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Apple focuses on the high end with 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Apple's new 13 inch MacBook Pro Retina Display expands the company's high-end family of notebooks, casting a high-end halo over over its mobile notebook offerings.

At a time when PC sales are plateauing and profit margins for many manufacturers are shrinking in a race to build cheaper netbooks (such as Samsung's $250, web-only Chromebook), Apple is asserting its leadership position to build the state of the art in notebooks.

With a screen regarded as a "engineering marvel," and packed with over four million pixels, Apple noted that the new Retina Display of its 13 inch MacBook Pro is the "second highest resolution notebook ever," behind only its larger 15 inch counterpart.

Retina Display MacBook Pro


No other PC maker has bothered to develop a notebook with such a high resolution screen because the reason for developing it was not readily apparent. Consumers weren't actively asking for it, any more than smartphone users were asking for a tremendous leap in pixel density when Apple introduced iPhone 4 two years ago.

Retina Display MacBook Pro


Apple subsequently brought its Retina Display to the iPad this spring, and incrementally released its 15 inch MacBook Pro this summer. The engineering required to support such pixel-dense displays goes well beyond just hooking up a new panel. There's more pixels to push, so additional graphics processing is often necessary.

Retina Display MacBook Pro


On top of the hardware engineering, software also needs to be rewritten for resolution independence. This requires changes to the operating system, but also to third party apps, meaning that Apple has to facilitate developer support to make it relatively easy for its App Store ecosystem to add Retina Display support to their own apps. And of course, Apple has had to do the same to its own first party titles, including Aperture, Final Cut Pro, and a variety of apps bundled in OS X.

Retina Display MacBook Pro


More expensive all the way through



The result is an expensive system. The cheapest 13 inch model starts at $1699, compared to basic PC notebooks selling for $600 to $800, and 13 inch netbooks selling for as little as $250.

MacBook Pro


MacBook Pro


Apple didn't just give its MacBook Pros a premium screen. The new 13 inch model was also designed to be 25 percent thinner, shedding its optical drive and conventional mechanical hard drive for solid state flash storage (which also accelerates booting by 2.4x and file copying by 3.7x) and using a new asymmetric battery design designed to provide 7 hours of use and 30 days of standby.

The new Retina Display MacBook Pros sport revamped audio systems reviewers described as "excellent" and a dual mic design used both for noise reduction and, as the company notes, "when you use Dictation, they create an adaptive audio beam that intelligently adjusts to detect your voice."

Retina Display MacBook Pro


The new systems also drop FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet to provide dual Thunderbolt ports (which can support external FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet interfaces) as well as the convenience of HDMI video out. Apple also says its new Retina Display MacBook Pros use an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics processor based on the "next-generation Kepler architecture with 1GB of dedicated video memory" that provides "up to 60 percent faster graphics performance than any notebook we?ve ever made."

Designed to compete with the future



As with its iPhone, iPod touch and new iPads, Apple had been developing its new products to be good enough to stick around and compete with other makers' products next year.

Apple continues to sell its standard MacBook Pro models at lower price points (around $500-600 cheaper), just as it still markets iPhone 4 and the fourth generation iPod touch from 2010, and the iPad 2 introduced almost two years ago.

This is a significantly different strategy compared to other companies, most of which have commonly dropped ongoing software support and upgrades for devices they still sell or which are still being used under a mobile contract. Particularly in regard to notebooks, it appears that PC makers are engineering systems to be cheap, rather than to take Apple on in the high end. And no other computer maker engineers both the operating system and notebook hardware.

MacBook Pro


Apple has taken this a step further by customizing more and more of its components, to the point where it no longer even uses off the shelf SSDs. Apple's deep investments in engineering are both the result of and the reason behind its increasing economies of scale, a cross pollination of extremely high volume sales of iPods and iOS devices, and strong vertical integration from the chip level through hardware engineering and design right through to the core OS and application level.

MacBook Pro


Apple historically led in the engineering of futuristic technology, from investing in the development of the first affordable graphical operating environment to developing QuickTime for working with rich media and video editing at a time when generic PCs struggled to handle audio playback. However, Apple lost its focus on investing in technology and didn't get it back until the return of Steve Jobs.

The culture of aggressively pushing the state of the art that Jobs rebuilt at Apple appears to be alive and well; it remains to be seen if other companies can duplicate this on their own and provide Apple with similarly strong competition.

