The Next-Generation MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Share

If you’ve been holding out for a refresh of the MacBook Pro line, you’ve received more than an “iPhone 4S-type” update. Apple announced today at their annual Worldwide Developer Conference 2012 the next-generation MacBook Pro with Retina Display. More than just a modest update to the hardware, Apple has overhauled two of their 15.4” MacBook Pros into ultrathin, lightweight machines with 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz processors. The next-generation MacBook Pro is only 0.71” thin (which is a quarter of an inch thinner than its predecessor) and weighs just 4.46 pounds.

The first and probably the most important change is the addition of a Retina display. Rumored for months to be added to Mac notebooks after the release of the new iPad, the next-generation MacBook Pro will feature a 15.4” IPS display with a native resolution of 2880 x 1800. Capable of 220 pixels-per-inch (ppi), the new Retina display is an enormous improvement over the native resolution of its predecessor. It can also achieve a pixel count of over 5 million—that’s 3 million more than a standard 1080p HDTV. The Retina display on the next-generation MacBook Pro boasts a 29% higher contrast ratio, a 178° viewing angle and reduced glare, even though it still has a glossy screen.

You’ll see the difference in the OS X Lion apps, such as Safari, Mail, iCal, Address Book and more. iPhoto, Aperture and Final Cut Pro have also been optimized to make the most of the enhanced display. Other Apple app updates are also coming. You may have deal with pixilated third-party apps until their respective developers have a chance to update them.

What’s powering the world’s highest resolution notebook display? That would be NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics. With up to 1GB of dedicated memory, the GeForce GT 650M graphics processing unit (GPU) is twice as fast as the previous generation and 60% faster than any other notebook Apple has ever made. Now with support for Microsoft DirectX 11 and Shader Model 5.0, this next-generation MacBook Pro can perform GPU-accelerated tessellation. With NVIDIA Optimus technology, the GeForce GT 650M manages your notebook to save battery life. The combination of high-definition video decode acceleration and post-processing delivers stutter-free video, stunning picture clarity, deep black levels, vibrant color and precise image scaling (we’re going to need it with the Retina display) for movies and videos—all with incredible energy efficiency.

It looks like Apple has finally gotten with the program. After years of ignoring the pleas of the masses for the ability to connect to our expensive HDTVs, Apple has finally added an HDMI port to the next-generation MacBook Pro. You will now be able to connect the next-generation MacBook Pro directly to your HDTV with an HDMI cable. You might refrain from doing so though, since the Retina display will most likely have a higher resolution than your HDTV, but it’s a nice option to have when you want to share photos or videos with a number of people. You can also technically connect wirelessly via the third-generation AppleTV (1080p edition) and Mac OS X Mountain Lion, but more on that later. If you’re an Apple user through and through, you don’t have to worry because the next-generation MacBook Pro still has two native mini-DisplayPorts with Thunderbolt support so you can connect up to two Apple LED Cinema Displays, with resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600.

While the Retina display is definitely impressive, Apple didn’t skimp out on performance either. The next-generation MacBook Pro has your choice of either a quad-core Ivy Bridge 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz) or a quad-core Ivy Bridge 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz). You can also configure up to a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz). It also has 8GB of DDR3 RAM (configurable up to 16GB) that runs at 1600MHz to take full advantage of the processors. 256GB or 512GB of flash storage come standard in the two prebuilt models, but you can configure the 2.6GHz model up to 768GB if you have the extra cash.

Port lovers rejoice! Apple has finally embraced USB 3.0! The next-generation MacBook Pro will feature two USB 3.0 ports. Although it may seem a bit redundant to have both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports on one machine, it opens the door for people to use every USB 3.0-compliant peripheral they want with the next-generation MacBook Pro. Also, with Thunderbolt accessories, particularly external hard drives, still taking a toll on your wallet with expensive prices, a comparable USB 3.0 alternative is now a viable option.

Here are the other notable features of the next-generation MacBook Pro. While there’s no Ethernet port due to its thin chassis, the next-generation MacBook Pro features 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support. It also has Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, so you can connect to all your favorite peripherals wirelessly. There is a front-facing FaceTime HD camera capable of recording video in 720p. There are also built-in dual microphones with “beam forming,” which will be taken advantage of in upcoming, next-generation voice apps.

A Secure Digital media card slot is available for accessing data from your peripherals, such as a digital camera or camcorder. For audio, there are stereo speakers for you to play your favorite songs from iTunes. If you would rather not be disruptive or need to keep the noise down, you can use the headphone port, which supports the Apple iPhone headset, and even its built-in remote and microphone.

The next-generation MacBook Pro will have a full-size backlit keyboard with 78 keys (U.S. version), including 12 function keys and 4 arrow keys in an inverted “T” formation. There is also an ambient light sensor for a backlight that turns on when it gets too dark. The Multi-Touch trackpad supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap and drag capabilities for precise cursor control.

