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First look: Apple's next-gen MacBook Pro with 15" Retina display

post #1 of 129
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Days after the new MacBook Pro with Retina display was unveiled, the first shipments of Apple's next-generation notebook have begun to arrive. AppleInsider offers a closer look at its new, thinner design and high-resolution display.

Once it's taken out of the box, it becomes readily apparent that the new MacBook Pro is considerably thinner and lighter than its 15-inch predecessor. At 0.71-inch thick and 4.46 pounds, the change in size stands out for someone who may be upgrading from a previous-generation MacBook Pro.

With that said, this notebook is labeled "Pro" for a reason, and the beefed-up internal components, including a minimum 256-gigabyte flash memory drive and Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics, make the new MacBook Pro noticeably thicker and heavier than Apple's largest MacBook Air at 13 inches. At their thickest points, the MacBook Air and new MacBook Pro are identical, but the MacBook Air features a tapered design that gets considerably thinner toward the front of the device.

Once it's turned on, the new Retina display is the obvious highlight of the notebook. Text is crisp, colors are vibrant, and all of OS X 10.7 Lion has been given a facelift to take advantage of the new high-resolution screen.

Like the MacBook Air, the new MacBook Pro boots quickly, goes to sleep as soon as the lid is shut, and turns on nearly instantly when reopened. The addition of flash-only storage to Apple's high-end notebook is a major performance boost.

AppleInsider will have its full review of Apple's next-generation MacBook Pro with Retina display in the coming days. For now, here's a look at the new notebook:

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AppleInsider, through its sponsor MacMall, is offering the lowest prices anywhere on new MacBook Pros with the promo code APPINSDRMWB33196.
post #2 of 129

Awesome ? Insanely great ? I hesitate ....

post #3 of 129

I played with one at the Apple Store in Albany, NY last night.

 

For graphics professionals this is a solid NO for a computer right now.

 

The pixel doubling makes everything that is non-Retina ready looks horrible.  Text in Illustrator and InDesign look so low res that it makes you think you are working on an old junky PC.

 

The overall machine is beautiful and exquisite though.  Looks alone this is a 10.  Functionality in the real world, unless all you use is Email and Safari, and at that point buy an Air, is a 3.

post #4 of 129
What a tease! My order has been stuck in processing since Monday. C'mon Apple!
post #5 of 129

When did Apple switch away from the right angle magsafe and why?

post #6 of 129

Does anyone know if you can attach two monitors to this MacBook Pro? Like one monitor per Thunderbolt port?

post #7 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by KindredMac View Post

I played with one at the Apple Store in Albany, NY last night.

 

For graphics professionals this is a solid NO for a computer right now.

 

The pixel doubling makes everything that is non-Retina ready looks horrible.  Text in Illustrator and InDesign look so low res that it makes you think you are working on an old junky PC.

 

The overall machine is beautiful and exquisite though.  Looks alone this is a 10.  Functionality in the real world, unless all you use is Email and Safari, and at that point buy an Air, is a 3.

I think updates for Adobe products are imminent.    From the pictures, aside from being slightly thinner, the "body"  really doesn't look any different to me than my several year old MacBook Pro, so I don't know how it can be called "beautiful and exquisite" with the implication that it's different than past machines.     

 

Personally, I won't be happy at the loss of HDDs until the price of SSDs come down very close to the price of HDDs.   I'm also not thrilled about the fact that you can't upgrade anything in this machine and that it's non-repairable.     Not that I'm in the market for a new computer right now anyway, but I think that's a show-stopper for me.      My MacBook Pro is of the vintage that you can still replace the battery, memory and HDD easily and that's a pleasure.   I replaced the battery and the HDD in the past year - a 768MB HDD with a flash cache for around $200.       A 256GB to 768GB upgrade now costs $500 and you can only do that on the $2800 machine (and only when you purchase it), bringing that to $3300 and $3378 if you still need a Superdrive (which I do).  No thanks. 

post #8 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by KindredMac View Post

I played with one at the Apple Store in Albany, NY last night.

For graphics professionals this is a solid NO for a computer right now.