So far, Samsung has only demonstrated a similarly high pixel density notebook; it has indicated no plans to actually sell one.
post #2 of 33
Why does this product exist? As opposed to a 13" MacBook Air with Retina Display? They've eliminated nearly everything that differentiated the 13" Pro from the Air. Case in point:

$1,299 13" MacBook Air, 1.8Ghz i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000
$1,699 13" MacBook Pro, 2.5Ghz i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000

The $400 extra gets you another 1400Mhz, the retina display, and that's it. Compare that to the 15" model, where the $400 premium over the classic model gets you 8GB RAM versus 4GB, 256GB SSD versus 1TB physical drive, 1GB VRAM versus 512MB VRAM, and the retina display.

If the 13" Pro with retina display isn't going to have quad-core graphics and a dedicated GPU, then it need not even exist if a 13" Air was offered with retina display in its place.
Edited by Cory Bauer - 10/23/12 at 7:57pm
post #3 of 33

What bugs the hell out of me is that you can't spec the 13" Macbook Retina to 16GB of RAM .. For that "luxury" apple wants you to go to the larger display. Starting to get sick of their marketing BS now that Apple is considered mainstream. *disgruntled long term apple fan*

post #4 of 33

High end? You mean like the Mac Pro?

post #5 of 33

The inside looks like a face to me. I can see two eyes, a prominent eyebrow, a nose and mouth. It has a very stern look on it's face, like it means business.

post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

The inside looks like a face to me. I can see two eyes, a prominent eyebrow, a nose and mouth. It has a very stern look on it's face, like it means business.

If you look hard enough it kinda looks like Steve Jobs lol.gif

post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by pentae View Post

What bugs the hell out of me is that you can't spec the 13" Macbook Retina to 16GB of RAM .. For that "luxury" apple wants you to go to the larger display. Starting to get sick of their marketing BS now that Apple is considered mainstream. *disgruntled long term apple fan*

Damn, wanting 16GB in a 13" computer. I wonder if you're better served with the larger screen anyway. I realize that RAM is cheap, but to need that much would suggest you benefit from more real estate, better CPU and dedicated GPU.
post #8 of 33
I'm looking forward to the reviews. The HD 4000 should fair better than in the 15" RMBP but I'm hoping there isn't any issues since there is no option for a dGPU.

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post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I'm looking forward to the reviews. The HD 4000 should fair better than in the 15" RMBP but I'm hoping there isn't any issues since there is no option for a dGPU.

how does a 13" rMBP with only integrated graphics fair better than a rMBP with integrated+dGPU, in terms of being able to effectively drive a HiDPi display?

post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shameer Mulji View Post

how does a 13" rMBP with only integrated graphics fair better than a rMBP with integrated+dGPU, in terms of being able to effectively drive a HiDPi display?

I'm not sure I understand your comment as you ask me the very question I wish I know from upcoming reviews and benchmarks. Perhaps you misinterpreted by HD 4000 comments that specifically spoke of an iGPU to iGPU comparison (meaning the dGPU disabled on the 15").

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post #11 of 33
Quote:
Apple also says its new Retina Display MacBook Pros use an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics processor based on the "next-generation Kepler architecture with 1GB of dedicated video memory"

Huh? This thing is only packing integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics, there's no discrete graphics chip anywhere under this hood.


And thanks for killing my interest in a product I've been anticipating for over a year, Apple, by charging $800 for $350 worth of SSD storage. I know you have a long history of sticking it to the customer when it comes to solid state memory (does anyone think that extra 16gb of memory really costs Apple a hundred bucks in the 32gb iPad vs the 16gb model?) but this is just getting ri-GD-diculous. No wonder you changed the interface just enough on those chips to make them proprietary and non-end user swappable. Apple: the new Sony.

Yes, I am just a bit miffed currently. I really, REALLY, wanted this computer but there is no way I'm going to willingly support this insanity with my hard earned funds.
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by pentae View Post

What bugs the hell out of me is that you can't spec the 13" Macbook Retina to 16GB of RAM .. For that "luxury" apple wants you to go to the larger display. Starting to get sick of their marketing BS now that Apple is considered mainstream. *disgruntled long term apple fan*

 

 

I want to like the 13" Pro but without a discrete GPU it is just a price bridge between the 13" Air and the 15" Pro.
 
High PPI displays are beautiful but I've already got that experience on my iPhone and iPad. 
 
Something approaching the form factor of the Air with a retina display and a dedicated GPU would have made the 13" Pro ideal. Even being able to configure a 1 GB RAM GPU to the low end 15" model might have been a tolerable concession. Instead a customer seeking graphics performance is forced into forking out for a larger form factor than they might have wanted, a negligible CPU boost and increased SSD space they may never utilise.
 
