Yesterday Apple unveiled their next generation MacBook Pro in the 15″ model. The biggest feature of the new notebook is a high resolution Retina display, Apple's terminology for a screen with a pixel pitch so high that individual pixels are indistinguishable at normal viewing distances. For the 15″ next gen MacBook Pro, this is 220 dpi at 2880 by 1800 resolution. As a result, graphics, images and text are rendered in extremely crisp detail.
Entirely New Design
New fantastic industrial design. No, it's not as thin at its thinnest as the MacBook Air, but it's a huge improvement over the old MacBook Pros. The savings in weight will be a benefit to anyone who travels with a ton of gear in the field – it all adds up.
If you've seen the new iPad 3 with Retina display, you probably know what you're in for in terms of image display. Simply put, a big Retina display looks better than printed photograph. It might be sacrilege to say that, but images appear sharper, more detailed and vibrant than most conventional prints. This isn't to say that an image on a Retina display has more impact than a print, which is something else entirely.
The end take away is that a Retina display is perfect for photography. Photographers, you will love this.
With the new Ivy Bridge architecture, Apple has finally brought USB 3.0 connectivity to the MacBook Pro line. Drop in not one but two Thunderbolt ports, SDXC and HDMI, and this new notebook should be set for pretty much anything you want to hook up to it.
I think the inclusion of USB 3.0 is relatively huge for photographers, as it will allow for extremely fast downloads in the field. While the included SDXC slot is great for anyone shooting SD cards, everyone using CF should be loving on USB 3.0 compatible card readers by now.
Perhaps as important as any of the new advancements, the new MacBook Pro features some serious power under the hood. For one, the MacBook Pro now finally adopts SSD storage. We've seen the huge benefits of SSD in the MacBook Air line and it's exciting to finally have it as a stock option for the MBPs.
In addition, Apple has dropped in the latest Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge quad-core processors – available in 2.3 and 2.6 GHz options. Screaming fast. And with 8GB RAM stock and upgradable to 16GB for “only” $200, the new MacBook Pro seems like a portable powerhouse.
The new next generation MacBook Pro with Retina display is probably the most exciting computer photographers have seen in a long, long time. Personally, I'm excited to see a 13″ model introduced to complement the current 15″ model for those of us who prefer an even smaller form factor.
There are reports that, no surprise, this next generation MacBook Pro is packed with custom parts – and essentially entirely non-user repairable. As always, I highly recommend getting Apple Care with any big Apple computer purchase, but especially with this computer.
I will be doing a full review of the new next gen 15″ MacBook Pro as soon as possible. If you have any questions in the meantime, please let me know in the comments!