Apple announces 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display: 2,560 x 1,600 resolution, Thunderbolt and HDMI starting at $1,699
If the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display was feeling lonely up there on its high-resolution pedestal, it needn’t any longer. As expected, Apple just announced a 13-inch version to keep it company. The 2,560 x 1,600 resolution means that 13-inch screen offers a ppi of 232, marginally more than its larger brother’s 226. As well as that lovely new display, there’s a pair of Thunderbolt ports, and a full-size HDMI port to let you make good use of it with, as well as a pair of USB 3s. While this might not be the primary focus of the day, it will definitely be one of the more hotly anticipated reveals from the company’s San Jose event this afternoon. The base model will run you $1,699 and comes with a 2.5GHz i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of flash memory. At the top end you can expect 768GB hard drive, atop a Core i7. And, like last time, to top it all off, all the new goodies come in a slimmer, desire-stoking design — weighing a whole pound less than the 2011 13-incher and at just 0.75-inches thick, 20 percent thinner. Already full of want? Then don’t hang around, as it ships today!
Apple has an event planned for Tuesday, set for 10 AM Pacific in San Jose. It’s got something to do with the iPad mini, to be sure, but there’s tons of other stuff also rumored to be making an appearance. In fact, it’s beginning to look almost like an Apple fan’s hardware wish fulfillment fantasy, so let’s take stock of what’s supposedly coming and how likely we are to see it.
Here’s the skinny on the new, potentially skinnier iPad. The one consistent detail we’ve seen is that it’ll have a 7.85-inch screen, which, given its specificity, seems very likely to be true. There have also been plenty of images of supposedprototypes, mock-ups and dummy devices used by case manufacturers and others. Given all this info, we’re probably not going to be too surprised by the looks of what gets unveiled on stage next week – though what different color combinations (black or white, as with the iPhone and full-sized iPads) look like in production version could add some spice to the mix.
As for specs, the info is a little hazier. We’re probably going to get a tablet with a non-Retina diaplay, according to many sources, including a best-guess evaluation from frequently correct Apple blogger John Gruber. That won’t be necessarily all that disappointing; a 1024×768 display in a 7.85-inch screen adds up to a pixel density of 163ppi, better than the iPad 2′s 132ppi, though still a far cry from the new iPad’s 264ppi. But as Gruber notes, lightness and thinness should be Apple’s key selling points with an iPad mini, and Retina screen resolution is something that could run counter to both those goals.
We’ll likely see the A5 processor in the iPad mini, instead of the A6, according to early reports, with 512MB of RAM, though 1GB is also possible. There should be at least both Wi-Fi and cellular variants, though there’s some reason to believe we could also see a both a 3G and an LTE version sold separately. Internal storage capacities will likely start at 16GB and range up to 64GB, but there’s at least some suggestion we may even see 8GB versions at the low end, too.
Is the iPad mini real? At this point, it’s very nearly guaranteed. But variables like what capabilities it’ll have in terms of hardware specifics remain somewhat up in the air, which means Apple could still pull out some big surprises tomorrow around device specifics like pricing. It also might be called the iPad Air or something similar rather than the iPad mini, which would be a nice way of frustrating bloggers who’ve been putting “mini” in headlines for months now.
Over the weekend a photo leaked that appears to show an iPad with a Lightning port instead of the 30-pin dock connector. That’s in line with what we’ve been hearing about a minor iPad refresh that essentially just brings the current iPad in line with Lightning, though it also could experience some other minor upgrades to its internal components, including processor and battery. There are good reasons to believe this is true, and strong reasons against it, too.
First, Apple updating mobile hardware mid-cycle is almost unheard of. The exception is when it added a CDMA version of the iPhone 4, but that was a special case designed to take advantage of the end of an exclusivity agreement with carrier AT&T. Rumors of an iPad HD previously popped up indicating a mid-cycle refresh for the iPad back in July, 2011, too, but that never came to pass – Apple waited a full year to introduce the new iPad with Retina display, sticking to its upgrade cycle. This year, it did introduce new customization options for the Retina MacBook Pro just a few weeks after its introduction, but that only barely qualifies for a mid-cycle spec update.
