Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mac: MacBook Pro with Retina Display

I wanted to share some of the things that I’ve observed about the new Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

I’ve been waiting to see this move of the MacBook Pro closer towards the MacBook Air.  It’s lighter, thinner, but still packed with ample power for being a mobile workstation.  While I still think that the DVD drive is something most users will want to have, it’s not something they’ll likely need every day.  It’s good to see it move outside the unit.  The new Retina Display looks like it’ll be very nice as things progress, but it’s the key feature that makes the MacBook Pro a bit pricy at this point.  The more they make, the more lines that start carrying it, the lower the production cost will be, the lower future generations with the Retina Display will be.

Pros –
  • Lighter.
  • Thinner.
  • Retina Display.
  • 7-hour Battery Life.
  • 2 Thunderbolt Ports (or for using with 2 external monitors.)
  • Ample Performance for a laptop.
  • Quieter laptop fans.

Cons –
  • Unit is not meant to be serviced outside of Apple.
  • Display is all one, complete unit. If the glass is cracked, or any other issue comes with it, it has to be completely replaced.
  • RAM is soldiered onto the motherboard. If you think you MIGHT want 16GB, you can’t upgrade later.
  • SSD is proprietary. While it could be replaced, they’re not a standard SATA drive, so you have to get it from Apple.
  • The case is closed with special screws requiring special tools to open and close.
  • Battery is glued in.  (Apple Battery Service is priced at $199.)

There’s a good article on Wired about the take apart:

I don’t like the fact that the SSD will be an Apple-only upgrade, so I’d recommend getting a little bigger than you think you need, just in case you need it later.  I’d also think about the RAM needs.  Whatever you buy the first time is all you get.

Overall, I like where this is going.  It’s a nice piece of equipment for the first of a new generation of MacBook Pro’s.  I’ve heard that the unit will run 2 external displays with it’s onboard without missing a beat, which means it’s a well-designed system.  I’m looking forward to seeing what the next version of this looks like, with the full power of a mobile workstation, and more of the lightness that the MacBook Air has.

Additionally, this reinforces my strong belief that when purchasing an Apple product, you need to invest in the AppleCare Protection Plan as well. ( Since Consumer Reports, who doesn't recommend extended warranty for anything, actually does recommend the extended warranty for Apple products and Lenovo Thinkpads, I'm glad to do the same.