Apple claims that the battery life of the next-generation MacBook Pro is 7 hours on a single charge while using Wi-Fi and up to 30 days in standby mode. While these are impressive numbers, your experience may differ depending on how you run your computer (number of apps running, screen brightness, etc.). If you have access to an electrical outlet, you can use the 85-watt MagSafe 2 power adapter. The MagSafe 2 power port on the next-generation MacBook Pro functions the same way as its predecessor. It’s connected by magnets so when someone is foolish enough to trip over your power cable, your brand-new, next-generation MacBook Pro doesn’t have an unceremonious meeting with the floor.

Unfortunately, the next-generation MacBook Pro will not be shipping out with the much anticipated Mac OS X Mountain Lion. Instead, it’ll come with Mac OS X Lion installed. However, Apple promises anyone who buys a new Mac a free upgrade to Mountain Lion when it’s released next month.

While we have to wait a whole month before we actually get the features of Mac OS X Mountain Lion on our shiny new next-generation MacBook Pros, there are several features we should go over so you know which ones will be beneficial for them. While iCloud’s return was expected, there are a couple of iOS apps coming to Mac OS X. Reminders, Notes, Messages (available as a beta in Lion), Game Center and Notification Center are all coming with Mountain Lion. They also sync with your iOS devices, thanks to iCloud, so you’re always on top of things. Dictation from the new iPad is also making an appearance in Mountain Lion. You can now talk anywhere you would type using Dictation and the built-in microphone.

A brand new feature is Power Nap. When your Mac goes to sleep, it can still periodically update Mail, Contacts, Reminders, Notes, Photo Stream, Find My Mac and Documents in the Cloud. When your new-generation MacBook Pro is connected to a power source, it can also download software updates and make backups with Time Machine. There’s also a Share button throughout Mountain Lion so you can share photos, videos and other files through Mail, Messages, AirDrop and even take advantage of the Facebook and Twitter integration. Gatekeeper helps protect you from malicious apps and keeps your Mac safe.

With Mountain Lion, you’ll be able to mirror your Mac’s screen onto an HDTV via an AppleTV with AirPlay. This is especially useful if you want to share web pages, videos, photos and more without having to crowd around the 15.4” screen. You’ll be able to do it from the comfort of your couch or the more business-oriented classroom. AirPlay also streams audio signals so you can listen to music, podcasts and more through AirPlay-enabled speakers.

Safari also gets an update in Mountain Lion. Now there’s only one simple field for both search terms and web addresses. You can also pinch and swipe like you would on an iPhone or iPad using the Multi-Touch trackpad. Also, web pages you view on your iOS devices become available to you on your MacBook Pro.

The next-generation MacBook Pro is an exciting new addition to the MacBook Pro line. It embodies all the performance of a traditional MacBook Pro, but has a body more similar to that of a MacBook Air. If you were waiting for the perfect time to jump into the Apple craze, now would be it. Just be warned that the Retina display might ruin regular, slightly pixilated video for you. After being spoiled by the incredible graphics, you may find you’ve reached the point of no return and are unable to settle for anything less.