Users looking for a cost effective machine that runs OSX and also can run recent games on high settings can find many portables which meet two of those criteria, but none which truly offer all three. Happy to be proven wrong!
post #13 of 33
retina display without dedicate GPU..... it's totally nonsense. retina resolution requires powerful GPU. but HD 4000 is not enough. when you pay over $1700, you can do whatever you want. but with this macbook pro, you can't.
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post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

...It has a very stern look on it's face, like it means business...

 

It's the inward slanting eyebrows, it always amazes me how well it works.

post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider 
No other PC maker has bothered to develop a notebook with such a high resolution screen because the reason for developing it was not readily apparent. Consumers weren't actively asking for it, any more than smartphone users were asking for a tremendous leap in pixel density when Apple introduced iPhone 4 two years ago.

This is revisionist history. Some consumers found the iPhone 3GS to have a relatively low resolution screen compared to the latest competition. Some couldn't have cared less.

Quote:
Retina Display MacBook Pro

But how does the new resolution compare to a 32" HDTV? 1tongue.gif
post #16 of 33

First reaction was disappointment. This machine lacks almost any upgradability option and is just a bit to rich in it's asking price for what it offers to me.

 

The machine I was hoping for would have almost all the possibilities and longevity of the 15" but in a more portable package. I would have been comfortable paying a premium for that but either I sacrifice power and have to consider an upgrade in the too near future when Apple can offer a discrete GPU or lug a 15" and the associated weight around with me.

 

Maybe the reviews will prove me very wrong and I will change my mind, if not I will have to take either bite the bullet and go for the 15" or wait at least a year for Haswell.

 

Shame I really like the screen, am prepared to swallow the costs of speccing this out with a reasonable amount of storage and can cope with the RAM at 8Gb although I would probably have gone for 16Gb if available but really hoped they would go for a discreet GPU.

 

The redesign was an opportunity to make this happen and I think a trick was missed. 

post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post

Why does this product exist? As opposed to a 13" MacBook Air with Retina Display? They've eliminated nearly everything that differentiated the 13" Pro from the Air. Case in point:
$1,299 13" MacBook Air, 1.8Ghz i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000
$1,699 13" MacBook Pro, 2.5Ghz i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000
The $400 extra gets you another 1400Mhz, the retina display, and that's it. Compare that to the 15" model, where the $400 premium over the classic model gets you 8GB RAM versus 4GB, 256GB SSD versus 1TB physical drive, 1GB VRAM versus 512MB VRAM, and the retina display.
If the 13" Pro with retina display isn't going to have quad-core graphics and a dedicated GPU, then it need not even exist if a 13" Air was offered with retina display in its place.

 

I have to agree; I'm not sure I see the point of this. 

 

And can an integrated chip really drive a display like this and give you enough headroom left over to do pro stuff?

post #18 of 33
Since when did high end mean integrated graphics? It doesn't even have a quad core option!

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post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post

Why does this product exist? As opposed to a 13" MacBook Air with Retina Display? They've eliminated nearly everything that differentiated the 13" Pro from the Air. Case in point:
$1,299 13" MacBook Air, 1.8Ghz i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000
$1,699 13" MacBook Pro, 2.5Ghz i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000

 

Fully agree with your point, although being myself a Macbook Air advocate, I see it this other way: Why increase the laptops thickness and its weight when you're using almost the same components of a MBA which is both thinner and lighter? I see this product as a nonsense, the only purpose is for people who want a Macbook Air with retina display, and then, does the retina display justify the new thickness and weight?

 

I wouldn't have any comment to do if the hardware of this new laptop was clearly superior to a MBA, but it's barely the same, so it's a nonsense product.

post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post

Why does this product exist? As opposed to a 13" MacBook Air with Retina Display? They've eliminated nearly everything that differentiated the 13" Pro from the Air. Case in point:
$1,299 13" MacBook Air, 1.8Ghz i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000
$1,699 13" MacBook Pro, 2.5Ghz i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000
The $400 extra gets you another 1400Mhz, the retina display, and that's it. Compare that to the 15" model, where the $400 premium over the classic model gets you 8GB RAM versus 4GB, 256GB SSD versus 1TB physical drive, 1GB VRAM versus 512MB VRAM, and the retina display.
If the 13" Pro with retina display isn't going to have quad-core graphics and a dedicated GPU, then it need not even exist if a 13" Air was offered with retina display in its place.