On the other hand, there’s a very good reason to get a Lightning-equipped iPad out there ahead of time: the full-sized iPad will be the only new device Apple is selling without the new connection standard if it launches the iPad mini with Lightning as expected. Making sure that all new, late model hardware that rolls off the line has Lightning will increase the time it’ll take for that to become the dominant standard, helping Apple wind down its dock connector production more quickly and benefiting supply chain costs in the long run.
One other report says that Apple will revise the iPad with improved support for global LTE, along the lines of the iPhone 5. Apple could reap significant benefits from making those changes to iPad, and since it’s not all that close to the device’s original release date, it also doesn’t run as much of a risk of angering customers, and really, so long as they keep these changes minimal and still push a real iPad update sometime early next year, I don’t think any buyers would be inconsolable at the outcome.
Retina MacBook Pro
Apple debuted the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro at WWDC this year in June, and almost immediately countless friends and acquaintances chimed in saying they’d love the same thing in a 13-inch form factor. Such a device is reportedly on the way, according to a number of sources, including a recent leak of images of the notebook’s internals and casing. Earlier, there were rumors that the 13-inch rMBP and updated iMacs would arrive in September/October, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, so seeing them now would hardly surprise.
Also, Apple typically introduces refreshed Macs around this time, with the likely intent of adding fuel to the consumer fire that is holiday shopping season. The 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro primed the engine and appealed to pros, but a 13-inch version will be much more palatable to the average shopper, especially after the rave reviews enjoyed by its larger sibling during the past half year.
Redesigned iMac and Mac mini
The iMac hasn’t been updated in over a year, which is unusual for Apple’s all-in-one. In fact, it’s been almost double the average time between updates since it’s gotten any love. The Mac mini is also looking pretty overdue for a change. Some rumors suggest we could see something as dramatic as a much slimmer case design for the iMac, which could indeed be possible since the iMac hasn’t undergone significant phsyical changes to its external case since 2007. Both machines are likely to get USB 3.0, however, as well as improved processors and generally boosted internal specifications.
We will not see a Retina display on the refreshed iMac, so don’t get your hopes up. It’s just unlikely that costs have gotten to where that’s a feasible thing, and benefits in terms of actual user needs are questionable.
iTunes 11 (or simply “New iTunes”)
Apple’s big redesign for iTunes was previewed on stage at the iPhone 5 event, but it hasn’t yet arrived, despite a promised release window of “October.” Now, it seems like Apple was intentionally waiting for this event to officially release it to the public. Apple’s got a stage, they’ve got some (seemingly feature complete) new software, the whole thing just makes sense. Plus, Apple likes to have at least something “available right now” to announce alongside upcoming products, which is what the iPad mini will presumably be.
That’s what’s likely on tap for tomorrow’s event, but tune back here at TechCrunch to find out how it all shakes out in the end.
A couple of months ago, I had a life-altering experience: I bought a new iPad. I use the term “life-altering experience” because before that day, I was a staunch opponent of all things Apple. I was a devout Linux and Android devotee, and I only really used Windows because I had to, and because I would never, ever be caught dead using a MacBook. I only bought the iPad because I needed a retina device to use for testing. At least that was my intention.
But something happened, something that this fervent Apple-hater did not expect: I fell in love with the device. As someone who stares at screens on a daily basis, I was amazed at the screen. It was one of the most beautiful displays I had ever seen. Text was crystal clear; My eyes no longer strained when reading small print. I wanted this in my laptop.
Matthew McMillion is a developer, designer, and recent Apple convert who recently experienced the frustration of dealing with Apple’s occasional Genius caprice. But at least his story has a happy ending.