The pixel doubling makes everything that is non-Retina ready looks horrible.  Text in Illustrator and InDesign look so low res that it makes you think you are working on an old junky PC.

The overall machine is beautiful and exquisite though.  Looks alone this is a 10.  Functionality in the real world, unless all you use is Email and Safari, and at that point buy an Air, is a 3.


Supposedly, most apps on the App store are ready, and I think all current Apple-branded apps have been updated already. Adobe already said they are working on their apps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post

When did Apple switch away from the right angle magsafe and why?

Did they really switch to right angle? I thought right angle mag safe was Air-only, Pros were straight-on.
post #9 of 129

Perhaps a real camera (and a lens cleaning) would be in order for photos of a revolutionary high-resolution screen?

post #10 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by KindredMac View Post

I played with one at the Apple Store in Albany, NY last night.

 

For graphics professionals this is a solid NO for a computer right now.

 

The pixel doubling makes everything that is non-Retina ready looks horrible.  Text in Illustrator and InDesign look so low res that it makes you think you are working on an old junky PC.

 

The overall machine is beautiful and exquisite though.  Looks alone this is a 10.  Functionality in the real world, unless all you use is Email and Safari, and at that point buy an Air, is a 3.

I am waiting on mine to arrive ... but ...

As a software engineer, this is nearly perfect.

Quad core CPU @2.7GHz, Nvidia GeForce 650M GPU /w a CUDA compute capability of 3.0, 16GB RAM ...
For heavy duty crunching, I'll throw code up on the grid, but for prototyping and testing this is a pretty damn sweet platform.

 

"Professional" is not only graphics. Some of us cut code for a living. Some even cut the code that the "professionals" use ... and I can guarantee you we are using more than just email and safari. 

post #11 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by adumbrate View Post

Does anyone know if you can attach two monitors to this MacBook Pro? Like one monitor per Thunderbolt port?

This from Apple's website:

 

Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on up to two external displays, at millions of colors.

post #12 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Did they really switch to right angle? I thought right angle mag safe was Air-only, Pros were straight-on.
Nope - the Pros went to the right-angle around the time of the Unibody. Makes one wonder if Apple has real-world data from their Genius Bars indicating that the angled magsafe connectors were less likely to release causing more laptops to be damaged from tripping. I've been through three of the straight-on connectored adapters (one was replaced under AppleCare) while the two angled adapters are still working perfectly.
post #13 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowbuster View Post

Here's a review that explains why the new non-Retina model is actually better:

exactly... this never made any sense to me - why am I paying for a sharper menu bar but with 1440X900 workspace, if I go to 1680X1050 I loose performance.

it just makes no sense to drop 2200 on this for a design workflow

post #14 of 129

The 'retina' display is superb and even though the actual desktop space is equivalent to 1440x900 you can view and edit 1080p video in full resolution but it only consumes 2/3 of the display width whereas it doesn't even fit onto a 1680x1050 screen.  The same case is made for image manipulation.  

 

So although you have a workspace of 1440x900 it enables full scale viewing of media etc.  If you work with any image based media or just want a screen you can work with for long periods of time with reduced eye strain then there is no better solution in a laptop.

post #15 of 129

What about graphic designers? I make a lot of web content at 72ppi. Won't it look either minuscule or blurry on this screen? For my illustrator work this will be amazing, just wondering about my web designs.

post #16 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowbuster View Post

Here's a review that explains why the new non-Retina model is actually better:

1. That doesn't make sense. If you pixel double and the pixels are 1/4 the size, there's no difference in appearance unless you're using a microscope.

2. Many apps already take advantage of the display, eliminating the 'problem' entirely. And over time, more and more apps take advantage of it.

3. And, if you really don't like it, then just buy the old model. Problem solved (and you save some money).
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post #17 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowbuster View Post

Here's a review that explains why the new non-Retina model is actually better:

 

Wow, that was incredibly dumb. The price of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display reflects the standard SSD storage. If you configure the $1,799 Legacy MacBook Pro to include a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM (both standard on the retina model), it actually costs $200 more than the $2,199 retina model. You're getting the retina display and extra 512GB of VRAM in the retina model essentially for free. This guy seems to be completely oblivious to the fact that SSD is still damn expensive.

post #18 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post

 

Wow, that was incredibly dumb. The price of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display reflects the standard SSD storage. If you configure the $1,799 Legacy MacBook Pro to include a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM (both standard on the retina model), it actually costs $200 more than the $2,199 retina model. You're getting the retina display and extra 512GB of VRAM in the retina model essentially for free. This guy seems to be completely oblivious to the fact that SSD is still damn expensive.

