MacBook “Pro” Retina Impressions – Take 2


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I appreciate the commentary that I received in response to my list of 10 things that I dislike about my new Retina. I’d hate to put more fuel into the fire, but I figured some of this feedback needs clarification:

  1. I spent three of the last four weeks away from home on three different continents. When I say I need “Pro” features, I don’t mean I need to use my laptop at home or at Starbucks, doing web development, I mean I need to carry everything with me at all times as a mobile business professional. Removing features from a laptop only for those features to be added back in in the form of adaptors makes no sense to me, and it is frankly more things for me to carry in a separate bag, and more weight and space. And I am not some special person, there are a ton of mobile professionals out there.
  2. You may not need to watch DVDs any more, because you are using Netflix or youTube to watch stuff in your leisure time, but as a “Pro” user, I still need to have that ability on the road. And no, I don’t want to carry an external CD player. And no, I don’t watch DVDs at home myself either. I stream Netflix.
  3. The suggestion to use an iPhone as a presentation remote is simply impractical. Do you think I’d make it through my first one hundred slides without an insane amount of fiddling with the phone in front of a lot of people?
  4. Wireless is simply not good enough on the road. Unfortunately, your own controlled experiences in your own home with your own 802.11n do not extrapolate to the rest of the world. When you are connected to someone else’s router on the road and it is guaranteed to be, it does not matter whether you have 802.11n, because they simply don’t. Even if they had it, try moving 40 gigs over shared wireless. I simply don’t have hours. Oh, yeah sure, I can do it with an external disk that I also need to carry around the globe.
  5. When I say “Dude, where is my 17?” with a self acknowledged healthy dose of sarcasm, I don’t mean to suggest that I did not know that the box did not include a 17″, I meant that that option is no longer available. And the existing non-retina 15″ is on its way out with a single SKU remaining. And frankly, paying exactly what I paid for my last 17″, and just having a “stripped down” (your are entitled to your own opinion) 15″ machine with Retina is one of the main sources of my bitterness. The ~$500 premium on that machine is corporate greed in my opinion (and once again you are entitled to yours), something I thought I never would say for Apple.
  6. To the person who suggested that 15″ Retina has the best audio ever, go check the size of speakers in a iFixit teardown. They are tiny. And they sound tiny, because that’s what they are. Physics, not opinion, prevail in how much and how good a sound you get out of those tiny speakers.
  7. To anyone that never saw a quarter sized full screen video on the Retina, try wimp.com. Yep.

I get it. You love your Retina. It is slimmer, higher resolution, sounds wonderful, etc. I have been buying nothing but Macs since 1985, and I am as much of a Mac person as anyone, and I have been on that side of the fence for most of my life. But, yet I don’t love this machine, not because I don’t like sexy aluminum or high resolution, etc., but because I hate the trade-offs that Apple is making in the attributes of the machine.

But perhaps we are all collectively saying the same thing. It works great if you are using it in a controlled environment like your own home and at Starbucks, doing web browsing, development, Netflix and such. You are on the sweet side of that trade-off. But this is a bitter (pun intended) compromise at least for this mobile professional. Peace out.

The first article of this is here.

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