At the time, my primary machine was a Dell XPS 17. It was my pride and joy. It was huge, but it was powerful, and I had spent a decent chunk of change (nearly $2,000) to get it decked out: 16GB of RAM, an SSD, the fastest i7 available at the time, everything. This beast was my life, and it was turned on almost all day long, every day. It wasn’t without its faults, of course. Most notably was the screen. It came with the absolute worst screen I had ever laid eyes on. Rough, dull, scratchy–It looked like someone had rubbed it down with sandpaper just before packaging it up and sending it to me. I remember my expression when I first opened it up and turned it on. My heart sank. I knew I was a stickler for things being perfect, but surely this isn’t what two grand bought you.
I called Dell. I waded through an hour of overseas tech support, people telling me to “just reboot my computer”, people telling me it was normal–your typical run-of-the-mill phone support responses. I fought my way gallantly up the chain until I reached Dell’s XPS preferred support. I remember his words exactly. “That screen should be flawless” he said. “If it’s not up to your expectations, we’ll get it fixed.” This is where Dell blew my mind. A replacement screen was overnighted to me. The next day, a certified Dell technician came to my office, and within fifteens minutes, I had the most beautiful laptop screen I had ever seen, shining brightly and ready to be used. “Wow,” I thought, “this is what Dell tech support is capable of?” I was impressed.
One of my co-founders has been a Mac guy for what seems like most of his life. He never said much when I went on my anti-Apple rants, but I could tell he was just sitting by patiently, waiting for me to come around. In secret, I wanted to as well. I had seen all the shiny web development tools that were available for OSX, and I was jealous. Linux was good, but I needed Photoshop and Illustrator to run flawlessly. Now running my own business, I didn’t have time to spend hours a day fiddling with my OS–I just needed it to work. A MacBook Pro and OSX were looking rather tempting, but I just had to resist. Apple had a trick up their sleeve, though. A sneaky, seemingly direct attack at my biggest weakness: Apple announced the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
I caved. Those around me saw it as more of an avalanche: first the MacBook, then a Time Capsule, then all the peripherals, an iPhone, a Thunderbolt Display. I was in a downward spiral of tech, and I was hooked. I quickly grew to love OSX. It had everything I needed, and it ran beautifully. I willingly gave up the customization and geek factor that Android gave me in exchange for getting the things I needed quickly on my phone and tablet. The people at the local Apple Store knew me and my business by name. I even got a business discount on my Thunderbolt Display. I had all but forgotten my pleasant experiences with Dell’s support. That was, until I started having issues with the new MacBook. The dreaded image retention issue.
I wasn’t the only one, of course. In fact, there’s an enormous thread regarding the issue on Apple’s discussion forums. I was one of the lucky few who found the issue within their original fourteen-day return period. Unable to comprehend how a display this gorgeous on a machine that I paid almost thirty-five hundred dollars for would be having issues like this, I took the device back to my local Apple Store. I sat patiently at the Genius Bar, waiting to be helped. I was excited. I had heard the tales. I had been told before just how helpful Apple was when it came to getting things right. I wanted to see this in person.
At the time, the issue was still fresh. Some blogs had been reporting it, and the aforementioned thread existed. Those of us participating in the thread had narrowed the culprit down to LG manufactured screens. Those lucky few that had Samsung screens were not having the problem. The Genius I talked to had not heard of the issue, but I was able to easily reproduce it. He claimed that it was “within spec”, but since I was still within my fourteen-day window, I was allowed to walk out with a new device. It was the last day of my return period, and given that finding a rMBP with a Samsung screen was essentially a lottery, I opted for a standard MacBook Pro, thinking that I would try the Retina again after the next iteration. I was leaving that afternoon for a trip, and I needed a device that worked.
I was miserable. I spent the entire weekend yearning for that gorgeous screen. Everything I looked at was fuzzy. My eyes strained. I couldn’t take it. I got back early Sunday afternoon and headed straight for the Apple Store. I marched in and immediately swapped the MacBook again and rushed out with another Retina. When I got home, I was almost afraid to open it. I booted it up, let it restore from my Time Capsule, and logged in. I opened the terminal, and ran that all-important command to check the display model.
It was a Samsung screen.