  2.3 GHz 2.6 GHz
Processor 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo boost up to 3.3 GHz)  2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo boost up to 3.6 GHz)
(Configurable to 2.7 GHz with Turbo boost up to 3.7 GHz)
Cache 6.0 MB shared L3 6.0 MB shared L3
Memory 8.0 GB 1600 MHz DDR3L onboard (Configurable to 16 GB) 8.0 GB 1600 MHz DDR3L onboard (Configurable to 16 GB)
Graphics  Intel HD Graphics 4000
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1.0 GB GDDR5 memory, automatic graphics switching
Intel HD Graphics 4000
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1.0 GB GDDR5 memory, automatic graphics switching
Display Retina Retina
Size 15.4" (39.1 cm) 15.4" (39.1 cm)
Backlight LED LED
Finish Anti-glare Anti-glare
Native Resolution 2880 x 1800 (220 pixels/in.) 2880 x 1800 (220 pixels/in.)
Supported Resolutions 1920 x 1200
1680 x 1050
1280 x 800
1024 x 640
1920 x 1200
1680 x 1050
1280 x 800
1024 x 640
Dual Display Yes: Simultaneous support for full native resolution on built-in display plus up to 2560 x 1600 on up to 2 external displays, with millions of colors Yes: Simultaneous support for full native resolution on built-in display plus up to 2560 x 1600 on up to 2 external displays, with millions of colors
Video Mirroring Yes Yes
Storage Flash - 256 GB  Flash - 512 GB (Configurable to 768 GB)
Hard Drive N/A N/A
Optical Drive N/A N/A
Ports 2x Thunderbolt ports (up to 10 Gbps)
2x USB 3.0 ports (up to 5.0 Gbps)
Accepts Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet adapter (sold separately)
Accepts Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter (sold separately, available July)
MagSafe 2 power port
2x Thunderbolt ports (up to 10 Gbps)
2x USB 3.0 ports (up to 5.0 Gbps)
Accepts Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet adapter (sold separately)
Accepts Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter (sold separately, available July)
MagSafe 2 power port
Display Thunderbolt digital video output
HDMI port
Mini DisplayPort output
DVI output via Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter (sold separately)
VGA output via Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter (sold separately)
Dual-link DVI output via Mini DisplayPort to Dual-link DVI adapter (sold separately) 
Thunderbolt digital video output
HDMI port
Mini DisplayPort output
DVI output via Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter (sold separately)
VGA output via Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter (sold separately)
Dual-link DVI output via Mini DisplayPort to Dual-link DVI adapter (sold separately) 
Audio Stereo speakers
Dual microphones
Headphone port: support for Apple iPhone headset with remote and microphone
Support for audio line out
Stereo speakers
Dual microphones
Headphone port: support for Apple iPhone headset with remote and microphone
Support for audio line out
Expansion Slots SDXC card slot  SDXC card slot
Network Gigabit Ethernet (via adapter) Gigabit Ethernet (via adapter)
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11n (IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible) IEEE 802.11n (IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0
Webcam 720p FaceTime HD camera 720p FaceTime HD camera
Operating System OS X Lion (Free upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion) OS X Lion (Free upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion)
Security Not specified by manufacturer Not specified by manufacturer
Keyboard Full-size backlit keyboard with 78 keys, including 12 function keys, 4 arrow keys (inverted T arrangement) with ambient light sensor Full-size backlit keyboard with 78 keys, including 12 function keys, 4 arrow keys (inverted T arrangement) with ambient light sensor
Pointing Device Multi-touch trackpad for precise cursor control
Supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag
Multi-touch trackpad for precise cursor control
Supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag
Battery Built-in 95 Wh lithium-polymer (Up to 7 hr wireless web, up to 30 days standby) Built-in 95 Wh lithium-polymer (Up to 7 hr wireless web, up to 30 days standby)
Power Requirements 85 W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter with cable management system (included)
100-240 VAC, 50 / 60 Hz
85 W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter with cable management system (included)
100-240 VAC, 50 / 60 Hz
Operating Temperature From 50 to 95 deg. F (10-35 deg. C) From 50 to 95 deg. F (10-35 deg. C)
Storage Temperature From -13 to 113 deg. F (-24 to 45 deg. C) From -13 to 113 deg. F (-24 to 45 deg. C)
Relative Humidity 0 - 90% non-condensing 0 - 90% non-condensing
Max. Operating Altitude 10,000' (3,048 m) 10,000' (3,048 m)
Max. Storage Altitude 15,000' (4,572 m) 15,000' (4,572 m)
Max. Shipping Altitude 35,000' (10,668 m) 35,000' (10,668 m)
Compliance Energy Star Version 5.2 Energy Star Version 5.2
Construction Aluminum enclosure Aluminum enclosure
Dimensions (WxHxD) 14.13 x 0.71 x 9.73" (35.9 x 1.8 x 24.7 cm) 14.13 x 0.71 x 9.73" (35.9 x 1.8 x 24.7 cm)
Weight 4.46 lb (2.0 kg) 4.46 lb (2.0 kg)

Add new comment

Well, it finally happened! This was really important and long expected update for MBP.

I hope those who are waiting for MacPro update wont be let down too! Apple - we rely on you!

How will this screen be considering true colors and contrast?

I have jused a MBP 15" with an antiglare screen for 5 yrs. and I am very pleased with the screen when it comes to calibration of colors, contrast and so on..

The new MBP with retina display does not have this option - how will it be to do professional photo-editing on this screen?

I am very dependant on true colors, etc..

Hope somebody can answear me :)

- LM

The screen will be great in terms of color and contrast. It has a higher resolution, higher pixels per inch count and a boost of 29% in contrast over prior screens. The display is also an IPS panel which works great with calibration. Even though it is a glossy screen, due to the nature of it, it does have a reduced glare and a 178 degree viewing angle. 

All in all it will work well for photo-editing.

The glossy screen is a no go for photo editing. the gloss is a show factor of the laptop as an item, flat is much better for image quality. the 29% boost in contrast is for the antistropic reflections in the metal and the glossy glare which lowers image contrast due to visible light interference.

these laptops (of all companies) should have interchangeable led monitors. a crack, spill, bend, or choice of glossy or non glossy even a tech upgrade in 8 to 10 bit depth would be great. the inverter and controller for the lcd should be in the unit as well. (inveter always is)

and the resolution is very good.... for a 27" monitor, not a 13 or 15" it becomes a bit silly. you can't edit at that res, you can watch it to a point.

