From Daring Fireball today:
The new “next-generation” MacBook Pro with Retina Display is, in short, “Back to the Mac” for hardware. This is an iOS-inspired appliance — battery, RAM, solid state storage — all of it is sealed in a magnificent enclosure. Consider too that it no longer even says “MacBook Pro” on the front of the display. It’s just like an iOS device — a brilliant display surrounded by black glass.
I have a review unit from Apple, and after just 15 minutes or so trying it out, it’s damn impressive. Much like with the iPhone and iPad, it’s not so much that the retina display looks good as that, after you’ve used it for even just a few minutes, non-retina display MacBooks look bad. It’s not just pixel size, either — color, brightness, viewing angles — everything about it is amazing. Best display I’ve ever seen, period.
The catch is that it’s expensive. That’s why it debuted alongside a brand-new update to the 15-inch non-retina MacBook Pro, rather than replacing it. If you can afford it (and don’t need the optical drive or spinning hard disk), you want the new one. And surely we’re going to see displays of this caliber roll out across the MacBook line, one by one, as soon as it becomes economically feasible. (And, I presume, the iMac and Cinema Displays, too. It’s just a matter of time.)
Best to compare it to the original MacBook Air from 2008. The first Air was expensive and not for everyone, but it showed the future of Apple’s (and, really, the industry’s) portables. That’s what the new 15-inch MacBook Pro is: the future of portable Macs.