I almost leapt out of my chair. I was ecstatic. I had hit the jackpot. I almost felt bad for the other users when I posted on the thread that I had managed to find one with a Samsung screen. But I was happy. I bragged about my machine. I loved it. It did exactly what I needed. It looked fantastic. The screen was exceptional. It was by far the best laptop I had ever owned. Apple had completely won me over. It was the best month of my life.
And then I noticed a small white blotch on the screen. A “mura” it was called, and it drove me crazy. It was glaring. It got in the way of my work, and on a device that was heralded as “a break-through in display engineering” and having “the best quality display Apple has ever made”, it wasn’t acceptable, right? If it wasn’t good enough for my Dell, it surely wasn’t good enough for a MacBook.
I was well out of a fourteen-day return period, but I had bought Apple Care. I felt safe. I made an appointment at the local Apple Store, and reluctantly took my pride and joy in for a checkup. I explained the issue to the Genius, who happened to be the same guy I talked to when I had issues with my first MacBook. I showed him the spot.
“I don’t see it”, he claimed. Surely he was bluffing. I pointed again. That was when he started feeding me the bullshit. “You see,” he clamored, “all screens are different.”
Yes, and this one is defective. I spent the next ten minutes trying every possible way I knew to get him to agree with me, but all I received was the cold shoulder. He even went as far as to tell me that the original problem I had experienced with image retention was actually caused by my eyes, not the screen. I eventually accepted that fact that I wasn’t getting a replacement.
“So you’re not going to help me out here?” I asked.
“I don’t feel comfortable doing a replacement.” he quipped.
I felt my face turn red with anger. “Then why did I pay extra for Apple Care?”
“Well, we replaced the first two machines, didn’t we?”
I didn’t know how to respond. I paid a lot of money into this ecosystem, and I expected to be treated like it. I know it’s not a lot, but my small company had given almost twenty grand to Apple over the past couple of months, and I felt like I deserved more. I was angry, of course, but more so I was hurt. I couldn’t believe that my only option was to just accept it and move on. I’m not sure whether I sat there for thirty seconds or thirty minutes, but I eventually just shoved my MacBook back into my bag, uttered “thanks” and trudged out of the store.
That was three days ago. Since then, I’ve had time to collect my thoughts, and my nerves have settled down a bit. I’m angry, but I’m not irrational. I enjoy my MacBook, and I still think it’s one of the best laptops I’ve ever owned. I am, however, upset with the way Apple has treated the issue. We understand that this is new, cutting-edge technology. We understand that there will be problems. We just want to be treated like human beings.
I’m not asking for much. I’m not asking for freebies. I’m just asking for one of the best laptops I’ve ever owned to become the best laptop I’ve ever owned. I’m asking to be treated like a paying customer that wants to remain a paying customer. I’m asking Apple to uphold their supposed commitment to being the best. If Dell could do it, surely Apple can.
Update: You win, Apple.
In the past week, I’ve learned a few things. First, no matter what you do or say, people on the internet will hate you, some will praise you, and most will call you a whiny, distasteful idiot. Second, being a whiny, distasteful idiot will get you what you want.
Apple came through for me and my company and fixed the laptop. Upon reading my letter, I was contacted by Zainab from Apple’s Corporate Executive Relations department. Zainab was ridiculously helpful. She got me in touch with some of Apple’s engineers–who agreed that the defect I had did indeed qualify for a replacement–and set me up to get my rMBP’s screen replaced. A day later, I had my rMBP back with a flawless new (Samsung built) screen. Color me impressed.
Can I trust Apple? Of course not-–not any more than I can trust Google, Microsoft, Dell, Samsung or any other major technological leviathan. What I can attest for is that if you push hard enough, Apple will take care of you. That being said, there are still major issues with the MacBook Pro Retina that need to be resolved. I know that profits are what matters, but shelling out subpar displays in hopes that most of your buyers won’t notice is bad karma. Most everyone is guilty of such things, of course, and throwing pebbles isn’t going to bring the beast to its knees. It’s still good to grab their attention every once in a while, though.
In the end, I’m pleased. I received what I had originally paid for, and I’m relatively certain that if the need arises, Apple will come through for me again. This may have been my first MacBook, but it won’t be my last.
