Apple expected to launch 13" Retina MacBook Pro by early Oct.

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  • Reply 101 of 116
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    ????????????????????????????????????

    Well that is one serious mistake! Hopefully people will auto correct that in their minds!
    tskyline5 wrote: »
    A discrete GPU with 256 GB of VRAM would be awesome! Probably a bit expensive, though...

    On a serious note, I do hope that if they go with a discrete card, it's one that's actually semi-useful. Too low-end would be a waste of space that could've been used for extra battery capacity (not that it matters much to me, since I'm probably not buying one without a discrete GPU).

    This is what I was getting at. Apple consistently screws over the 13" MBP, the Mini and other machines for no apparent reason! It really burns the behind if you know what I mean. In the Mini it is extremely frustrating because it is something that has been asked for, for years and then we get a half bake implementation. I'm certain a few engineers at Apple wrung their hands after that Mini was delivered with so little VRAM because they would know better than anybody that it is far below reccomendations for many apps. It is like Apple designs the Mini to fail. It isn't like they don't have a baseline Mini, so why not make a model with a GPU that an actually run a good portion of the software out there requiring a GPU.
  • Reply 102 of 116
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    dempson wrote: »
    No they haven't. The only non-Intel graphics used in the 13" MacBook Pro to date have been the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M and 320M, which are both integrated graphics controllers (they used main memory for graphics, incorporated the memory controller, and were used alongside the Intel Core 2 Duo). Admittedly they were much better than Intel's integrated graphics at the time. That route is no longer an option due to Intel not allowing third party integrated memory/graphics controllers with recent processor families.
    He maybe talking before Intel. We actually had a performance regression when they went to Intel if I remember correctly. If that is in fact what he is referring to, then his point is valid. Just about everything about the PPC machines was bigger and power hungry.

    Have you seen how compact the 15" RMBP logic board is already? Now try to squeeze that into a smaller case, while leaving enough room for a battery and cooling system which are almost the same volume as the 15" ones. I don't think it could be done without a significantly thicker body.
    That board also offers hope. We can conserve space bumpy reducing RAM banks, removing a TB port and using lower wattage CPUs. Obviously it won't be easy but then again I don't think any of Apples recent laptop designs where easy.
    Not including a discrete GPU (and its associated graphics memory and graphic switching circuitry) would save some logic board space, require less power therefore less battery capacity, and produce less heat to manage, possibly allowing space savings in the cooling system.
    True but can it drive a retina screen without a significant performance regression? That is the only thing that matters, we don't want to go backwards.

    The other option is AMDs A10 "Trinity" APUs. They have GPUs that are notably better than Intels and the CPUs aren't that bad. The goal being of course an integrated GPU that doesn't regress performance wise driving a retina screen.
    Apple's goal is likely to be to produce a 13" RMBP which is similar in thickness to the 15" model, without sacrificing operating time from the battery. Even without a discrete GPU, I think it would have to be a little thicker.

    I'm not convinced that it has to be thicker, without a descrete GPU it might be thinner. Let's face it Apple doesn't have a lot of I/O to support on a laptop. RAM soldered in becomes low profile and the SSDs can go into the area where the GPU and optical might go.
  • Reply 103 of 116


    A 13" retina should be interesting.  If it follows the form of the 15", which seems likely, the 13" retina will be of interest to me.  In a 13" I don't mind losing the optical drive, although I do dislike losing the ability to upgrade RAM and storage. 


     


    Pricing will be interesting also - I could see the base retina 13" being the same as the top end non-retina ($1499) or even $1599.  I shudder to think of what a 13" retina with 512 GB storage and 16 GB RAM could cost . . .

  • Reply 104 of 116
    tailpipetailpipe Posts: 345member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Automaticftp View Post


    A 13" retina should be interesting.  If it follows the form of the 15", which seems likely, the 13" retina will be of interest to me.  In a 13" I don't mind losing the optical drive, although I do dislike losing the ability to upgrade RAM and storage. 


     


    Pricing will be interesting also - I could see the base retina 13" being the same as the top end non-retina ($1499) or even $1599.  I shudder to think of what a 13" retina with 512 GB storage and 16 GB RAM could cost . . .



