(Very) Arguably the best thing about Monday’s WWDC 2012 keynote was the announcement of the New MacBook Pro. In the scant few days since the announcement, I’ve heard mixed reactions ranging from hot anticipation to sheer boredom with this new version. Either way, Apple is pretty clearly melding its product lines, and indeed iOS touches definitely showed up more prominently in OS X, and the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro seemed to have gotten together and had a baby in this, the all-new, supermodel-skinny New MacBook Pro.
Lightweight, with a leaner profile and flash drive (not to mention lack of optical drive), the new Pro is definitely a mashup of the two laptop models, but with two important upgrades: Beasty internals and even beastier-looking display. Looks like the iPhone/iPad had a hand in things, offering up their Retina Display tech to this lovechild.
The dissection of Apple’s latest is only just beginning at this point, but the question is — should you start saving up now to get it? After all, $2,199 to $2,799 is a chunk of change, and it’s not an easy decision. As it tends to be with tech purchases, the right answer for you clearly depends on what kind of user you are. Here are four scenarios on both sides of the fence.
Get the New MacBook Pro if…
You’re a HD connoisseur. That Retina display will be more high-def than an HDTV. For die-hard HD fans, that alone will make this purchase worthwhile. The new Pro will be a feast for the eyes, with 5 million+ pixels and 2880×1800 resolution. If you regularly deal with iPhoto, iMovie, Aperture and Final Cut Pro X, the fact that these were optimized for the new display is something to strongly consider. And, since Apple says the resolution will make type look better than a printed page, this could seriously make love to your eyeballs.
You live and breathe media — and have a luscious big screen to watch it on. It’s the first Apple laptop with an HDMI port. That’s right, no more screwing around with adapters, this puppy’s got compatibility baked right in.
You’re a road warrior. Again, this one alone might make the expense worthwhile for some people, particularly those interested in shaving some bulk and weight off their shoulders. It’s almost three-quarters of an inch thick, putting it on par with the Air. And despite the beefier specs, it’s just 4.5 pounds — way less than the 5.6 pounds of the comparably sized standard MacBook Pro that was just announced.
You constantly make system resources beg for mercy. Multitaskers know the pain of constant crashes or insufferable system slowdowns. Some users will find this purchase worthwhile, just to banish them. The new Pro not only supports up to 768GB flash storage, but its 8GB RAM is upgradeable to a whopping 16 GB.
Pass on the New MacBook Pro if…
1280 resolution still looks pretty good to you. If 2880×1800 resolution seems like overkill to you, just to watch a few YouTube vids, then you can probably do without the Retina Display without feeling deprived. (And if you go for the standard Pro, the 1280×800 and 1440×900 will still deliver beautiful clarity.)
You don’t want to give up physical DVDs. This one’s a no-brainer. There’s no optical drive here. Of course, you could just pick up an external SuperDrive, but that would add $79 to the bill (plus some clutter to your desk). If you’re really attached to DVDs, then you might consider it. Or, in light of the fact that Apple is pushing flash storage, iTunes and cloud streaming pretty hard, you may want to reconsider getting in deep with this eco-system for now.
Your current computer is fairly new. While early adopters and serious tech heads may have no hesitation about upgrading all the time (wallet willing), that doesn’t mean you’re horribly behind if you don’t get the very newest or most buzzed-about product on day one. An upgrade cycle of every two years (or even longer) is much more common, so if you bought your current laptop within that timeframe and you’re doing well with it, you might as well save yourself some coin.
You’re watching your pennies. Speaking of budget, one of the biggest complaints about Apple computers is the price. It’s worth noting that the New Pro is $300 cheaper than an old Pro spec’ed out almost the same way, but spec for spec, you could get a nearly comparable PC for far less money than Apple’s $2,000+ price tag. There’s also another downside — while you can save some upgrades for later with a PC or even the older Pro, it’s a no-go with the New Pro. Things like RAM are glued or soldered on in the new version.
So now, with the arguments out of the way, tell us — what are your plans? Are you picking up a New MacBook Pro, holding off for now or passing it by completely? Is it due to one of the reasons above, or something else? Share in the comments below.