Free MacBook Pro

The third generation Apple MacBook Pro was announced in two stages. The 15-inch model appeared in June 2012 during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco whilst the 13-inch model was revealed in October 2012. The laptop is officially called the "MacBook Pro with Retina display" in order to differentiate it from the previous generation which is still in production as a budget orientated option.

The headline specification changes surrounded the high-resolution retina display and the introduction of the Ivy Bridge series of Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

Other enhancements over the previous generation include the inclusion of a HDMI port, a redesigned MagSafe port (called the MagSafe 2), improved speakers and microphones, a quieter, more efficient cooling system and a second Thunderbolt connection. The additional Thunderbolt port replaces the Ethernet and FireWire 800 ports from the older models. Adaptors can be purchased if these features are still required.

The Kensington lock slot as seen on the first and second generation models have been omitted.

Apple also took bold moves in relation to storage media. Optical drives were deleted and solid state drives (SSD's) replaced the traditional mechanical hard disk. Both these decisions allow a lighter, thinner and more power efficient device.

The exterior Aluminium unibody design is retained and thanks to the above improvements is now slimmer than ever with the 15-inch model 25 percent shallower than the second generation machine.

The range has been updated three times since launch. In February 2013 processor speed, hard drive capacity and memory size were all improved whilst in October 2013 the original Ivy Bridge series of Intel processors were replaced with those using the Haswell architecture. This update also saw the introduction of 802.11ac Wi-Fi, an improved Thunderbolt 2 connection and PCIe-based flash storage.

July 2014 saw updated prices, processor speeds, storage options and 4K output capability (to an external display).

The previous generation polycarbonate shelled MacBook along with the 17" version of the MacBook Pro was dropped during the June 2012 update.

MacBook Pro versions

At the time of writing there are various specifications of MacBook Pro available, based around the two screen sizes of 13" and 15". Each of these models can be customised with varying specifications of memory size, processor speed and hard drive size. For the ultimate in performance the solid state (SSD) hard drive in the higher end models is desirable. An anti-glare matte screen is available on the 15" version.

The non-Retina model lives on as the value choice. It comes with the old 13-inch 1200 x 800 pixel resolution screen, a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB mechanical hard drive. Graphics come courtesy of the integrated Intel HD 4000 chipset.

The new MacBook Pro with Retina Display is available in both 13" and 15" models. All 13" models get a 13.3-inch 2560x1600 pixel IPS screen and come with Intel Core i5 processors running at either 2.6GHz or 2.8GHz, 8GB of RAM, solid state hard drives of between 128GB and 512GB capacities and Intel Iris graphics.

The 15" MacBook Pro gets a 15.4-inch 2880 x 1800 pixel resolution IPS display and uses the Intel Core i7 processors running at 2.2 or 2.5GHz, 16GB of RAM and a SSD of 256GB or 512GB capacity. An NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics chip is also available in this model.

Apple's OS X operating system is pre-installed on all MacBook Pros. The current version is 10.9 Mavericks with version 10.10 Yosemite coming sometime in 2014.

MacBook Battery Life

All free MacBook Pro models now employ a non-user removable 'sealed in' battery featuring lithium-ion polymer technology. Although this prevents to user being able to easily remove and replace the battery, it has allowed Apple to introduce batteries with unique 'non-rounded' cells which can use every bit of free space inside the MacBook Pro casing.

The use of a bespoke battery acorss the range gives Mac computers fantastic battery life with the 13-inch and 15-inch versions providing up to a whopping seven hours use on a single charge.



The batteries in all MacBook Pro models are expected to last approximately 1000 charge cycles whist still containing 80% of their capacity. This would give them a lifespan of about five years.

MacBook Pro Upgradeability

In the pursuit of a thinner chassis, the new models feature even more bespoke components than ever before resulting in fewer user upgrade opportunities. The RAM memory is now soldered onto the motherboard meaning that the level of memory chosen at purchase cannot later be altered.

The solid state drive is not a standard 2.5" notebook sized drive but is instead a proprietary flash module design. Fortunately this is not soldered in place and can be upgraded with a larger unit of the same type.

The battery is glued into place underneath the trackpad and attempts to remove it could damage both the battery and trackpad.

Usability

The MacBook Pro trackpad has been enlarged with the whole pad now being the physical button. This revision allows the user more room for scrolling and multi-touch gestures which non mimic those of the iPhone and iPod Touch. The keyboard is Apple's now-standard sunken keyboard with separated keys, which are now backlit on all models.

MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air

This is a tough question and would depend on the users requirements. A business user wanting the full range of features along with maximum battery life would be well placed to choose one of the Pro models. The more casual user wanting a stylish machine with which to impress their friends will probably want to go for a free MacBook Air. You sacrifice luxuries such as a DVD drive, FireWire port and card reader but gain one of the thinnest, most stylish notebook computers ever released.

Step 1

Click your free Apple Mac product from the selection above. You will be taken to the sign up page where you need to enter your email address and choose a password Ė please donít worry, your details are safe. Please note you can only choose one item.

Step 3

Get a few of your friend to also sign up and complete an offer using your referral link (provided when you sign up in step one). If you need some tips on how to get people to sign up or have any other questions about your free Mac please see our FAQ.

Step 2

Choose and complete one of the available offers. Some are free (such as Lovefilm), whilst others such as Coral and Gala Bingo cost just £5. Make sure you complete your chosen offer as described on the offer page, otherwise it wonít count.