The brand new MacBook Pro, introduced on June 11 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, has received mixed reactions from consumers.
Apple’s decision to switch to a retina display and install flash storage (among many other new inclusions) may seem brilliant, but can create havoc for customers down the track.
At first sight, the new MacBook Pro looks similar to the previous models thanks to its unibody design. On closer inspection, however, there are finer details evident: the thinner, sleeker appearance, the absence of the atypical ‘MacBook Pro’ lettering underneath the screen, the removal of the usual circular power on button in the top right corner and the vivid retina display.
Apple’s retina display is the “highest resolution display ever on a notebook”. It has a similar clarity to that of the iPad Three, bringing about a very beautiful finish that allows users to see everything in the highest detail. However, beauty comes at a price — if anything were to go wrong, the screen is extremely difficult to replace.
Usually, the LCD is placed between a layer of glass and a back case. But in the new MacBook Pro there is no front layer of glass. There is only the screen, protected by an aluminium case. These small external changes pave the way for drastic changes that have been made to the MacBook Pro’s internal components.
Flash storage is a major improvement with the new MacBook Pro. Apple has ditched the traditional hard disk drive for a solid state drive. These drives are almost silent, extremely quick at retrieving information and have fast start up times. They can also withstand much higher temperatures than hard disk drives. Solid state drives have no moving parts, leaving them unaffected by vibration and shock.
Although they have been in the Apple lineup for several years now (the MacBook Air runs on a solid state drive), the switch has only now been made to include solid state drives in the MacBook Pro. It is possible that Apple made the switch so late because of users’ reliance on disk drives. The removal of the traditional hard disk drive means no more slot loading CD/DVD drive in the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Which also means no more burning CDs or installing programs that come with an install disk.
To combat this issue, Apple offers the SuperDrive, an external optical drive. Originally the SuperDrive was released in conjunction with the MacBook Air, but Apple will now push it as an extra with anyone purchasing the new 15-inch MacBook Pro.
The list of hardware conundrums (or advantages, whichever way you see it) goes on. The battery, RAM and solid state drive cannot be upgraded as they are all soldered to the logic board, a bold move on Apple’s part considering the last laptops that had this configuration were the iBook G3s. The bolts for the casing are custom made and patented, meaning only Apple can open up your laptop and have a look inside.
From Apple’s point of view, this is a clever move. If something breaks, you have no choice but to go back to them. If you think of upgrading when you purchase the MacBook Pro, the salespeople can steer you in the direction of purchasing the most maxed-out model to ensure that it fulfils your every desire.
For consumers, the new model isn’t all bad either. Apple has basically revamped everything inside the laptop to make it run faster and ultimately better. Along with the aforementioned retina display and solid state drive are an impressive list of features. USB 3.0 ports are a new inclusion, as well as Intel Core i7 processors that are turbo-boosted. The new MacBook Pro also sports Bluetooth 4.0 and a standard HDMI port, eliminating extra connectors that have been a trouble in the past with other Apple products.
It should be noted that these features only come with the new 15-inch MacBook Pro, branded as the ‘MacBook Pro with Retina display’. The previous 13-inch models have only received minor processor upgrades, and the 17-inch models are no longer available. Although costlier than the previous 15-inch model, the new MacBook Pro with Retina display is definitely a sound investment at $2,499.
The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is overall another sturdy product released by Apple that is sure to last for a long time. It has been developed to suit consumers’ needs and has been built to the highest quality.
Apple has been edging into a league of their own when it comes to laptops, and their newest introductions to the lineup have the specifications and appeal to set them apart from other competing companies once and for all.