Ars Technica reviews 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro: ‘New model, two-year-old processor’

“Apple released a new 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro last month, but it’s not the update we were expecting,” Andrew Cunningham writes for Ars Technica.

“When the company held off refreshing the 15-inch model alongside the 13-inch Pro and both MacBook Airs earlier this year, we assumed it was waiting for the oft-delayed quad-core Broadwell processors from Intel. Those were just announced and should begin showing up at retail within the next 30 to 60 days,” Cunningham writes. “Assuming they follow the same pattern as the dual-core Broadwell parts, those chips would have provided small CPU and battery life boosts and larger increases to graphics performance.”

“Instead, Apple released the new MacBook Pros with the exact same chips they’ve been using for almost two years now, quad-core Haswell chips with Intel’s Iris Pro 5200 GPU,” Cunningham writes. “It’s not clear why this happened — given the timing I’d guess Apple knows something we don’t about how well Intel’s quad-core parts are ramping up — but whatever the reason, the new model is neither as significant nor as interesting as it might have been.”

“The new MacBook Pros do include a handful of other upgrades, though. A different dedicated GPU in the high-end model, a marginally larger battery, and faster PCI Express-based storage are all welcome improvements,” Cunningham writes. “Apple sent us the high-end $2,499 model for review so we could at least test out all of those tweaks, but if you were hoping for something significantly better than the 2013 and 2014 models, you’ll come away disappointed.”

Tons more in the full review – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Intel’s fault, not Apple’s.


Buy a MacBook Pro now or wait until Intel’s Skylake? – June 1, 2015
Apple’s new 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro hits SSD throughput speeds of 2GB/s – May 23, 2015
Apple introduces 15-inch MacBook Pro with Force Touch trackpad – May 19, 2015


  1. Apple’s fault. They should never have abandoned the PowerPC.

    With Apple’s IC design talent they could develop an x86 killer PPC that would crush the competition.

    1. I have a Power Mac G5 with 5.5 GB or RAM. It is running Leopard and it is amazing. If only the thermal envelope could have been worked out. They were amazing processors.

    2. No.
      Power PC was far behind Intel and showed no signs of being able to go into laptops for years.
      Apple didn’t have chip engineers then and even know they aren’t the kind of engineers who do laptop/desktop chips.

    3. Yes Gary you are right. We would end up carrying Car Batteries to for our Laptops and step up transformers and liquid cooling pipes for our desktops. lol

    4. So you don’t remember the debacle of when Apple promised a certain PowerPC capability at a certain price then had to lower the processor clock AND raise the price because neither IBM nor Motorola could fix something with that PowerPC architecture?

      PowerPC (a strange merge of the single chip POWER and 88000 architectures from IBM and Motorola, respectively) was a great experiment, and the early versions (up through the 604e) were powerhouses. But it started to fall apart with Motorola’s version of the G5 and the performance per watt was just not in the roadmap for IBMs later version.

      There were people who pointed to the Powerficient version (by a not so well known group that Apple ended up buying lock stock and barrel in order to do their own ARM chips). However, the most powerful version on the roadmap of that chip never even came close to seeing the light of day — and likely never would have.

  2. usually i concur with MDN’s’s takes on most issues they comment upon.

    in this case they are sounding like an apologist for apple.

    yes – intel’s fault for not having the chips ready on time, but apples fault for releasing a product that can not live up to peoples long awaited expectations.

    the other improvements are not so incredibly great that they would compel a person to buy now.

    way better to wait for the complete package.

    somebody needs to get their head on straight , again

    1. I have to agree. I would have much rather waited for apple to release a new MBP when they had all the components needed to do it….but now it might take another whole year just for that.

    2. Yup. All they would have had to say is ‘Intel is trying to get things right, just like us, so it’s gonna be a little while longer.’ I don’t think anyone would have complained.

      Of course, what they did to the mini is unforgivable. (Just had to throw that in. :))

  3. Andrew at Ars does lost reviews and this one is no exception.
    Barely talked about Force touch, minimal on the amazing ssd speed that nobody else is even close to, lame benchmarks for gpu and a few factual errors. Anytime I see he has written something I brace for error and they are always there.

  4. History may well point out that this is the point in time when Moore’s Law stumbled.

    But there are faster things than Intel x86 chips on the horizon. They’re are going to help Moore’s Law back on its feet, and then some. Will Apple then dump Intel? I wonder. 😉

  5. Seems to me that a non-mobile version of the ARM chip family could be made to run Mac OS quite well. Apple has the experience with custom ARM CPU/GPU sets and iOS is still closely related to Mac OS X.

  6. MDN’s take is ridiculous. If Apple needed to wait a couple weeks to announce the update, they should have waited.

    What’s the rush, anyway?

    And I do believe that right here on MDN that Apple has been praised in MDN takes for not rushing a product, and waiting until it was ready before announcing it.

    1. Worst, Windows, Microsoft, will gain a few mac users.Those who want to use 6 cores, 8 cores, 10 cores, 12 cores, for a much cheaper price, have no choice. Well, linux, but as much as we love to say linux is great, blah,blah, and blah, there is no real security audit possible for the OS. not really. I thought IBM would have done it, or oracle…
      Have you seen the new DirectX 12’s reported speed improvements, man!
      Apples has got to better.
      People are buying dells for videos editing. Dells. MAN! The world is going mad, mad I tell you.
      Apple has no servers. I wonder what they are using at their server farms?
      Maybe IBM will get mac os server running on power 8 processors and workstation. That would not be cheap though. Perhaps, that’s the real underlining deal. Sorry, kinda nodded off there.

  7. Since I have a mid 2014 model, I feel better about this… Not worrying I don’t have a mid 2015, latest and greatest.


    Anyone, whose worked with the new trackpad, feel that it’s better or worse?

    I think the feedback isn’t strong enough. There’s a slight usability tweak we have to get adjusted to. At the moment, I can take it or leave it. I don’t have any problems with the deeper click, I just don’t think the normal click is as pronounced as it should be.

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