    Of course, by the time the 13" RMBP arrives, 1TB SSDs will be available while 512 GB SSDs will have dropped in price. We're really starting to see SSD grow in the same way that flatscreen LEDs suddenly became mainstream about a decade ago. I am hoping Apple offer 512 GB and 1TB options. Hang the cost.


     


    The screens themselves should also improve. Better yields, there could even be a bump in pixel count as other suppliers invest in production to jump on the bandwagon. 


     


    Even if the 13" RMBP appears in October, which may be an optimistic forecast, I don't think it will be optimised until Haswell architecture comes along in August / September next year. Far better if the processor has an integrated GPU rather than a discrete one - but only if Intel can really start to pull the rabbit out of the hat interns of performance. 


     


    In the interim, I can't make up my mind between the 15" RMBP and the revised 13" MBA. The new 15" RMBP weighs the same as my current 13" MBP - and that's too much on long road trips. But, boy, is that screen worth it. 

  • Reply 105 of 116
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    tailpipe wrote: »
    Of course, by the time the 13" RMBP arrives, 1TB SSDs will be available while 512 GB SSDs will have dropped in price. We're really starting to see SSD grow in the same way that flatscreen LEDs suddenly became mainstream about a decade ago. I am hoping Apple offer 512 GB and 1TB options. Hang the cost.
    The problem with SSDs is that each incremental increase in size requires a new process technology. Further each shrinkage in process size results in reduced reliability. I would not be shocked to see SSDs hit the wall in the near future. This is one of the reasons I was hoping for multiple blade slots in the MBPs this year. I just don't see SSDs increasing in size fast enough to meet users growing needs by module swaps.
    The screens themselves should also improve. Better yields, there could even be a bump in pixel count as other suppliers invest in production to jump on the bandwagon. 
    You still have the problem of putting enough horse power into the 13" frame to drive a Retina display. I have this suspicion that we didn't see a 13" retina machine due to some sort of performance problem.
    Even if the 13" RMBP appears in October, which may be an optimistic forecast, I don't think it will be optimised until Haswell architecture comes along in August / September next year. Far better if the processor has an integrated GPU rather than a discrete one - but only if Intel can really start to pull the rabbit out of the hat interns of performance. 
    If performance with Ivy Bridge (admittedly a big if) is a problem Apple could very well wait for Haswell. The gluten for punishment in me would have Apple using Trinity. It all depends upon just how bad the current integrated GPUs actually perform driving a retina screen alone. I've yet to see extensive testing to look into this, so maybe this is all BS.
    In the interim, I can't make up my mind between the 15" RMBP and the revised 13" MBA. The new 15" RMBP weighs the same as my current 13" MBP - and that's too much on long road trips. But, boy, is that screen worth it. 

    The new AIRs are certainly impressive performers considering their size. You can get close to last years MBP performance. Well at least in spurts. The big problem with Intels new processors is that they speed step which means many benchmark numbers are in a sense bogus. The machines can certainly burst through certain benchmarks with amazing performance. The problem of course is sustained performance, if you need that sort of capability.

    When I look at the new AIRs I don't worry about performance anymore, as they are good enough in that regards for many users. I do worry however about internal storage and the single SSD module. The size and the limited upgrade options are a pain to think about. At least now you can get a machine with 512 GB which eliminates headaches for many users.
  • Reply 106 of 116
    rnb2rnb2 Posts: 63member


    I'll believe this when I see it - strikes me as extremely unlikely. Marco Arment talked at length on his podcast this week about his previous hunch that new iMacs and Mac Pros were waiting for Retina 27" screens to be available, and admitted that was almost-certainly wrong because he no longer believes that there will be any other Retina Macs before next year at the earliest. I'm inclined to follow his line of reasoning, which included the prediction that a 13" Retinal MacBook Pro would probably be the last model to get a Retina screen.


     


    The 13" MacBook Pro only exists to the be the 'budget' laptop for people who need (or think they need) lots of storage and an optical drive. They sell a ton to students, switchers, or anybody else who is budget-constrained (they also sell to traveling photographers who remove the optical drive, install an SSD, and move the stock HD into the optical bay, but that's a small market). Even the just-updated model has the same lousy 1280x800 screen that it's had for years, which strongly hints that this is a form factor that Apple sees no reason to invest in at the expense of profit margins.


