I don’t like Apple but I like their trend-setting moves and they’ve just done it again. Just like I welcomed the SSD milestone with MacBook Air in late 2010, I absolutely love their latest leap light years ahead of the competition with the new 15″ MacBook Pro 2012 laptop with Retina display. The screen resolution on this puppy
is insane at 2880 x 1800, goes up to 1920×1200 which is as good as any other laptop on earth (I believe the highest resolution was 1920×1080 so far), and it also approaches most monitors (which I believe max out at 2560×1600). This is still “only” 2 megapixels and far from being able to see 10 or 15 MP digital camera shots in full resolution, but it still brings new possibilities with reducing pixel-grainy font, making things look really sharp, and most of all, hopefully reducing eyestrain.
Although the Retina name is possibly deceiving because the pixels or dots per inch (dpi) density of these displays is still not reaching perceptive limits of people with good eyesight, it is a bold move in right direction, while most other monitor manufacturers have been sleeping on laurels and, as I mentioned in another post, selling us dysfunctional monitors for many years. This makes them bite the dust, so I say hallelujah to all brothers and sisters with eyestrain. What I really love about this move is the fact that this officially opens the highest resolution display hunt season, which means competition, which means lower prices, which means high(er) resolution displays for all. I love the free market. Do I? Well, of course I do. In this case.
If I had as much money as I don’t, I’d definitely buy one in spite of my Apple animosity (ripoffs, innovation-choking legal bullying, lack of decent charity contributions, etc.), because I was never hesitant to spend money on things good for my eyes.
In addition, this new generation MacBook is equipped with Intel’s spanking new Ivy Bridge CPU, and finally has an HDMI port, (but still no VGA). It also finally includes USB 3.0 and it still has Tunderbolt if anybody ever uses it. Of course, an SSD “hard disk” (soldered on) is included in all models, starting with 256 GB at entry level. Although some complain that this laptop is not as light as they’d want it to be, with this screen I at first thought I’d use this machine all day as a desktop replacement for both work and fun.
CNET editors (some would call them Apple suckups, but not me) gave it the Editor’s Choice award, but before you buy, check whether users are happy with it – read end user revies, because picky and demanding consumers can sometimes reveal things that technology aficionados miss. I purposely scan for patterns among reviews with lower grades which often prove to be big warning signs. (UPDATE: see bottom of the post for the link with eyestrain problems)
Nevertheless, when I heard that the new 15″ MacBook Pro 2012 will be equipped with Retina screen I started drooling, but my wife threatened to call 911, so I had to stop and think sour grapes thoughts to spoil the excitement. With a little bit of research I was more than successful and almost totally turned off, not only because I don’t have $2200 for the entry level model. If you already ordered one, don’t read further or be ready for buyer’s remorse:
- First, I’m very disappointed, because the screen resolution is not 2880 x 1800 as stated in many articles (this one originally as well). That’s the pixel density, while the maximum screen resolution goes up only to 1920×1200, which according to Apple is “scaled and not recommended” because it can affect performance. Their recommended (native) resolution is only 1440 x 900. At 15″? Boo! Not even 1600 x 1000,
- Second, this laptop still has the same annoying glossy screen finish where every little reflection of your face, things behind you, or even your eyeballs will bother you even more. You won’t be able to use this in daylight. As I said in my glossy screen rant, this is for vampires only,
- Third, you should buy it only if you don’t care about being unable to upgrade or fix it, but there’s another, far more trivial and far more annoying flaw,
- Fourth and most important, as I said in my anticipation of the Ivy Bridge Laptops in my “why laptops are like shoes” post, who knows which genius will this time ruin otherwise great laptop with a cheap, low quality peripheral. Well, you don’t have to look far with this beautiful specimen: it has the same pitiful chiclet keyboard from 2006 that I can’t stand. Yes, it looks fancy, it’s backlit, and it’s great for consumer-users who don’t do a lot of work on their laptops, but if you write or code a lot, this keyboard is a show stopper. Although I’d love to have a laptop with Retina display, no matter how gorgeous and fancy this new 15″ MacBook Pro 2012 is, I won’t buy another chiclet keyboard piece of junk.
Still, I am happy because
there’s a new great sheriff in town, and the rumor is out, so challengers will come. The the race to high(er) resolution screens has begun and common mortals like us will benefit when all this becomes affordable.
UPDATE (August 23, 2012): Some owners of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display as well as owners of the new MacBook Air are experiencing some extraordinary eyestrain with these models, even considering returning them. Most of these people are faithful Mac users who didn’t have a problem with previous models. See the discussion at https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4042902?start=0&tstart=0.