Apple's MacBook Pro laptop is the company's most popular Macintosh system. Ever since the MacBook Pro replaced the PowerBook G4 in January 2006, Apple has made the laptop a showcase for innovation and technology that eventually makes its way to the rest of the product line.
As it exists now, the MacBook Pro is available in three variants - the 13-inch standard MacBook Pro, and two Retina display-equipped models, a 13-inch and a 15-inch system.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Retina display is a holdover from Apple's 2012 line. The system incorporates a 2.5 GHz Intel i5 "Ivy Bridge" microprocessor, 4 GB RAM and a 500 GB internal hard disk drive. It's also the very last Macintosh computer to sport an internal CD/DVD "SuperDrive;" all other Macs have eschewed internal optical media and require an external USB SuperDrive (or another optical drive) in order to work with CDs or DVDs. It's priced at $1,199.
The Retina MacBook Pro is the only Mac to come with a Retina display, Apple's term to describe a display with pixels too small to be discerned by the naked eye from the average distance it's held from your face. Up until the Retina MacBook Pro appeared in 2012, Apple offered Retina displays only on iPhone and iPad models. It's sleek and slim, eschewing a conventional hard drive for flash storage and removing the internal CD/DVD SuperDrive.
2013 was an important year for the MacBook Pro. Apple refreshed the Retina display line in October with new Intel Haswell microprocessors, packing in other accoutrements like Thunderbolt 2, PCI Express (PCIe)-based flash storage and 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking. The 13-inch model sports a 2.4 GHz dual-core i5 processor standard, while the 15-inch uses a 2.0 GHz quad-core i7 instead. Faster CPUs are available, and graphics vary depending on the model.
If you want to carry your Mac around with you and you value performance above other factors like weight, the MacBook Pro is the best choice in Apple's product line.