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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > New Retina Macbook Pros

New Retina Macbook Pros
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Oct 23, 2013, 09:56 AM
 
Did everyone miss these? Anyway, to sum it up:

13" moves to Haswell dualcores, 2.4 or 2.6 GHz i5 with room for 500 MHz more in turbo boost. It appears to be the hilariously named i5-4258U and i5-4288U, which makes the graphics "Iris 5100" running at 1.1 GHz max turbo. This is only 100 MHz higher than the MBA, but indeed the TDP is higher so they can probably stay at max turbo for longer. In general, Apple has not gone all out on the battery saving this time - it's regular LDDR3 and not LP-DDR3 like the MBA. Base version is still only 4 GB RAM, but OTOH they dropped the price by $200, so I'll give them a pass on that.

15" is quadcores only, and actually get a worse battery life. It's the i7-4750HQ and i7-4850HQ with the full Iris Pro graphics. You still have discrete graphics (Geforce 750M, minor clock boost from the 650M in current one) on the top model, which is amusing as those two chips are essentially equals. I would have expected something like a 760M at least if they were going to keep offering discrete graphics. The combination of Iris Pro and 760M is also strange - wouldn't it be smarter to drop to the cheapest integrated GPU you can find if you're offering a discrete option anyway?

Very strange. If you're going to offer the Iris Pro, better to go all the way and use that space for more battery instead of an MXM. If you want to offer discrete, make it a substantial upgrade with a GK106M or even GK104M chip.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 23, 2013, 09:59 AM
 
You cannot increase the storage on the two lower-end 13-inch machines. And they did not release any with traditional hard drives. Not sure what I'm going to do, as the latter was what I wanted.
     
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Oct 23, 2013, 02:07 PM
 
I think you can abandon any hope for a traditional HDD in retina models.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 25, 2013, 11:29 AM
 
What I really want is an ultra low power, lower compute power machine in a smaller form factor than the Pro.

There are supply chain rumours out there stating that Apple is moving toward 12" Retina screens, perhaps a replacement for the Airs. While, the new 13" Retina would be good for me, it's still a bit too big for my tastes. I haven't gone with the Airs because the screens suck for viewing angles, and because I hate their high-but-not-Retina resolutions. OS X wasn't optimized for them, and hence text on them is really small.

The perfect solution would be to go Retina, but with a larger text size for native resolutions. Those who don't mind smaller text sizes can use non-native resolutions, which is fine on Retina because non-native still looks good. The current Airs have pixel densities of 135 and 128 respectively, but I much prefer the 113 of the non-Retina MacBook Pro.

By my calculations, if Apple were to release a 2304x1440 Retina MacBook at 12" (or 11.97"), it would be exactly the same pixel density as the 13" Retina, which is 227 ppi, equivalent to a non-Retina pixel density of 113. Exactly.

In other words, a 12" Retina could use the exact same display technology as the 13" Retina, making manufacturing costs a bit cheaper.. We know that the displays in the current Airs are inferior, and many attribute that to cost. It's true that cheaper displays cost less, but then again it should be noted that the $500 iPads have awesome Retina screens with great viewing angles, so there should not be any real barrier to putting a high quality screen in a 2014 12" MacBook.

I don't need the compute power of the Pro, nor do I need the 1 TB SSD options, etc, so something like this would be perfect for me:

12" Retina screen at 2304x1440 (227 ppi)
1.4 GHz Core i5 dual-core Haswell with a TDP 15 W
Intel Iris HD 5000
     
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Oct 25, 2013, 03:50 PM
 
It's 1 inch you're talking about. Why do you like 12" and not 13" (from the guy who used to help design 12" Powerbooks)?

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Oct 25, 2013, 07:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
15" is quadcores only, and actually get a worse battery life. It's the i7-4750HQ and i7-4850HQ with the full Iris Pro graphics. You still have discrete graphics (Geforce 750M, minor clock boost from the 650M in current one) on the top model, which is amusing as those two chips are essentially equals. I would have expected something like a 760M at least if they were going to keep offering discrete graphics. The combination of Iris Pro and 760M is also strange - wouldn't it be smarter to drop to the cheapest integrated GPU you can find if you're offering a discrete option anyway?
The 750M offering may be motivated by the dedicated 2GB VRAM for texture-heavy users.

But yea, 4900MQ would give them +500Mhz on base clock and +2MB L2$ at the same TDP rather than getting GT3e in the 4850MQ.
     
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Oct 26, 2013, 08:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
The 750M offering may be motivated by the dedicated 2GB VRAM for texture-heavy users.