While Apple’s supposed October 23rd event still exists only in the land of leaks and rumors for now, there’s mounting suspicions that it won’t just be a one-trick pony if it becomes real. Both AllThingsD and9to5Mac claim to know that a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina display is also on the cards for the presentation and would be just what you’d expect: a smaller version of the 15-inch model with four times the screen resolution of its conventional equivalent (2,560 x 1,600 here), all-flash storage and a price premium. There’s not much more to go on beyond talk of a D1 codename versus the 15-inch D2, although we won’t have long to find out if the rumor represents more than just wishful thinking. You might want to hold out on buying that MacBook Air for a week as a precaution.
Analyst Richard Shim for NPD Display Search has told CNET that the displays are already in production. He notes that the display will be used in a 13-inch MacBook Pro, not a new MacBook Air, according to his supply chain sources. (Apple is rumored to eventually release a version of the MacBook Air with a Retina display).
This smaller Retina MacBook Pro will be very attractive to general consumers, and will hopefully sport a much cheaper price tag than the current 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, which retails for $2199.
Mac users sometimes have to make trade-offs between usefulness and simplicity. The angst around this challenge often focuses on the menu bar, the most persistent part of OS X, usually reserved for critical information. Fortunately, we’ve got 10 Mac geeks here who can help you keep your menu bar apps straight.
David Barnard – Founder of App Cubby
Ben Brooks – Proprietor of The Brooks Review
Favorite app is Day One because I always wanted to keep journal and Day One is the most beautiful and easiest to use journal out there.
Least favorite thing in the menu bar: Notification Center.
Dan Frommer – Proprietor of SplatF and editor-at-large of ReadWriteWeb
There’s a lot of stuff up here, but don’t let that trick you. I don’t use any of these, and haven’t been into menu bar apps since roughly Mac OS 8. Now that Apple updates the system software so regularly, and I have so much work to do, I try to use as “stock” a system install as possible. (Also, I have two Macs and two iOS devices, so I already have enough problems keeping everything updated.)
I do use the volume and AirPort menus occasionally, and Spotlight for search. And because Bluetooth is just awful, I’m always being reminded that my Magic Trackpad is out of batteries, even though I just put new ones in. But as far as the Twitter, Dropbox, Skype, Adium app thingies, I mostly ignore them.
Abraham Hyatt – Managing editor of ReadWriteWeb
I think the menu bar is a little window into a Mac user’s workflow philosophy. There are two kinds of apps that live in mine: the ones I use all day long (nvALT, PTHPasteboard, GrabBox) but only occasionally need access via the menu bar, and apps that exist only in the menu bar. In the latter category, Alarms (a brilliant drag-and-drop way to create to-dos and alarms) and Notify(feature-rich menubar access to Gmail) get the most use. I’m trying out Fantastical but I’m not sure I’m going to keep it. FuzzyClock serves no purpose other than to remind me to not get trapped in the obsessive, seconds-count-more-than-quality news blogging mindset.
Brett Kelly – Author of Evernote Essentials
My menu bar has recently found new life in a little app called Bartender, which lets me shove most of my icons into a secondary bar that I only see when I want to (or when one of the hidden apps starts chirping at me). So simple, for sure, but I no longer suffer menu bar icons hidden behind the active app’s “Help” menu. I love this app.
Manya – Tech-focused social connector and thrillseeker
The cloud icon, 5th from the left, is a menu bar app called CloudApp. It’s great for quickly generating a link to share things such as text files and screen shots. While you can do the same thing with Dropbox, which I also have installed, its beauty is in its simplicity. I share a lot of screen shots, and CloudApp is perfect for taking a snapshot of something to share in the moment. The things I share with Cloud App are dispensable, so I rarely go back and reference anything previously shared, even though you can. This is where it differs from my use of Dropbox, where I sync and store things I’ll need to access repeatedly.