 

you know you can just buy an SSD and put it in a legacy MacBook Pro. Also a 500gig hybrid is 100 buck.

post #19 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by adumbrate View Post

Does anyone know if you can attach two monitors to this MacBook Pro? Like one monitor per Thunderbolt port?

Yeah, it's listed as a feature and I will be taking advantage of it.  But I don't know if you use 2 TB ports or 1 TB and the HDMI port.  I called Apple sales and support to ask so I could order the right cables and they were dumbfounded by my question.  They couldn't understand the concept of running 2 external displays on the laptop after multiple explanations!  I'll have to figure it out when I get it.

post #20 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by agramonte View Post

you know you can just buy an SSD and put it in a legacy MacBook Pro. Also a 500gig hybrid is 100 buck.

Just for reference, my experience with they hybrid isn't that impressive. I have a 500 GB hybrid in my MBP and it's not all that much faster than the previous 7200 rpm drive. For some tasks, it's probably significant, but it doesn't provide the instantaneous responsiveness of an SSD.
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post #21 of 129

Looking at the last screenshot, Software Update appears to want to install 10.7.4. Does that mean this new MBP Retina ships with 10.7.3? Interesting.
 

post #22 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


Supposedly, most apps on the App store are ready, and I think all current Apple-branded apps have been updated already. Adobe already said they are working on their apps.
Did they really switch to right angle? I thought right angle mag safe was Air-only, Pros were straight-on.

I think JeffDM is correct.

post #23 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

 I've been through three of the straight-on connectored adapters (one was replaced under AppleCare) while the two angled adapters are still working perfectly.

Same experience as mine, but times two for the two MBPs in the family.  

 

I hope this design is better constructed than the older straight connector.  They just flat out fell apart under normal usage.

post #24 of 129

Tiny little nitpick: I hope Apple fixed the light leaks around the edges of the keys when the keyboard backlighting is on.  The edge lighting is uneven and you can see through the gaps.  Just a minor cosmetic issue.

 

I hope Apple eventually replaces the plastic keys with glass too.  But no, not holding my breath on that one.  Would be nice though.  :-)

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post #25 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

The 'retina' display is superb and even though the actual desktop space is equivalent to 1440x900 you can view and edit 1080p video in full resolution but it only consumes 2/3 of the display width whereas it doesn't even fit onto a 1680x1050 screen.  The same case is made for image manipulation.  

 

So although you have a workspace of 1440x900 it enables full scale viewing of media etc.  If you work with any image based media or just want a screen you can work with for long periods of time with reduced eye strain then there is no better solution in a laptop.

 

not sure what software you using to edit 1080p video where working at 1440X900 with menu and preview elements you have 2/3 of the display open - menu take up same amount of space so what you see now is the size you have to work with. Also now we back at 256 gig drives os OK for HD video workflow?

 

what image manipulation? - if you tell me the benefit is that you using the true image density then depending on the size of the image needed it could end up a spec on your screen - which you would need to zoom in to work on - sending the true pixel argument out the window. 

 

come on... we all use macs to make a living. you really telling me non of this makes you scratch your head a bit?

post #26 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Slocum View Post

Perhaps a real camera (and a lens cleaning) would be in order for photos of a revolutionary high-resolution screen?

Ditto. Although some of the photos turned out well, others are blurry enough to get tossed from the most casual photo stream of a night out at the bar.

I have but one word to say, "tripod."

post #27 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post


Nope - the Pros went to the right-angle around the time of the Unibody. Makes one wonder if Apple has real-world data from their Genius Bars indicating that the angled magsafe connectors were less likely to release causing more laptops to be damaged from tripping. I've been through three of the straight-on connectored adapters (one was replaced under AppleCare) while the two angled adapters are still working perfectly.