But yea, 4900MQ would give them +500Mhz on base clock and +2MB L2$ at the same TDP rather than getting GT3e in the 4850MQ.
Choosing the 750M is a bit uncharacteristic of them. It seems to be almost a sop to nVidia, that they keep them in the line and not go Intel only. If Apple wanted to make a machine for texture-heavy users, or gamers, or just anyone who want graphics power, they should put in at least a 760M.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 26, 2013, 08:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I haven't gone with the Airs because the screens suck for viewing angles, and because I hate their high-but-not-Retina resolutions.
I get that the pixel densities are high (and we've discussed that before), but the viewing angles are excellent on my 2011 MBA. Did Apple change displays?
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 27, 2013, 02:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I get that the pixel densities are high (and we've discussed that before), but the viewing angles are excellent on my 2011 MBA. Did Apple change displays?
Compare it side by side against a MacBook Pro or even an iPad. Not even in the same league.

However, it may possibly be a little bit of a lottery I dunno. Apple uses multiple LCD panel manufacturers for their Airs, but the friends' ones I've played with and the ones I checked out in-store all sucked.

Better than my $399 Acer laptop I'll admit, but that laptop sets the bar really low. I'd expect much more from a $1000 machine.

Originally Posted by ibook_steve View Post
It's 1 inch you're talking about. Why do you like 12" and not 13" (from the guy who used to help design 12" Powerbooks)?
The 13.3" feels a LOT more awkward sizewise than the 11.6". Going to a 12" Retina would be a great compromise.

Plus the 13.3" Pro Retina is heavier than I was hoping for at 3.5 lb, and I've already said I don't like the displays on the much lighter Airs.

The 13.3" Retina is a great machine no doubt, but it is still more designed as a workhorse rather than for ultra portability. In 2013, I value portability and battery life much more than CPU performance, for my on-the-road usage.

I am hopeful the iPad Air is a sign of things to come for Mac laptops.
( Last edited by Eug; Oct 27, 2013 at 02:57 AM. )
     
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Oct 27, 2013, 10:53 AM
 
The next MBP should have an Intel chip with an A.X (e.g., A7) co-processor. I remember when Macs were advertised as having a math co-processor before.
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Oct 27, 2013, 03:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Compare it side by side against a MacBook Pro or even an iPad. Not even in the same league.
The brightness starts to go wonky when you're really far off the center, but it doesn't go pink like many cheap displays do. Yes the iPad is better, but I've never been annoyed by it before - I have to really start turning it to see the change, it's not enough to just move my head while remaining seated.

Originally Posted by mindwaves
The next MBP should have an Intel chip with an A.X (e.g., A7) co-processor. I remember when Macs were advertised as having a math co-processor before.
Motorola integrated the math co-processor into the CPU with the 68040, which Apple began using in (I had to look this up) 1991. Now, I'm all for reminiscing about the past, but this is more than 20 years ago. Apple used 68030 processors in lower-end models a few years more, and they did something funky with DSPs just before the PPC switch, but still: loooong time ago.

Why should Apple put the A7 there - it's not better than the Haswell at any single task? All it does is use less power at full blast, so the one thing it could do is some sort of big.LITTLE setup where the weaker core works in standby and the stronger core comes online as needed. That requires the two chips to use the same ISA, though, and that won't ever happen (Intel won't use ARM, and Apple doesn't have the required license to use x86 on its chips).
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 28, 2013, 10:59 AM
 
Maybe the 2014 MacBook Air will use Sharp's IGZO display tech.

If so, that will have the high resolution that Retina demands, and still be thin and light, since IGZO displays use much less power.

Mind you, the iPad Air is IPS, and Apple still managed to make it super light and thin while maintaining good battery life.
     
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Oct 28, 2013, 02:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
The 13.3" feels a LOT more awkward sizewise than the 11.6". Going to a 12" Retina would be a great compromise.
I find the 11.6" MacBook Air way too small and crammed. I used to own and love 2 12" iBooks (and I had a 12" PowerBook at work), and the size was great. But there, the screen was more squarish (4:3 instead of 16:10). I don't see the rationale behind merging the 11.6" and 13.3" models to a single unit.
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Plus the 13.3" Pro Retina is heavier than I was hoping for at 3.5 lb, and I've already said I don't like the displays on the much lighter Airs.

