440 x 900 resolution. Base model specs for the 2017 MacBook Air included a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, Intel HD Graphics 6000, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, and macOS 10.12 Sierra. Other specs for this model year included WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt 2 port, MagSafe, 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speakers, and a 54-watt hour battery. The 2017 MacBook Air weighed in at 2.96 pounds.

MacBook Pro 2017 (With Touch Bar) - 15"

Avg Price: $1390

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Apple updated its fourth-generation MacBook Pro in June 2017 with a minor refresh primarily consisting of faster processors and expanded storage options. This update improves CPU performance with a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 (Kaby Lake) processor, and boosts graphics with either an AMD Radeon Pro 555 or Radeon Pro 560 discrete GPU. Like the outgoing model, the 2017 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar offers a 15.4-inch 2880x1800 (220ppi) display, a large Force Touch trackpad, Touch ID authentication, a butterfly keyboard, and four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Macbook Retina 2017 - 12"

Apple released the 2017 MacBook Retina in June 2017, and this served as the final model-year update for this MacBook. The 2017 MacBook Retina kept the same 12-inch Retina display at 2304 x 1440 but brought updated processor options along with faster storage and memory and a second-generation Butterfly style keyboard. The base model 2017 MacBook Retina included an Intel Core m3 Kaby Lake processor with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. Upgrade options included an Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. This model arrived running macOS 10.12 Sierra and with features to include USB-C, a 3.5mm headphone jack, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, and Intel HD Graphics 615.

MacBook Retina 2016 - 12"

The 2016 MacBook Retina was released in April 2016, and this release brought several improvements over the 2015 model. Highlights for the 2016 MacBook Retina included updated processor options, along with longer battery life, faster storage and memory, and a new exterior color. Apple offered the 2016 MacBook Retina in Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold. The base model included an Intel Core m3 Skylake processor, with 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, and Intel HD Graphics 515. Upgrade options included an Intel Core M5 Skylake or Intel Core M7 Skylake processor, and 512GB of SSD storage. Other features of the 2016 MacBook Retina included a 12-inch Retina display at 2304 x 1440, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C, and a Butterfly style keyboard with macOS 10.11 El Capitan.

MacBook Pro 2016 (With Touch Bar) - 15"

Avg Price: $1306

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Apple launched the fourth-generation MacBook Pro (Touch Bar) in October 2016. This generation brought numerous noteworthy changes to the MacBook Pro lineup, with the most outwardly visible being its namesake multi-touch OLED strip positioned at the top of the keyboard. The OLED Touch Bar takes the place of the previous model’s traditional function keys, and offers context-specific functions and controls depending on which application you have open. The fourth generation model also introduces a sapphire glass-covered Touch ID sensor that doubles as the power button, as well as an all-new external housing that is thinner and makes room for a Force Touch trackpad that is now twice as large as its predecessor. Finally, internal specifications were given a healthy boost, courtesy of Intel’s sixth-generation Core i7 (Skylake) processors, 16GB of speedy 2133MHz DDR3 RAM, and the substantially faster AMD Radeon Pro 450, 455, or 460 discrete graphics cards.

MacBook Pro 2016 (With Touch Bar) - 13"

The fourth generation MacBook Pro 13-inch was officially announced in October 2016. The late 2016 model introduced some big changes, removing legacy ports and MagSafe 2 charging connector on previous models, in favor of Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports and a headphone jack. The completely redesigned MacBook Pro 13-inch also has a thinner and lighter body than previous models, improved display that’s brighter and supports a wider color gamut (with smaller bezels), 46% larger Force Touch trackpad, redesigned second-generation butterfly keyboard, multi-touch OLED Touch Bar with Touch ID, drastically improved speakers with greater dynamic range, and more. Internal hardware specs include Intel Skylake dual-core Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs, Intel Iris Graphics 540/550, up to 16GB RAM, and 256GB/512GB SSD. This was also the year that Apple discontinued the entry-level 13-inch second generation MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) with an optical drive, FireWire port, Ethernet, and hard disk drive.