Sorry, if I posted wrong.

It seems I did read something about this, but I thought it was that the MBA switched to the straight plug.

Perhaps you are correct.

post #28 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


Supposedly, most apps on the App store are ready, and I think all current Apple-branded apps have been updated already. Adobe already said they are working on their apps.
Did they really switch to right angle? I thought right angle mag safe was Air-only, Pros were straight-on.

 

Incorrect.  Pros where right angle well.  I think they switch because the cord on the right angle would be blocking the TB ports.

post #29 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by adumbrate View Post

Does anyone know if you can attach two monitors to this MacBook Pro? Like one monitor per Thunderbolt port?

 

And you don't even have to use both TB ports, since you can simply connect the second external display to the TB port on the first one (daisy chain).

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post #30 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by the cool gut View Post

 

Incorrect.  Pros where right angle well.  I think they switch because the cord on the right angle would be blocking the TB ports.

The Pros were originally straight. But it sounds like they moved to right angle at some point, as you indicate.

post #31 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Just for reference, my experience with they hybrid isn't that impressive. I have a 500 GB hybrid in my MBP and it's not all that much faster than the previous 7200 rpm drive. For some tasks, it's probably significant, but it doesn't provide the instantaneous responsiveness of an SSD.

on not by a mile - but sometimes you just need space over extra reed speeds.

 

I did an OCZ V3 SSD for OS/apps and a 500 Momentus XT hybrid on a caddy on a mini and it makes for a nice combo 

post #32 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

I think updates for Adobe products are imminent.    From the pictures, aside from being slightly thinner, the "body"  really doesn't look any different to me than my several year old MacBook Pro, so I don't know how it can be called "beautiful and exquisite" with the implication that it's different than past machines.  

Proportionally everything changes and therefore the fact that it is thinner makes it even more beautiful and exquisite than your model. You may disagree and find the chunkier model as exquisite, but that would be the general consensus. 

post #33 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowbuster View Post

Here's a review that explains why the new non-Retina model is actually better:

It has been stated by Anandtech that even at the non-optimal resolutions, it still looks crisper/better than the older displays (even 1680x1050 high-density optional displays). Apple is applying 2x resolution on the resolution you choose, then downscaling from there. Much different than just taking the 2x graphic assets and downscaling it.

post #34 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Proportionally everything changes and therefore the fact that it is thinner makes it even more beautiful and exquisite than your model. You may disagree and find the chunkier model as exquisite, but that would be the general consensus. 

Does this apply to other things as well? 1wink.gif
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post #35 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Just for reference, my experience with they hybrid isn't that impressive. I have a 500 GB hybrid in my MBP and it's not all that much faster than the previous 7200 rpm drive. For some tasks, it's probably significant, but it doesn't provide the instantaneous responsiveness of an SSD.

How long ago did you get yours? The original generation of hybrids didn't speed anything up, but the latest generation makes very significant improvements, at least with the reviews I've read.
post #36 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

How long ago did you get yours? The original generation of hybrids didn't speed anything up, but the latest generation makes very significant improvements, at least with the reviews I've read.

I don't remember, but it was probably 1-2 years. The model number is ST95005620AS if that helps.
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post #37 of 129
FedEx delivered mine this morning, ordered on Monday from Apple Store.
post #38 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyDogHasFleas View Post

FedEx delivered mine this morning, ordered on Monday from Apple Store.

 

 

DIG YOU!!!  Your dog may have fleas, but YOU have a stunning laptop!!!!!!!!  That was fast.  Which model did you end up getting?

post #39 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


I don't remember, but it was probably 1-2 years. The model number is ST95005620AS if that helps.

That looks like a serial number if I am not mistaken.  The model number should have an M with an ending of LL/A.

post #40 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I don't remember, but it was probably 1-2 years. The model number is ST95005620AS if that helps.

I think that's the first generation. The second generation does make some nice improvements, but it might still not be enough for you. It does boot and load apps a lot closer to SSD times than HDD times.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5160/seagate-2nd-generation-momentus-xt-750gb-hybrid-hdd-review/1
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