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06/24/12 Why I won’t be purchasing a New Macbookpro 15″ with Retina Display==for a while :-)

After really looking over the new Apple macbookpro 15″ laptop, with the retina display, I have decided to wait on my purchase.  I have read over 12 reviews of the new machine and they are all very positive, however I am starting to see a pattern of possible issues with the new technology.  I have listed a few of these here.

    1. All or nothing, you have to get what you want when you purchase it, as there are no possible upgrades.  In the past, you were able to upgrade: memory and hard drives after the purchase.  So for a machine of this caliber, I would have to order it with at least a 500GB hard drive and 16GB of ram which takes the price point to over 3K, before sales tax. (note, with Apple, you can’t purchase from the Apple website or local Apple store without paying sales tax)  There are other options like BH photo, but for this class of machine I wanted to purchase it from Apple mainly for support after the sale.
    2. Cost, did I mention this already?  You are looking at $3,400.00 for a machine that will work for a good imaging processor (16GB of ram, 500GB hard drive)
    3. There is no way to have a 2nd hard drive installed now.  In my current 15″ macbookpro which was the last generation, I have a 256 SSD as my boot drive and moved the stock 765GB hard drive to where the optical drive was installed.  I like this as I run both Win7 and Mac OS on this machine. You need a common drive, so you can easily move data between the two environments (BTW this is true even you have Parallels or VM ware running).  I have the 765GB drive formatted as FAT 32 which allows me to move the data easily between the two.
    4. Resolution of the 15″ at 2880 x 1800, is going to cause some issues for my 53 year old eyes.  Plus is seems for some reason that many current applications are not friendly with the highest resolution setting.  This causes scaling and other issues.  Most external monitors like the NEC 3090 30″ or NEC PA271w only support 2560 x 1600 so this high setting will not be used.
    5. I have realized that for my workflow, a 15″ monitor is not enough real estate for me.  The 17″ screen gives me just enough space to get things done, but I still prefer at least a 27″ screen.

  1. I am still not sure just how well the retina will profile for real world use.  I know that it looks great to the eye, but just how well will those colors profile out and also print?
  2. Cost, did I mention it’s just a bit too expensive, just kidding
  3. There are still only (2) USB ports.  I realize that they are now USB 3, but I would still have liked to have (3) USB ports setup at 2 on one side and 1 on the other.  I can count the “real” thunderbolt products on both of my hands.  I am not really in need of 2 thunderbolt ports.  Thunderbolt items I have looked at are on average 2x sometimes 3x the price point of USB 3.  As I am both a win7 desktop user and Macbookpro/macbookair user I need to be able to hook up external drives between these machines and thunderbolt as we all know will only work on the macbookpros.
  4. No more firewire port.  I use the firewire to tether to my Phase One back.  This was an issue on the Macbook air as it only had USB 2 and thunderbolt ports.  Phase One is “still working” on the ability to use USB 3 to tether to a laptop/desktop.  The IQ backs were announced almost 2 years ago, and Phase One has still not added via firmware the ability to tether via USB 3.

Not all is bad:  Please don’t get me wrong.

I love the new size, and could over time get over not having two internal hard drives since there is now highspeed USB 3.  This will allow the use the Western Digital or Seagate USB 3 external drives and a very high data rate.  It’s still up to the reviewers to see if the Apple USB 3 runs at a true high speed rate or not.  So far the reviews I have seen are mixed on this issue.  But more than likely Apple will fix this with firmware in the future.  I feel the perceived value of the new retina display is more than it really offers.  I am a very visual person being a photographer by trade.  But next time you are by an Apple store go by and look at the 15″ retine at full resolution and see if you can read it from any distance.  It’s a very hard screen to read when text is involved.  Yes you scale it, but that seems to distract from the overall look.  I know many applications will eventually make changes that will allow you to use the 15″ screen better, but this is a ways out.

Hopefully, by the 4th quarter of 2012, the current 15″ macbookpro will take a price reduction which will make it a bit more easy to swallow and many of the screen resolution issues will have been resolved.  Plus there is always the day after Thanksgiving when Apple tends to have a 1 day sale where most items are 10% off.