     


    A 13" RMBP adds more questions than it answers, since they can't kill the existing model because of the place it holds in their model lineup (all budget buyers won't be happy with the 11" MBA). So, a 13" RMBP would become the THIRD different 13" laptop in Apple's lineup, something they got rid of last year with the elimination of the plastic MacBook. It can't fill the 'budget' slot no matter what they do - all it can do is steal sales from the 15" RMBP or the 13" Air.


     


    If they ever do a 13" RMBP, I think Apple waits until the price (for both screen and storage) and power issues have been improved enough for them to eliminate the 'classic' 13" MBP at the same time. If the 13" MBP can't fill the 'budget' slot, there's no reason for it to exist. The 15" RMBP is already slightly lighter than the current 13" MBP, and anybody for whom smaller/lighter is a major issue should just get a 13" MBA and be done with it. There's just no place in the lineup for a 13" MacBook Pro that isn't cheap - that's its defining characteristic, and doing a Retina version now just doesn't make sense.

  • Reply 107 of 116
    tailpipetailpipe Posts: 345member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rnb2 View Post


    I'll believe this when I see it - strikes me as extremely unlikely... There's just no place in the lineup for a 13" MacBook Pro that isn't cheap - that's its defining characteristic, and doing a Retina version now just doesn't make sense.



     


    I just cannot agree with you. The price premium a MacBook Pro commands is no longer about processor power, (although professional users will always find a way to use any extra power you give them). What i mean is that we're reaching a point of diminishing returns where individual software programs won't run any faster no matter how powerful the chip that drives them. Look at MS Word or iWork's Pages. Will they run faster on a new 13" MacBook Air or a new 15" Retina MacBook Pro? The answer is probably the latter, but is that additional speed significant enough to be a key factor in anyone's buying decision? I'm not sure it is anymore. If that is true for word processing today; it will be equally true for video editing within the next few years.


     


    So the difference between Air and Pro is screen quality. When you spend 6 or 7 hours a day plugged into your computer life support system, screen quality is a big deal. The question is whether people are prepared to pay extra for a retina display? I think early demand for the new RMBP shows that the answer is 'yes'. The other issue is hard drive space and the cost of SSD. SSD is clearly the future of on-board storage, but large capacity drives are still punitively expensive. Again, some people are happy to pay for 512 GB drives or even 1 TB drives, while others simply don't need them or can't afford them. Add Retina displays and large capacity SSDs together and you have perfect justification for two highly differentiated laptop line-ups. In time, i am sure that Apple's laptop line-up will merge into a single range of 11", 13" and 15" laptops. But not just yet. 

  • Reply 108 of 116
    rnb2rnb2 Posts: 63member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


     


    I just cannot agree with you. The price premium a MacBook Pro commands is no longer about processor power, (although professional users will always find a way to use any extra power you give them). What i mean is that we're reaching a point of diminishing returns where individual software programs won't run any faster no matter how powerful the chip that drives them. Look at MS Word or iWork's Pages. Will they run faster on a new 13" MacBook Air or a new 15" Retina MacBook Pro? The answer is probably the latter, but is that additional speed significant enough to be a key factor in anyone's buying decision? I'm not sure it is anymore. If that is true for word processing today; it will be equally true for video editing within the next few years.


     


    So the difference between Air and Pro is screen quality. When you spend 6 or 7 hours a day plugged into your computer life support system, screen quality is a big deal. The question is whether people are prepared to pay extra for a retina display? I think early demand for the new RMBP shows that the answer is 'yes'. The other issue is hard drive space and the cost of SSD. SSD is clearly the future of on-board storage, but large capacity drives are still punitively expensive. Again, some people are happy to pay for 512 GB drives or even 1 TB drives, while others simply don't need them or can't afford them. Add Retina displays and large capacity SSDs together and you have perfect justification for two highly differentiated laptop line-ups. In time, i am sure that Apple's laptop line-up will merge into a single range of 11", 13" and 15" laptops. But not just yet. 