The 13.3" Retina is a great machine no doubt, but it is still more designed as a workhorse rather than for ultra portability. In 2013, I value portability and battery life much more than CPU performance, for my on-the-road usage.
That puts you square into the MacBook Air camp.
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I am hopeful the iPad Air is a sign of things to come for Mac laptops.
Yes, of course: it makes room for a larger iPad Pro (or whatever it will be called) which focuses on power rather than weight.

Apple's notebooks have clear focuses: the Air line is designed to maximize battery life and minimize weight. If you look at how Apple designs machines, it's pretty clear that they have a clear idea about the targets they want to hit: Apple could design an iPad with twice the battery life, but instead, they opt to make it lighter while maintaining the same 10 hours of battery life. They're doing the same with their notebooks: the 13" Retina Pro got a little lighter, because they changed the internals a bit (e. g. there is only a single bigger fan instead of two smaller fans).

Of course, we all want Reina displays standard on all Macs with no impact on battery life, but to make that into reality will take some time.
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Maybe the 2014 MacBook Air will use Sharp's IGZO display tech.

If so, that will have the high resolution that Retina demands, and still be thin and light, since IGZO displays use much less power.

Mind you, the iPad Air is IPS, and Apple still managed to make it super light and thin while maintaining good battery life.
But there are also supply constraints: case in point is the lack of Touch ID on the new iPads. That's a clear sign that Apple can't make them fast enough or hadn't had the engineering resources to put that into the new iPads.
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Oct 28, 2013, 03:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Apple's notebooks have clear focuses: the Air line is designed to maximize battery life and minimize weight. If you look at how Apple designs machines, it's pretty clear that they have a clear idea about the targets they want to hit: Apple could design an iPad with twice the battery life, but instead, they opt to make it lighter while maintaining the same 10 hours of battery life. They're doing the same with their notebooks: the 13" Retina Pro got a little lighter, because they changed the internals a bit (e. g. there is only a single bigger fan instead of two smaller fans).

Of course, we all want Reina displays standard on all Macs with no impact on battery life, but to make that into reality will take some time.
Yeah Retina would be great across the line, but that's not even what I've been pining for in the past. I've stated in the past I just wanted a better quality screen and a more appropriate pixel density. Apple really sacrificed a lot in the Airs for the screens there, which are at best mediocre, despite the fact they're $1000 machines.

As for taking time for Retina, I'm thinking 2014 is OK for the MacBook Air or some other new MacBook, and I'm willing to take the chance and wait since my current MacBook Pro 13" is fast enough for what I need it to do. The screen is superior to the Airs' but it's main problem is the weight.

The point I was making about the iPad Air is they managed to put an uber high rez (Retina) IPS screen into a $500 Air, yet still managed to have it much thinner and lighter than the previous models, while at the same time faster with good battery life.

P.S. I wonder if CPU Mark is at all representative as a gauge for regular usage.

The 1.3 GHz Core i5 4250U in the current MacBook Air gets 3586.
The 2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo P8400 in the 2008 MacBook Pro gets 1465.

But there are also supply constraints: case in point is the lack of Touch ID on the new iPads. That's a clear sign that Apple can't make them fast enough or hadn't had the engineering resources to put that into the new iPads.
I wonder if it is due to cost in large part. For me at least, TouchID would be welcome on an iPad, but at the same time a lot less necessary than on an iPhone.
( Last edited by Eug; Oct 28, 2013 at 03:16 PM. )
     
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Oct 28, 2013, 05:00 PM
 
It would be the most awesome on an iPad if it were tied to user logins.
     
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Oct 28, 2013, 05:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
It would be the most awesome on an iPad if it were tied to user logins.
Yup. But it's moot right now since iOS 7 doesn't support multiple logins anyway... which is kinda lame in 2013.
     
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Oct 28, 2013, 09:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Yeah Retina would be great across the line, but that's not even what I've been pining for in the past. I've stated in the past I just wanted a better quality screen and a more appropriate pixel density. Apple really sacrificed a lot in the Airs for the screens there, which are at best mediocre, despite the fact they're $1000 machines.
You're right, an IPS panel would be better, and given the price, it wouldn't be out of the question. I'm wondering what the reason may be (do IPS panels consume more energy?).
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
The point I was making about the iPad Air is they managed to put an uber high rez (Retina) IPS screen into a $500 Air, yet still managed to have it much thinner and lighter than the previous models, while at the same time faster with good battery life.
The problem is that price of the panels does not scale with the area. I don't know the scaling factor for lcds, but I know it quite well for camera sensors: an full frame sensor which has roughly twice the area costs ten times as much to produce (~$500 vs. ~$50). Again, I don't know the scaling factors here, but it seems to me that this may be the reason why we don't see Airs with IPS panels -- yet. However, given the fact that lcd assemblies for 13" Retina MacBook Pros go for $300~$400, the prices should be lower for lower-res versions.
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
P.S. I wonder if CPU Mark is at all representative as a gauge for regular usage.

