Apple’s 15″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display looks like it’s a big hit despite the high entry price. The things have sold out with shipping times currently sitting at 3-4 weeks, and even big name retail stores getting at most, a few per day (if at all). Mind you, many people don’t want a larger (read: 15+ inch laptop). Similarly, Apple’s 13″ Macbook Pro/Air (more-so the latter) have been big sellers and easily the crowd favorite. But sadly, the most recent refresh announced this past Monday at WWDC lacked any 13″ Retina love. If you want insanely high resolution on a tiny laptop screen, the 15″ MBP is your only avenue for the moment.
But there’s hope. Just a few short days after WWDC and the new Retina Macbook Pro’s debut, rumors began flying that we wouldn’t have to wait until the next Macbook Pro/Air refresh for Retina display support on smaller models. They are said to be coming “sooner rather than later”. Several rumors have even said “before October”.
While I have no way of verifying such claims at this point, it is interesting. Apple has many times in the past upgraded a particular model of Macbook with a new feature only to bring it to the full line at a later date, and not necessarily at a major update interval, either. An example: Past Macbook Pro updates have seen the 13″ and 15″ upgraded first, with the 17″ (now dead) updated a couple months after the fact.
I’ve jumped around on various Macbook machines over the last few years; I’ve had an older 2007 Macbook Pro, 2nd-gen 13″ Macbook Air, early 2011 13″ Macbook Pro, back to a mid-2011 13″ Macbook Air, and now a late-2011 15″ Macbook Pro. I’m now (impatiently) waiting for this thing to sell so I can pick up a sweet piece of Retina-packing joy. That said, if there was a 13″ Air/Pro with a Retina display, my love for dedicated graphics and a bigger display might be challenged. One of the things I hate about smaller screens is the smaller resolution. My eye site is still strong. Higher resolution, small displays (13″ and under) aren’t a gripe for me yet. (Check back in 15-25 years.) In my opinion, as long as you’re not a hardcore photo/video buff (or gaming for that matter), the Air/Pro machines with integrated graphics — with which the latest Intel HD 4000 is quite capable — and a Retina quality display would be killer, dare I say the best mobile machine available.
While I’ve always tended to favor more powerful laptops, trading off some battery life in exchange for more performance, there’s a crossroads I’ve come to that has finally made me realize that while it’s nice to have the Pro power, I don’t necessarily need it most times. Of course, wanting more than we need is simple human nature and something many of us struggle with throughout our entire lives.
I have no doubt that Apple is working on a Retina quality display for their smaller 13″ and probably 11″ laptops. It’s a matter of when, not if. Just like Retina displays made their way from the iPhone up to the larger-screened iPad, they to will again make the move from big screen to little in the Macbook range. And when that time comes, I’ll have to make the hard decision as to whether or not my 15″ Macbook Pro w/ Retina display is really the love of my digital life.
Do you find yourself in the same boat? Are you contemplating holding off on the 15″ Retina Macbook Pro for a shot at a 13″ Pro/Air model at a later date?
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