Jon Mitchell – Staff writer at ReadWriteWeb
I pack a lot of apps into that menu bar. It’s coveted space, so an app has to be critical to make it in there. But there are two that absolutely have to be there, and I can’t choose which one is more important. One is Caffeine, which you click once to fill the coffee cup, thus keeping your screen from going to sleep. The other is f.lux, which is the only reason my brain still works. It gradually shifts the colors of your screen toward the red end of the spectrum as the sun goes down, so the daylight glare from your screen doesn’t mess with your circadian rhythms at night.
Ted Rheingold – VP, social at Say Media
I like as few distraction/interruptions as possible. If I want to use an app, I load it. If I can hide it from the menu bar, I will. This probably goes back to my days working on Windows. Likewise I love using Desktop Curtain to hide desktop clutter behind an image of my choice.
Steve Streza – Lead platform developer at Pocket
Don’t you judge me.
Apple’s sharp 15-inch MacBook Pro equipped with retina display is still a newcomer on the shelves. But already Applecould be gearing up to introduce a smaller, 13-inch version before the end of the year.
According to industry rumors, Apple is talking to its Asian manufacturing partners about supplying 13-inch retina screens in time for an October launch.
Reports also state that, despite being smaller than the 15-inch, this model will actually have higher resolution. While the 15.4-inch screen features 220 pixels per inch (PPI), the 13-inch version is said to be slightly sharper at 227 PPI.
The 15-inch retina MacBook Pro stumbled a bit off the starting block due to limited support from software makers for its high-resolution screen. Hopefully by October more programs will be available — other than Apple’s own — that fully support its 2800 x 1800 resolution.
Apple’s new MacBook Pro features a stunning 2880×1800 Retina display that makes any other screen look like pixelated junk. Because the next-gen 2012 MacBook Pro packs so many pixels in an insane resolution on a 15-inch display, it can be difficult to find great wallpapers that are optimized correctly. Luckily, we’ve collected the best resources on the internet to help you find the most beautiful wallpapers possible.
The very best wallpaper resource on the internet right now is a site called InterfaceLIFT. There’s already aRetina MacBook Pro thread with over 200 2880×1800 wallpapers, and you can download each individually for free or pay $2 to download the whole collection at once. Here are a few of our favorites (again, there are way more to choose from):
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NASA has some great ultra hi-res space wallpapers available that we’ve already highlighted. See ouroriginal post to download each one in its full Retina glory.
Over on Flickr, Rob Sheridan has a ton of great Retina wallpapers. Just a few of our favs:
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You can usually find some gems on Dribble. Search “retina macbook pro” or something along those lines and you’ll find new stuff as it’s made available. We’ve already told you about Tim Van Damme’s great wallpaper, and there’s another beautiful collection by Marc Edwards:
deviantART is another great resource for finding hi-res wallpapers, like this pack of 8 great Retina images. The Shiny Space Wallpaper and Pluvia look particularly good on the MacBook Pro’s 2880×1800 Retina display:
Lastly, you can always download Apple’s own hi-res wallpapers that are coming in OS X Mountain Lion later this month.
Are there any other wallpaper resources you think we missed? Let us know in the comments!
The new Retina MacBook Pro is anincredible piece of hardware. On its spec sheets, Apple claims it can support “up to two external displays”, but it turns out that’s bull. In fact, it can support three external monitors.
Hey now. That’s some impressive graphics performance from a laptop. This set-up has been tested by several people independently—including The Verge and OWC—and the results are impressive. OWC in particularreports being able to run the following displays:
Retina on laptop @ “best for Retina”
iMac used as a display @ 2560 x 1440 via Thunderbolt
iMac used as a display @ 2560 x 1440 via Thunderbolt/DisplayPort
LG monitor @ 1920 x 1200 via HDMI
Perhaps more impressive is the graphics performance on each and every display—after all, a static display on four monitors isn’t much use unless you can actually do something useful with it. Again, leaning on OWC’s test, it seems the MacBook has no issues:
“Moving images and media didn’t create any lag and we were able to play video on all four displays simultaneously.”
Four videos, simultaneously, with no lag. On a laptop. That’s pretty sweet. For the record, Appleofficially claims the MacBook “simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on up to two external displays.” But we know better.
Image by The Verge