The 1.3 GHz Core i5 4250U in the current MacBook Air gets 3586.
The 2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo P8400 in the 2008 MacBook Pro gets 1465.
That's accurate*: when the Sandybridge Airs debuted in 2011, the slowest Air was about as fast as the fastest 2010 15" MacBook Pro. And they were significantly faster in io bound tasks since the 2010 Pros came with a traditional spinning platter hard drive rather than an SSD.

* Of course, the standard caveats for benchmarks apply.
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Oct 29, 2013, 06:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
P.S. I wonder if CPU Mark is at all representative as a gauge for regular usage.

The 1.3 GHz Core i5 4250U in the current MacBook Air gets 3586.
The 2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo P8400 in the 2008 MacBook Pro gets 1465.
The base clockspeed is almost completely irrelevant for those chips when the max turbo is so high. The max turbo on the 4250U is 2.6 GHz for a single core and 2.3 GHz for both cores, and it stays there most of the time it's actually doing something. The P8400 actually has some turbo as well, even if Intel didn't come up with that brand for it until the next generation, and can reach 2.4 Ghz on a single core. In effect the two chips have equal clockspeeds, which makes me question those benchmark numbers - Intel has not more than doubled the IPC since Penryn - but the MBA IS significantly faster.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 6, 2013, 08:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Of course, we all want Reina displays standard on all Macs with no impact on battery life, but to make that into reality will take some time.
DisplayMate is claiming the iPad Air is using IGZO.

Flagship Tablet Display Technology Shoot-Out

The iPad Air has mostly incremental but still significant improvements over the excellent 3rd and 4th generation iPad displays. Compared to the 4th generation, the screen Reflectance decreased by 23 percent, the Peak Brightness increased by 7 percent, and the Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light increased by 32 percent – all good. Absolute Color Accuracy and Image Contrast fidelity are very good (but somewhat below the Kindle Fire) and are discussed in detail below. The emphasis for the iPad Air is in reduced size, thickness, and weight. The most important under the hood display improvement is the switch from a-Si amorphous Silicon LCDs up to a much higher performance IGZO LCD backplane, which was discussed in our iPad 3 Display Shoot-Out article last year. The switch to IGZO produces an impressive 57 percent improvement in display power efficiency from previous Retina Display iPads – so the iPad Air doesn’t get uncomfortably warm like the earlier iPads.

Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Maybe the 2014 MacBook Air will use Sharp's IGZO display tech.

If so, that will have the high resolution that Retina demands, and still be thin and light, since IGZO displays use much less power.
I don't know enough about display technology to believe it or to be skeptical about it, but If that iPad Air IGZO claim is true, then that bodes well for my mythical 12" Retina IGZO MacBook, sooner rather than later. IOW, next refresh.

BTW, they call the iPad Air's display an IPS display with an IGZO backplane:

9.7 inch
IPS / FFS LCD
IGZO Backplane


Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Mind you, the iPad Air is IPS, and Apple still managed to make it super light and thin while maintaining good battery life.
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
But there are also supply constraints: case in point is the lack of Touch ID on the new iPads. That's a clear sign that Apple can't make them fast enough or hadn't had the engineering resources to put that into the new iPads.
With my very limited knowledge about displays, I previously thought IPS and IGZO were mutually exclusive and the fact that Apple called it "IPS" on their webpage meant it wasn't IGZO, but I guess I am mistaken.
( Last edited by Eug; Nov 6, 2013 at 08:52 AM. )
     
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Nov 8, 2013, 09:42 AM
 
How bad is the performance hit for the dual core in the 13" vs the quad core in the 15"?
I do lots of virtual machine work (servers) and development.

Also: How bad are the new Intel graphics?
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Nov 8, 2013, 09:45 AM
 
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
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Nov 9, 2013, 01:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
DisplayMate is claiming the iPad Air is using IGZO.
In principle, you're raising a very good point: if Apple would invest as much resources into the development of the Macs and were faced with the same level of competition, I'm sure we would have had higher-quality panels in MacBook Airs. But if you look at the problems Apple's suppliers have with display product, it's clear that they are really, really pushing the envelope and that iOS devices are a clear priority.