 The only thing I can think of is that the MBA is about to become some sort of paper-thin ARM thing.

post #21 of 33

So.. waiting for haswell and 16gb option it is.

post #22 of 33

Too bad! I wanted a 13" Retina MBP as soon as they announced the 15" model. Everything looks perfect, but...

 

8GB is the Maximum Ram that can be ordered and configured? That makes it for me as a photographer an expensive toy :-(

 

15" is just too big to bring on jobs all the time - so I hope for a 16GB revision sometime in the near future...

post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

So.. waiting for haswell and 16gb option it is.

 

And lower price with 512GB.  Could be a long wait.....

post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayz View Post

 

I have to agree; I'm not sure I see the point of this. 

 

And can an integrated chip really drive a display like this and give you enough headroom left over to do pro stuff?


It seems like the integrated chip can drive the retina display well check this out: http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/23/3540614/13-inch-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-hands-on

 

As for the more intense performance, I guess we'll just have to wait for reviews hopefully soon. Let's not speak negatively about it too soon

post #25 of 33

When is Apple going to stop raping costumers on the price of memory and drives? 900 for a 512 SSD? When you can get an M4 for 400? Or any one of a number of top of the line drives for 500?

 

 

The store page doesn't even have an "add memory" option for the laptops any more.

post #26 of 33

How much could you possibly have on a 13" screen at one time to necessitate 16GB of RAM? The real bottleneck was spinning hard drives, which are no longer an issue. You'll be fine.

 

Personally, I am waiting for the 15" rMBP gen 2. No more Russian roulette with the screen manufacturer (image retention), and it should be a bit cheaper, like the price difference between 1st and 2nd gen Macbook Air.

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post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vorsos View Post

How much could you possibly have on a 13" screen at one time to necessitate 16GB of RAM? The real bottleneck was spinning hard drives, which are no longer an issue. You'll be fine.

Personally, I am waiting for the 15" rMBP gen 2. No more Russian roulette with the screen manufacturer (image retention), and it should be a bit cheaper, like the price difference between 1st and 2nd gen Macbook Air.

If these apps start utilizing the new speed of SSDs and start utilizing every pixel on these Retina notebooks they could easily start using a lot more RAM. Then you have video editing and such which is typically done in 1080p, right? Isn't it better to hold more in RAM so you can edit faster?

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post #28 of 33
No dedicated GPU and a meager 128Gb SSD will damper sales of the 13" model once the early adopters are expended. I'm not a fan of Asus but if they can fit a dedicated GPU in their slim UX32VD for much less, then why couldn't Apple. $1700 and tax is borderline outrageous for HD 4000 graphics and a bloated resolution. I've seen and used the retina 15" and it is very nice in person, but with the 13" with this kind of markup and those specs, I have to say no thank you.
post #29 of 33
We're all waiting for the 15" macbook air, aren't we?!
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr O View Post

We're all waiting for the 15" macbook air, aren't we?!

 

Nope. 17" Pro.

 

I find it amazing that you folks are able to get any work done on a 13" screen. While riding the train the other day I watched some kid with an Air working on a school project. Absolutely everything he did required either shifting windows around or obscuring his view of what he was doing. He'd click a tool and a pop-up would appear with the settings for that tool which he would then have to dismiss or move to actually USE the tool. On my 17" screen the tool menus are stacked to the side where they don't obscure the very project they're there to work on! I can't even imagine trying to edit or mix a Pro Tools session with every plug-in window practically filling the screen and having to be closed to do anything else.  How do you people DO it?

post #31 of 33
Originally Posted by mr O View Post
We're all waiting for the 15" macbook air, aren't we?!

 

Nope, 15" iPad.

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post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Nope, 15" iPad.

 

Yeah, that too!

post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by igriv View Post

 

 
I believe that the 15" has all of 0.5 pounds more of "associated weight". As far as I can tell, the advantages of the 13" are lower cost and slightly more compact form factor (for those airline seats). The 15" rMBP is VERY light.
 

It is nearer a pound and I think I could learn to live with it. I do spend a lot of time on long haul flights but I think even this is do-able as the retina is slightly smaller than the previous 15' MBP.

 

I know Apple doesn't make machines specifically for me but makes a call on what spec they believe is correct for the market segment they are aiming for.

 

This is going to be my main machine which I use in multiple offices but have a screen in most of those offices I can just land and plug into so the larger acreage is nice but not necessary.

Thank you you may have just talked me into a 15" MPBr lol.gif

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