It completely agree about the resolution.  What is the point for that many pixels if it's only going to be for a 15" screen?  Even for a 27" screen, I think it's a bit overkill... Especially if they're comparing it to a 60" HDTV!

Completely agree.. 

comparing a 60" tv with a 15" monitor is marketing fluff at its finest. No doubt there'll be a difference, but cmon

actually you have it backwards.  anti-glare on screens is accomplished by a coating / film on top of the display, and that coating necessarily impacts image quality.  so whats best is actually a 'gloss' screen in a dim room with no reflections.

as far as the resolution for editing, more resolution is obviously better for editing.  its like saying photos should be printed at 100dpi vs the 1000+dpi we see... when the screen becomes as good as actual photos thats only better for us.

Well written and edited, William. Very informative, engaging, but without fluff.

While a very impressive piece of equipment... Apple just can't seem to get the keyboard right... where's the number pad? I don't see how they can call this a "PROfessional" computer without it!

Ryan, I disagree. I don't like number pads because they make you sit crookedly. For those times when I have to work on my PC, I bought a keyboard that doesn't have a number pad to replace the big, long obnoxious one that came with the computer.  I love my little, simple Mac keyboards.

no. the numpad is essential in doing many types of professional work. not just excel, access, etc, but 3ds (maya for mac) and such. it is a way to really get more done much faster, and remapping is great with a numpad. nsew end-pgup dwn etc... apple never got it right. its expensive laptops for commuters.

I agree that the number pad is a great thing to have and would not consider using any accounting apps without it. On the other hand, there is an external one available and if you are using this at home or if you are even carrying it in a case it is not too much of a problem to plug in a number pad... The keys would have to be so small and the layout so cramped to add a number pad to the 15" computer format... 

Just my 2 cents

Then get an external one. Problem solved ;-)

I strongly disagree with your moment about the number pad, it is essential for me too as a cad user, so again I'll stick with my windows based vaio until Apple wake up to the professional user, not kids trying to be professionals. And the sitting askew comment, that made me laugh..........

GREAT NEW DEVICE !!!

Having formerly been an Apple hater in a former life before waking up to the quality and performance that all Apple users expected, I am pleased to see the excitingly new MacBook Pro with not one, but two, Thunderbolt ports AND a 512GB SSD drive model.  I swithced my current model (the 3rd one I've owned - this one puchased in January 2012) to the OTC 6Gb/s SSD and must say that SSD's are the way to go if you like speed and quality performance.  This exciting new MacBook Pro really appeals to my love for small sized footprints (my one and only reason for selling off my iPad 2 - too big physically and heavy) and yet not lose one ounce of performance.

It's interesting to see that Apple (as has been rumored at all the Mac stores I visit) has abandoned the DVD optical drive.  For me, while the Apple optical drive in all three Mac's I've owned never seemed to function 100% with my heavy load burning applications, in my present one, I simply removed the drive and put in a second OTC 3 Gb/s SSD which gives me nearly a terrabyte of storage on board and use an external blu-ray burner from Pioneer that I picked up for under a $100 . . AND . . thus instead of packing the extra weight in the laptop that I hardly ever used (opting a year ago to go Blu-Ray externally) I have lots more storage.

One downside for me however, I leased my current MacBook Pro and unless I can find a way to get that lease upgraded, I guess I'll have to wait for 2.5 years to get one.  Bummer, cuz new and exciting MacBook Pro looks like the one I been waiting on.

My two older children were brought up on Apple products then went to the Dark side for several years before returning to Apple.  My Pledge Music son now uses all Apple products for professional and personal work.

My two younger children were brought up on the Dark side and still use their products in college.  However after years of using the Dark side's gear my wife went to the new Mac Book Pro custom built a few months ago that is current to the new models.  We all use laptops and all had one gig or two gig N-vidna cards and none compare with the new Mac Book Pro,  The new non glare screen is amazing to use in any lighted enviornment.  I am getting ready to order a new Mac Book Pro for my use and after using my wife's new Mac Book Pro there was no doubt in my mind it was the better choice in fact a no brainer.

We have never had one ounce of trouble, not one problem with the Apple computers but I can not say the same for the I phone.  Not that it is not the better choice but we both have had to swap out out earlier I phones several times.

Our youngest son is in a university pre med program and he chose a new Asus laptop with a 2 gig video card by N-Vidia and we have had several problems with the display and the drivers . 

My wife who is also in a pre-med program and makes good use of her Mac Book Pro whose display rules over the 2 gig N-Vidia Asus laptop from the Dark side.