So in the end, I think you can find reasons why IPS panels haven't appeared in MacBook Airs, but in the end I want an IPS panel as well in my notebook as well, as simple as that. They're just better, and I think if you don't insist on top-of-the-line IGZO displays, I think there are options out there -- especially considering the volume Apple makes its machines in.
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Nov 9, 2013, 01:14 PM
 
Economies of scale work very differently when you're on different orders of magnitude.
     
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Nov 9, 2013, 02:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Economies of scale work very differently when you're on different orders of magnitude.
It's not just economy of scale, it's also setting priorities in development and such: there is no pressure to incorporate IPS panels in the MacBook Airs, just have a look at the rave reviews they receive. But Apple faces stiff competition in the tablet market where 7~8" Android tablets did have an edge when it came to screen resolution and such. Apple was forced to push hard here. The iPad Air increased the relevance of 10" tablets as well.
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Nov 10, 2013, 09:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
It's not just economy of scale, it's also setting priorities in development and such: there is no pressure to incorporate IPS panels in the MacBook Airs, just have a look at the rave reviews they receive.
Yeah, if a review gives the MacBook Air screen a rave review, I immediately know the reviewer is completely clueless. However, some reviews do indeed comment on the mediocre quality of the MacBook Air screen, so it's definitely known out there. I guess the thing is though if you look at the Air's screen straight on, it does actually look pretty decent. However, as soon as you go off-axis, the quality plummets.

I was in the Apple Store yesterday. Normally they had the Airs and the Pros on separate tables IIRC, but yesterday I saw them side-by-side on a table up against the wall. Looking at them side-by-side really emphasized just how poor the viewing angles are on the Air's screens in comparison.

BTW, there are other technologies besides IPS that look very good. I personally don't care what technology it is, as long as it is Retina and looks good (and has good battery life, and is decently priced, etc.).
     
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Nov 10, 2013, 04:30 PM
 
I don't think anyone gives the MBA displays rave reviews, but the entire computer is so great that it's still the recommended buy. And while the display is not great, it's far from the bottom of the barrel - it's average, plain and simple.

I suspect that the MBA is due for a redesign, though - with Mavericks, the 13" reportedly gets 15 hours of battery life. That's far beyond the point where the tradeoffs are worth it, so I think we'll see an even lighter model. That's the point where we should hope for an IPS display as well.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 10, 2013, 07:01 PM
 
Agreed, it's average. However, two things.

1. The really low end ones are on really low end Windows laptops, like the $400 Acers.
2. Sub-$500 tablets are getting Retina IPS screens. So, high quality screens are now the mainstream.

So, I agree, 2014 is the Air's redesign. However, I'm wondering how they'll do it, and price them. Cuz if they do add a high quality Retina screen with a similar form factor - just fewer ports and a low-power CPU, then for many people the Pro will become completely irrelevant if the Air is much cheaper. Thus, it may make sense to make it a 12" Air only.

Then again, maybe not.
     
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Nov 11, 2013, 03:26 AM
 
I don't think they'll go Retina - I think they'll keep the Airs on regular resolution when they move to IPS, just make them even thinner.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 11, 2013, 07:19 AM
 
There's a lot of overlap between the 13" Air and 13" Retina MBP How to choose: 13-inch MacBook Air vs. 13-inch retina MacBook Pro | Ars Technica
     
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Nov 11, 2013, 12:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Yeah, if a review gives the MacBook Air screen a rave review, I immediately know the reviewer is completely clueless.
The reviews I have in mind don't necessarily rave about the screen, but about the whole package (i. e. the combination of weight, battery life and overall quality). I think Anandtech's review hits the nail on the head:
Originally Posted by Anandtech
To hit an aggressive schedule, you have to mitigate risk. In the case of the 2013 MBAs, Apple kept the chassis spec unchanged in order to do just that. As a result, the displays too, remained unchanged. We’re talking about TN panels (admittedly higher quality than most) and traditional pixel densities. Compared to the Retina Displays deployed across the rest of Apple’s product lines, these panels just aren’t as good. Compared to what you typically find elsewhere, they’re still among the best.
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
BTW, there are other technologies besides IPS that look very good. I personally don't care what technology it is, as long as it is Retina and looks good (and has good battery life, and is decently priced, etc.).
You want so many things at once, I don't think you can satisfy all of them. Right now, the price gap between the 13" Air and the 13" Retina is $100, i. e. rather small in my opinion. I think it'll take 2-3 years to make a Retina Air viable (although I hope I'm wrong and they have one sooner )
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