On June 6th, Apple released the newest version of its MacBook Pro series; the new MacBook Pro 15″ with Retina display is a new vision from Apple. In essence, Apple tore apart old ways of thinking, and in their own words, “had to start again, and with great intent disconnected from the past.” With the willingness to change things, Apple has opened up the possibilities to a whole new design. The new MacBook combines computing power with high portability.
The new machine features a retina display with over 5 million pixels in a 15.4″ display; that’s a million more than in a standard HDTV display! The pixel density is so high that your eyes can’t discern individual pixels. And with a 2880-by-1800 resolution, you can see more of your high-resolution images onscreen with pixel-for-pixel accuracy. The new Retina display reduces glare while maintaining amazing color and quality. In fact, it has a 29% higher contrast ratio than a standard MacBook Pro display. IPS technology gives a wide 178-degree view of everything on the screen, so you’ll see the difference at practically any angle. This is a game changer for anyone working with photography-editing programs, allowing pixel pinpoint accuracy when working with photos.
It also features a new flash architecture. Flash delivers data up to 4 times faster and takes up just a fraction of the space of a traditional hard drive. The flash drive is permanently installed into the machine and has very little susceptibility to corruption or failure when compared to the standard drive. Apple also decided to go back to the NVIDIA graphics chip which by far outdoes the recent Intel graphics chip. Apple is sticking with the same Intel core 17 CPU processor which seems to be the industry standard at the moment.
When inspecting the actual feel of this new machine, it is obvious that Mac has decided to steer clear of its previous firewire port design and in its place has added an extra thunderbolt port. It also has the standard dual USB 3.0 ports, and 1 HDMI port. The battery life remains about the same at 7 hours, but the actual machine is 25 % thinner that the older MacBook Pro. With a weight of just under 5lbs, it is clear this new machine was inspired by the design structure of the ever popular MacBook Air. This laptop is fitted with a new cooling system that drastically reduces the fan noise by reformatting the induction system as well as redesigning the shape of the blades on the fans themselves.
While this does seem to be one of the greatest machines Apple has ever built. It does have its drawbacks. Unlike the previous model, the display is fused to the glass—meaning replacing the LCD requires buying an expensive display assembly. The RAM is now soldered to the logic board—making future memory upgrades impossible. And the battery is glued to the case—requiring customers to mail their laptop to Apple every so often for a $200 replacement. The design may well be comprised of “highly recyclable aluminum and glass”—but my friends in the electronics recycling industry tell me they have no way of recycling aluminum that has glass glued to it as Apple did with both this machine and the recent iPad. The design pattern has serious consequences not only for consumers and the environment, but also for the tech industry as a whole. It seems as though Apple has opted for a machine that is virtually un-repairable, un-upgradable and un-fixable all for the sake of reducing size and increasing portability. While this machine seems to be the very best for photographers and videographers alike, I have to wonder how soon the standard 8MB of Ram that the machine comes with will seem like nothing.
I think this new piece of computer marvel is great for the average user, who wants something flashy, and portable, but leaves someone like myself, always avidly upgrading, a little disappointed in the versatility aspect.
The price point on the new Pro starts at around $2,199, and is upgradable at the time of purchase. More information about the MacBook Pro 15” with retina display can be found here.