     


    Interesting theory, but I think it's clear that Apple will go Retina across the board as quickly as it's practical - I just don't think it's going to be practical in the near term. Battery life with a Retina display will be an issue for the MacBook Air line, no question, but it's one that will probably be addressable as battery efficiency and more power-efficient processors roll out over the next year or two.


     


    The way I see it, there's no compelling reason to do a 13" Retina MBP at any point in the near future - anybody who puts that much importance on the screen will pony up for the 15" (which is, as I pointed out, already lighter than the 13" MBP). The weight savings on a 13" RMBP will be minimal (1/2 pound, maybe a bit more - these machines are mostly battery now), and it will still be very expensive due to the cost of the screen and flash storage. Why would Apple undercut its flagship laptop so soon? Like I said, no good reason - if you want a lighter laptop with similar battery life, the 13" MBA is ideal, and can already be configured with more storage than the base 15" RMBP. You have to know you 'need' both the power of a quad-core processor and the Retina screen to justify the RMBP, and why would Apple then complicate the decision by offering a somewhat smaller, somewhat slower 13" RMBP? Doesn't make sense.

  • Reply 109 of 116
    junkyard dawgjunkyard dawg Posts: 2,801member


    Some people value portability, that's where a RMBP would shine.  It's a great solution for someone who does most of their serious work on a desktop but needs a laptop for presentations and lighter work on the go.  Or if you're just using a laptop for writing and messaging, a bigger screen isn't really needed.  Not everyone runs Photoshop and FCP on their MacBook.


     


    Of course at the other end of the spectrum are the graphic designers and artists who do most or all of their work on a laptop.  Apple just told these users to go to hell when they axed the 17" MBP.  Yeah, it had low sales, well maybe it needed some improvements to increase sales, ever think of that, Apple?

     

  • Reply 110 of 116
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


     


    I just cannot agree with you. The price premium a MacBook Pro commands is no longer about processor power, (although professional users will always find a way to use any extra power you give them). What i mean is that we're reaching a point of diminishing returns where individual software programs won't run any faster no matter how powerful the chip that drives them. Look at MS Word or iWork's Pages. Will they run faster on a new 13" MacBook Air or a new 15" Retina MacBook Pro? The answer is probably the latter, but is that additional speed significant enough to be a key factor in anyone's buying decision? I'm not sure it is anymore. If that is true for word processing today; it will be equally true for video editing within the next few years.


     


    So the difference between Air and Pro is screen quality. When you spend 6 or 7 hours a day plugged into your computer life support system, screen quality is a big deal. The question is whether people are prepared to pay extra for a retina display? I think early demand for the new RMBP shows that the answer is 'yes'. The other issue is hard drive space and the cost of SSD. SSD is clearly the future of on-board storage, but large capacity drives are still punitively expensive. Again, some people are happy to pay for 512 GB drives or even 1 TB drives, while others simply don't need them or can't afford them. Add Retina displays and large capacity SSDs together and you have perfect justification for two highly differentiated laptop line-ups. In time, i am sure that Apple's laptop line-up will merge into a single range of 11", 13" and 15" laptops. But not just yet. 



    I wouldn't declare quality solely based on resolution. It's just another line item on a checklist of things that can be improved. Regarding diminishing returns, if everything isn't running in real time, the potential is there. The issue is where it's bottlenecked or if the programming simply doesn't scale well with the hardware changes. Very few programs have true n-core scaling. the recent trend is to unload certain types of processing on the gpu whenever possible, but such functions to fit within the gpu's own ram and benefit from this kind of parallel processing. Anyway you can still see performance differences, but we're in an era where no one should be choking the hardware doing word processing.


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post


     


     


    Of course at the other end of the spectrum are the graphic designers and artists who do most or all of their work on a laptop.  Apple just told these users to go to hell when they axed the 17" MBP.  Yeah, it had low sales, well maybe it needed some improvements to increase sales, ever think of that, Apple?

     



    Most of those users are better served by desktops unless they truly need to take their work with them.