MacBook Pro 2016 (No Touch Bar) - 13"

The fourth generation MacBook Pro 13-inch was officially announced in October 2016. The late 2016 model introduced some big changes, removing legacy ports and MagSafe 2 charging connector on previous models, in favor of two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports and a headphone jack. The completely redesigned MacBook Pro 13-inch also has a thinner and lighter body than previous models, improved display that’s brighter and supports a wider color gamut (with smaller bezels), 46% larger Force Touch trackpad, redesigned second-generation butterfly keyboard, drastically improved speakers with greater dynamic range, and more. A higher-end model with OLED Touch Bar was also introduced, and comes equipped with four USB-C ports. Internal hardware specs include Intel Skylake dual-core Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs, Intel Iris Graphics 540/550, up to 16GB RAM, and 256GB/512GB SSD. This was also the year that Apple discontinued the entry-level 13-inch second generation MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) with an optical drive, FireWire port, Ethernet, and hard disk drive.

MacBook Retina 2015 - 12"

Apple first released the MacBook Retina in April 2015. This model went by several names. Officially, the model was called the MacBook, but it was also often referred to as the New MacBook, the Retina MacBook, or the 12-inch MacBook. The MacBook featured a 12-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2304 x 1440 and was powered by an Intel Core M processor with 8GB of RAM. The base storage was 256GB, however, the notebook could be configured with 512GB. Other specs of the MacBook Retina included a 480p iSight webcam, Intel HD Graphics 5300, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, a Butterfly style keyboard, and a weight of 2.03-pounds. This model launched with macOS 10.10 Yosemite and included only two ports -- a 3.5mm headphone jack and a single USB-C.

MacBook Retina 2015

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MacBook Pro 2015 (Retina) - 15"

Avg Price: $1045

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The third-generation Apple MacBook Pro received its final update in May 2015, prior to being replaced in 2016 by the fourth-generation MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. This last iteration of the third-generation model brought a few noteworthy improvements including an all-new Force Touch trackpad that not only registers clicks and multi-touch finger placement, but also measures touch pressure. This new trackpad also uses haptic feedback to simulate clicks for better long-term durability. Additionally, graphics performance was improved on the high-end model, with its all-new AMD Radeon R9 M370X discrete GPU, replacing the previous model’s Nvidia GeForce GT 750M.

MacBook Pro 2015 (Retina) - 13"

In March 2015, the MacBook Pro 13-inch (Retina) received a significant refresh with updated internal specs and major hardware feature: an all-new Force Touch trackpad. The new trackpad added a force sensor that accurately measures finger pressure, registering taps using haptic feedback to simulate a click. Other updated specs included fifth generation Intel Broadwell CPUs, Iris 6100 graphics, faster flash storage (twice as fast as previous model), faster RAM, and up to 10 hours of battery life. The early 2015 MacBook Pro 13-inch could also be configured with a dual-core 3.1GHz Core i7 and up to 16GB RAM. This also marked the end of the third generation MacBook Pro design, with a drastically overhauled model (featuring only USB-C ports) introduced the following year.

MacBook Air 2015 - 13"

The 2015 MacBook Air arrived early in the year, in March 2015. As with previous model years, Apple kept the MacBook Air available with the 11-inch and 13-inch display options, and the specs were largely the same between the different sizes. The 13-inch model had a 13.3-inch display at 1440 x 900, a 54-watt hour battery, and a weight of 2.96 pounds. The 13-inch model also had an SDXC memory card slot that wasn’t found on the smaller 11-inch model. Otherwise, the 13-inch 2015 MacBook Air was powered by a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt 2 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and stereo speakers. The 2015 MacBook Air was released with macOS 10.10 Yosemite.

MacBook Air 2015 - 11"

The 2015 MacBook Air release was another early-year release, in March 2015. Apple kept the MacBook Air available with the 11-inch and 13-inch display options, and similar to previous years releases -- the specs were largely the same between the different sizes. The 13-inch model had a 13.3-inch display at 1440 x 900, a 54-watt hour battery, and a weight of 2.96 pounds. The 13-inch model also had an SDXC memory card slot that wasn’t found on the smaller 11-inch model. Otherwise, the 13-inch 2015 MacBook Air was powered by a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt 2 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and stereo speakers. The 2015 MacBook Air was released with macOS 10.10 Yosemite.

MacBook Air 2014 - 11"

The 2014 model year for the MacBook Air was released in April and was designated as an early-2014 release. The MacBook Air remained available in an 11-inch and 13-inch model, with the specs being largely the same across both sizes. The smaller model was 11.6-inches at 1366 x 768 and it was powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt port, and MagSafe. This model year was released with macOS 10.9 Mavericks. The 11-inch model MacBook Air had a 38-watt hour battery and a weight of 2.38 pounds.

