Home Tech MacBook Pro Retina: This fence is getting mighty uncomfortable

MacBook Pro Retina: This fence is getting mighty uncomfortable


Airs a triple, courtesy of Apple

Difficult decisions

Never has it been more difficult to decide what MacBook to buy. As you know, my 2010 MacBook Air continues to provide faultless service, but I realise I am ready for an upgrade. I was all set to buy the latest 11in Air following the announcement on Tuesday, but I am seduced by that retina display on the new MacBook Pro.

Fact is, however, I am totally happy with the 11in Air because of its small size and low weight. These things matter a great deal when you are lugging your stuff around airports. That 15in retina display is so attractive, of course it is. But I wonder how long it would take for the gloss to wear off when it comes to lugging around what is for me a relative monster.

If Apple had introduced a retina MacBook Air at Tuesday’s event it would already be on order. No doubt about it. But I am now totally torn between practicality and desire. 


After several days of vacillation, I really do feel I would regret buying the 15in retina MacBook Pro simply because it is heavier and bigger than I am now used to. Let’s forget the price difference and that stupendous screen. I am sure I would love using it. I would probably declare it the best Mac laptop ever. I could even see it becoming a desktop replacement for my 27in iMac (which is a thought I will definitely resurrect next year when my iMac gets to be two years old).

Yet I do not feel compelled to rush out and buy a new Air, despite having reached this decision. Rumours are already circulating about a retina-display 13in MacBook Pro in October. And who knows when the higher resolution screen will percolate down to the Airs? As M.G.Siegler said this week, “Do you dare buy a new Air when a Retina one must be in the works?”

No, I don’t. I don’t want to commit £1,300 for a built-to-order Air when it could be totally outclassed within a year. I am equally undertain about committing over £2,000 to a MacBook Pro when I know it is currently priced at a premium to catch the early birds. Next year it will be cheaper as retina displays become more commonplace and filter down the line. I am sure many people are thinking like this.

Soldiering on

It would be a different matter if I had no portable Mac, or if the Air were giving trouble. But there is nothing wrong with it, and of course it isn’t my main workhorse so speed is not that critical. I think I can manage for a few more months until Apple’s strategy becomes clearer.

Never say never, though. I could change my mind, a privilege I exercise frequently.


  1. Interesting analyzing post about MacBook Air versus the new MacBook Pro with Retina display.
    As you suggested, all depends on the degree and relative importance one puts on lightweight travel capability.

    Today, myself I use a MacBook Air 11" (2011 generation) with max RAM(4 GB) and 256GB SSD.

    A fantastic machine for travel and leightweight (4,5h) operation and for having almost with you, e.g. sitting/thinking/working on a outside terrace during springtime 🙂

    The new MacBook Air 11" (2012) provides even more RAM (upto 8GB) and upto 512GB SSD, altogether with missing USB 3.0 etc., which only adds to the existing strong points, while:
    – maintaining "very lightweight life" compliance
    – considerably enhanced possibilities to run e.g. a Windows 7 virtual machine anytime
    (Win VM launches really superfast with the SSD
    but the MacBook Air 2011 had not enough disk capacity to carry a full-featured
    Windows 7 VM with you…)

    For use at the office, I plug in my MacBook Air 11" to an Apple Thunderbolt 27" display with a nice 2560-by-1440 resolution, and that works very well for me.

    The new MacBook Pro with Retina display is indeed probably the best notebook computer on the world for the time being, but with following remarks:
    – very powerful machine
    – can replace a powerful workstation-grade computer in most cases
    – has a wonderful display built-in

    – at the office, you typically don't want to work on a laptop (15"4)-size display
    for long periods of time
    – MacBook Pro with Retina weight DOUBLE (!!) from a MacBook Air 11"
    to carry around
    (i.e. 2kg versus 1kg)

    Apple really makes these days our life interesting with abundant choices (…), sure more difficult to choose.

    So, my advice would be:
    – write down your own personal real usage requirement(s)
    while sitting down alone with a white sheet of paper in a quiet room
    – next, visit a nearby Apple store carrying the full line
    – then touch, feel and weigh the machines to determine your choice of preference

    Good luck in making the right decision for you !!
    Brussels – Belgium


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