  • Reply 111 of 116
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    wizard69 wrote: »
    I'm not convinced that it has to be thicker, without a descrete GPU it might be thinner. Let's face it Apple doesn't have a lot of I/O to support on a laptop. RAM soldered in becomes low profile and the SSDs can go into the area where the GPU and optical might go.

    1) I think we were both surprised by the soldered RAM and lack of 2nd drive space in these new machines.

    2) Do you think that a 13" Retina Display on a MBP can feasibly use an Intel iGPU or do you think that will require a dGPU?
  • Reply 112 of 116
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    1) I think we were both surprised by the soldered RAM and lack of 2nd drive space in these new machines.
    2) Do you think that a 13" Retina Display on a MBP can feasibly use an Intel iGPU or do you think that will require a dGPU?

    1) I'm surprised that you were surprised.

    2) I think they'll have tried it without and seen it fall short of actual usability. A 13" rMBP with a dGPU would probably be a killer machine.

    Do you imagine they'll price it in between the standard 13" and standard 15"?
  • Reply 113 of 116
    rnb2rnb2 Posts: 63member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Junkyard Dawg View Post


    Some people value portability, that's where a RMBP would shine.  It's a great solution for someone who does most of their serious work on a desktop but needs a laptop for presentations and lighter work on the go.  Or if you're just using a laptop for writing and messaging, a bigger screen isn't really needed.  Not everyone runs Photoshop and FCP on their MacBook.


     


    Of course at the other end of the spectrum are the graphic designers and artists who do most or all of their work on a laptop.  Apple just told these users to go to hell when they axed the 17" MBP.  Yeah, it had low sales, well maybe it needed some improvements to increase sales, ever think of that, Apple?

     



     


    You're aware of the MacBook Air line, right? It's a much better fit for your entire first paragraph than any feasible iteration of Retina MBP in the near term, as a 13" RMBP will not be that much lighter than the 15".


     


    The 15" RMBP is the replacement for the 17" MBP - the highest equivalent screen resolution (1920 x 1200) is exactly the same as the 17" MBP, but with higher quality because of the scaling, and in a much smaller, more portable package. Those high-end users are the target market for the 15" RMBP, and are the reason why I'd be stunned if a 13" RMBP appears in the near future. Why would Apple confuse the market with a lower cost Retina laptop so soon? I think they give the 15" a solid year of exclusivity to ensure that every user who values any aspect of its design (whether that be the screen, the flash storage, the power/weight ratio, or any combination thereof) buys a $2200-3500 machine.

  • Reply 114 of 116
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    tailpipe wrote: »
    I just cannot agree with you. The price premium a MacBook Pro commands is no longer about processor power, (although professional users will always find a way to use any extra power you give them). What i mean is that we're reaching a point of diminishing returns where individual software programs won't run any faster no matter how powerful the chip that drives them. Look at MS Word or iWork's Pages.
    Look at VI/VIM/GVIM/MacVIM. Back in the day the same noise was heard about how well a 486 or Pentium could run the VI text editor. Yet given today's hardware nobody would want to go back to running VI on a 486. We are a very long ways from an era where processor speed isn't significant.

    Will they run faster on a new 13" MacBook Air or a new 15" Retina MacBook Pro?
    That is a certainty. More importantly they can run along side other demanding processes without completely constraining the user.
    The answer is probably the latter, but is that additional speed significant enough to be a key factor in anyone's buying decision? I'm not sure it is anymore. If that is true for word processing today; it will be equally true for video editing within the next few years.
    Maybe? But hasn't this always been the case? That is many people will make do with less even as others clamor for more speed. As for video editing the future just becomes more demanding with things like 4K, 3D and new special effects. I just don't see the need for more powerful machines going away anytime soon.

