I was so excited for the past few months, as my plan was to buy one of these bad boys as soon as they came out, to replace my 2011 iMac (the last one with a DVD/CD drive). Finally Tuesday came and the new models were released; everything looked really good at first.
They announced a price drop, TB2, USB3, faster SSDs and Wifi and better battery life (barely). Everyone knew that they were getting Iris Pro, and the most conservative estimates had it get the 750M too, but some of us were hoping for something a little more 'Pro' in the dedicated graphics card aspect. What also seemed like a reasonable 'dream' was a Fusion Drive, because let's face it, 256GB is 'nothing', even 512gb is just barely enough for any serious system, and external storage is all well and fine for a desktop machine, but this is a laptop that moves around, typically without large peripherals.
Since I was aiming to get the top of the line model, I started pricing the purchase and trying to figure out what would be best. Then reality started to sink in.
-The price drop only applied to the very bottom of the line model, the top of the line configuration came in at exactly the same price as it used to be, so... no 'real' price drop in my case.
-This top model also just happens to have a processor that is clocked lower than the model it was replacing, even the processor you can upgrade to is clocked lower. I know that gigahertz aren't everything, but they are something, and here specs had actually gotten worse.
-Everyone knew the Haswell chip was all about efficiency, but I didn't realize just how modest the performance difference was, essentially there isn't any. Early benchmarks are reporting 2-4% better scores. Not impressed and hardly worth the wait.
My bubble was burst but it gets worse.
-Apple has always charged a premium for their products, but what is just plain unacceptable is that a 3000$ machine comes with only 512gb of storage, bump that to 1TB (the maximum) (which I can only assume is actually 960GB) if you want to doll out 500$ more (I know, it's 450$, add tax... yeah.) So now we're at 3500$ for a nice looking laptop with cutting edge technology, but all around somewhat disappointing specs.
-Thunderbolt 2 : Nice in theory, almost useless in practice. I give it points for future-proofness though, and if it had NOT received this spec bump, double ouch. :|
-USB3.0: Welcome to the party, you are 3 years late, the first laptop with usb 3 came out in October 2010. So much for cutting edge...
-Retina Display: second iteration of these. Are they nice? No doubt? Are they useful? I doubt it. Unless you are editing HD video on a 15 inch screen (what is wrong with you?) this is just an expensive component with no real benefit. Macbook Pros are not toys, we need performance. If all someone wanted was a pretty case and screen, they can buy an iPad (ok now I'm getting bitter, sorry about that)
-HDMI port : See USB3.0 above, and I'll add: Who needs/wants this? wouldn't an Ethernet port see more real world use than this? Besides you can get an adapter for Thunderbolt for this, no? Seems redundant, I hope the component doesn't cost them anything, because it sure isn't worth anything.
A big factor for me was that this machine would replace my 2011 iMac. I even bought a thunderbolt display to use as an awesome dock. Heck, I figured I'd pretty much an iMac when at home (docked rmbp) and a sweet laptop on the go. Then it became apparent that the 750M wasn't as powerful as the two and half year old 6970M. Almost three years pass and they can't put a better dedicated GPU in their flagship pro-portable? Everyone knows that iMac components are in fact laptop components anyway, "wtf!?" I thought.
Then there's the processor, I have a quad core i7 at 3.4ghz, the rMBP comes in at 2.6GHZ with turboboost to 3.8ghz... I'm not entirely sure that it's really any better. Is it fair for me to be comparing a laptop against a desktop? I think so, iMacs are basically laptops with big screens and there's a 2.5 year difference here... Moore's law my ass...
So it comes down to dropping almost 4000$ for a not-really-faster-or-better machine. Finally, I think I'll pass.
What could have made the difference you ask? Decent storage and better than average graphics, neither of which are offered, regardless of price.
Last thing! The 750M is actually a free upgrade... at one point I thought I might save some money by forgoing the dedicated GPU, but when you configure the entry model of the 15$ to spec the same as the top one, it costs exactly the same, minus the dedicated GPU, go figure, it appears that Apple knows the 750M is in fact worthless.