MacBook Air 2014 - 13"

Apple released the 2014 MacBook Air in April and it was designated as an early-2014 release. The MacBook Air remained available in an 11-inch and 13-inch model, with the specs being largely the same across both sizes. The display on the 13-inch model was 13.3-inches with a resolution of 1440 x 900. The 13-inch model also has an SDXC memory card slot that wasn’t found on the smaller 11-inch model. The 2014 MacBook Air was powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt port, and MagSafe. This 2014 MacBook Air was released with macOS 10.9 Mavericks, and it had a 54-watt hour battery and a weight of 2.96 pounds.

MacBook Pro 2014 (Retina) - 15"

Apple updated the third-generation MacBook Pro in July 2014 with a minor refresh primarily consisting of faster processors and additional RAM for the base model. The processor on the entry-level configuration received a speed boost from 2.0GHz to 2.3GHz, as well as a doubling of system memory from 8GB to 16GB RAM. The high-end configuration now starts with a faster 2.5GHz processor (up from 2.3GHz), but retains the same 16GB RAM it had the year before. Both models come standard with Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics. However, the high-end configuration also offers Nvidia GeForce GT 750M discrete graphics for added performance in GPU-accelerated tasks.

MacBook Pro 2014 (Retina) - 13"

Apple announced a somewhat minor refresh to the MacBook Pro 13-inch in July 2014 with updated newly updated prices and processors. The entry-level model now comes with a 2.6GHz Intel Core i5 chip and 8GB of RAM (previous 2.4GHz Core i5 with 4GB RAM), with options to upgrade to a 2.8GHz Core i5, or 3.0GHz Core i7 and 16GB RAM. Storage options include 128/256/512GB or 1TB SSD at the time of purchase. Of course, you still get previous hardware features like a backlit keyboard, multi-touch glass trackpad, improved MagSafe 2 power adapter, HDMI, and 720p FaceTime HD webcam.

MacBook Pro 2013 (Retina) - 15"

Apple kicked off its third generation MacBook Pro (Retina) during the middle of the 2012 model year. The third generation offered many advancements over previous models, such as Intel’s third-generation Core i7 processors (Ivy Bridge), exclusively solid state storage, support for USB 3.0, and the introduction of the high-resolution Retina display. This model’s 15.4-inch IPS screen delivers a whopping 2880x1800 resolution at an incredibly sharp 220 pixels-per-inch. The third-generation MacBook Pro received an update in February 2013 that slightly increased processor speeds and bumped up RAM to 16GB on the high-end model. In October 2013, the MacBook Pro 15” received another update to Intel’s fourth-generation Core i7 processors (Haswell), substantially faster PCIe-based flash storage, and improved WiFi and Thunderbolt 2.0 connectivity.

MacBook Air 2013 - 13"

The mid-2013 MacBook Air release was in June 2013, and this model year remained a part of the second-generation of the MacBook Air lineup. Apple released the 2013 MacBook Air in the 11-inch (11.6” 1366 x 768) and 13-inch (13.3” 1440 x 900) sizes. The 11-inch model had a 38-watt hour battery and weight of 2.38 pounds, and the specs included a base of 4GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 5000, 128GB of SSD storage, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt port and MagSafe 2. This model year shipped with macOS 10.8 Mountain Lion and was powered by a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor. Upgrade options included a 1.7GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage.

MacBook Air 2013 - 11"

The mid-2013 MacBook Air release was in June 2013, and this model year remained a part of the second-generation of the MacBook Air lineup. Apple released the 2013 MacBook Air in the 11-inch (11.6” 1366 x 768) and 13-inch (13.3” 1440 x 900) sizes. The 11-inch model had a 38-watt hour battery and weight of 2.38 pounds, and the specs included a base of 4GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 5000, 128GB of SSD storage, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt port and MagSafe 2. This model year shipped with macOS 10.8 Mountain Lion and was powered by a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor. Upgrade options included a 1.7GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage.

MacBook Pro 2013 (Retina) - 13"

Apple’s third generation MacBook Pro 13-inch received a nice update in October 2013 and a lower retail price. Starting at $1,299, Apple dropped lower display resolutions, instead making Retina displays standard across the board. The most notable upgrades include Intel’s Haswell CPUs (dual-core Core i5 or i7) and slightly slimmer profile, now down to .71 inches thick. You’ll also find Intel Iris HD 5100 integrated graphics, up to 16GB of DDR3L RAM, 128GB/512GB/1TB SSD with faster PCIe flash storage, dual band 802.11ac WiFi, Thunderbolt 2 ports, Bluetooth 4.0 and more.


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