    Beyond today's apps you need to think about what might be possible on a laptop in the future that current requires large server type machines or even clusters. More powerful laptops simply mean that apps that couldn't run there in the past now can. A perfect example here is CAD software. A few years ago you had o be a gluten for punishment to run CAD on a laptop, now it is common place. In fact it is practicle to run 3 D and even solid modeling (to an extent) on a laptop. I'm certain that many doing so would love an even faster machine.
    So the difference between Air and Pro is screen quality. When you spend 6 or 7 hours a day plugged into your computer life support system, screen quality is a big deal. The question is whether people are prepared to pay extra for a retina display? I think early demand for the new RMBP shows that the answer is 'yes'.
    I would tend to agree, people are willing to pay a little extra. However don't look at today's RMBP numbers as they most likely reflect early adopters or those with little self control. We need to see what demand is like six months from now. We especially need to see sales relative to the standard MBPs.
    The other issue is hard drive space and the cost of SSD. SSD is clearly the future of on-board storage, but large capacity drives are still punitively expensive. Again, some people are happy to pay for 512 GB drives or even 1 TB drives, while others simply don't need them or can't afford them.
    if you don't need them then price isn't an issue. Further if you really need them then price isn't an issue. The problem is for those in the middle, it becomes hard to justify big SSDs when the magnetic options are readily available. In the end the option of big cost effective magnetic drives in the old design MBPs will drive sales of these machines.
    Add Retina displays and large capacity SSDs together and you have perfect justification for two highly differentiated laptop line-ups. In time, i am sure that Apple's laptop line-up will merge into a single range of 11", 13" and 15" laptops. But not just yet. 

    I don't ever see a line merger. The fact of the matter is that MBP still can pack more horsepower especially if a descrete GPU is supported. Beyond that even minor capacity differences can appeal to buyers.
  • Reply 115 of 116
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    1) I think we were both surprised by the soldered RAM and lack of 2nd drive space in these new machines.
    I'm not sure I would call myself surprised by the soldered RAM, frankly I never thought about it a lot or at least not with a great deal of focus. I kinda assumed expandability wold be there.

    The lack of a second drive space though does boggle the mind. Shocked might be a better word to describe the response to the single drive slot. In the case of SSDs, I really think you need the extra slot due to the lack of affordability when it comes to large SSDs. Well affordability and the fact that larger SSDs aren't all that large. If here is anything to complain about it would be the lack of a second SSD slot.
    2) Do you think that a 13" Retina Display on a MBP can feasibly use an Intel iGPU or do you think that will require a dGPU?

    Wow that is a tuff one. Frankly I wouldn't get to wrapped up in trying to answer that question until after Mountain Lion ships. The idea here is that Mountain Lion should have some solid drivers for Ivy Bridge. At that point we might better understand just how good or bad the Intel GPU is.

    Even then I suspect we would take a big hit when it comes to driving 3D. Granted we are talking Windows here, but the Intel chip nose dives when driving high res screens with 3D content. So when in retina mode I wouldn't expect to see a great improvement over the old machines.
  • Reply 116 of 116
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    rnb2 wrote: »
    You're aware of the MacBook Air line, right? It's a much better fit for your entire first paragraph than any feasible iteration of Retina MBP in the near term, as a 13" RMBP will not be that much lighter than the 15".
    For many weight means nothing, they buy for either the physical size or the cost. There is more to portability than weight.
    The 15" RMBP is the replacement for the 17" MBP - the highest equivalent screen resolution (1920 x 1200) is exactly the same as the 17" MBP, but with higher quality because of the scaling, and in a much smaller, more portable package.
    You forgot to mention the much smaller screen! Honestly though I'd never consider a 17" machine, they are just to damn big.
    Those high-end users are the target market for the 15" RMBP, and are the reason why I'd be stunned if a 13" RMBP appears in the near future.
    How would a 13"RMBP appeal to those power users? Seriously this likely has zero impact on Apple when it omes to timing a 13 RMBP release. They realize users aren't dumb and can actually see the difference between the two machines.
    Why would Apple confuse the market with a lower cost Retina laptop so soon?
    Because there would be zero confusion. One machine will have. Thirteen inch screen the other won't. Pretty simply if you ask me.

    I think they give the 15" a solid year of exclusivity to ensure that every user who values any aspect of its design (whether that be the screen, the flash storage, the power/weight ratio, or any combination thereof) buys a $2200-3500 machine.

    The simpler explanation is that the technology isn't ready to spread across the entire line yet. It could be the lack of production capacity or integrated GPU problems. Apple is not a barrel of fools, they will strive to get product to market as fast as possible.
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