First Thoughts and Impressions on the New MacBook Pro

There she sits.

It’s been one full workday with the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display and my initial reactions are matching quite nicely with my expectations that I shared in this post a few weeks ago.

It’s got style, class, and enough power to do anything that I need it to do (and then some). Of course, it does such simple things as  publishing and word processing and the like, but that’s not why you buy one of these things, right?

I’ll admit that there have been a few disappointments, the biggest one being the fact that only browser that renders cleanly is Safari – the other two major players, Chrome and Firefox, still haven’t released publicly their production-ready builds. You can download the developer version which works but most people aren’t capable of doing that.

Take a look at these two different screens:

Safari on the left, Chrome on the right.

It’s not a deal breaker, for sure, but it’s a bummer as it’s so beautiful to look at the web rendered on a retina display! In due time the official release will be out and the world will be a better place.

The other features listed out on the Apple store page seem to be holding true so there’s no point in expressing much of an opinion on those things but the bottom-line for me is that I’m still going to keep my MacBook Air as my defacto standard for online publishing and the reason why is still ultra mobility.

I won’t have a problem taking this thing on the road with me but my personal workflow won’t change so why add another pound and a half? As a result you’ll see me hugging this thing on the road as I take it with me for work.

The question, then, is whether or not I’m going to keep this or not and I’m still very much on the fence. I teased the idea of taking it back and then jumped over the fence feeling like I never want to let it go – thankfully I’ve got a little more time to return it so I’m not worried about that.

What would you do if you were me? Keep it or return it?

  • Moe_NYC

    Personally, I would keep it. I have a MacBook Air as my main machine, so I get the idea of portability and such. However, I approach Retina displays like the mythology men who approached Medusa. Make sure you never look at her… ever! Because once you look at a retina display (be it iOS or Macbook), you heart turns into stone and you end up taking one home.

    Good luck!

    • Ben Terry

      This comment is amazing.

  • Geekfori

    If the Macbook Air works for your needs, take it back and take the Family on a vacation!

    Or send me your Macbook Air!

    • Ben Terry

      This is a great idea. Except I would argue the Macbook Air be sent to me :)

  • @ThatGuyKC

    I’m going to counter Moe here with practicality. Do you really need retina display on the MBP? That’s a pretty hefty chunk of change for a first gen uber MBP. I’ve read other reviews and listened to some podcasts and their argument was that unless you’re doing a lot of video/image editing, this machine is a bit of an overkill.

    Ask yourself the economy question: what’s the opportunity cost? what else would you spend the money on?

    • Ben Terry

      These are great questions…And if I had the MBP Retina Display I don’t know I would want to ask those hard questions since I would be to apt to want to keep it haha.

    • Moe_NYC

      I completely disagree. Have you ever tried to go from an iPhone 4 or later to an iPhone 3G? If I did, I would puke on myself. When you see the web in high definition, you do not want to go back. I think the issue today is that not too many sites are retina ready (graphic-wise), so today, that may be feasible. But I would be a fool to say that this is not where the industry is heading. When other companies are trying to compete on ram and chips, Apple pulled the rug under them and focused on the display… which happens to be the thing that you spend much of your time looking at while you are sitting in front of your computer (average 8+ hours a day).

      I pulled up my blog on a Retina Mac on the Apple store and though my graphics were a bit blurry, the text was incredibly beautiful. If you have any appreciation for typography you can’t go back to a regular Mac.

      As for the economy question? That will always be a personal decision.

      You can say you don’t want to pay for a Retina display mac because you don’t have the cash. I get that. But to say that it’s not significant or worth it, you would be very wrong.

      *this coming with a previous generation Macbook Air user who loves his machine, but is tempted by the adulteress Macbook with retina display

  • Michael Buckingham

    I’d take it back. They seem to share so much in common, if you don’t need the added power of the Retina version, seems it wouldn’t get used. For me, I went back and forth as I needed a new machine. I landed on the Retina version as I still spend plenty of time in Adobe CS and need the add power, which I wouldn’t get as much of from the Air. And for me I’m going from a MacBook Pro so I’m losing a lot of weight.

  • brucecat

    I’ve ordered a full specs Macbook Pro, still waiting for it to arrive. But I keep going back to the Apple store to play with the Mac Air every time I read a review such as this one lol.

    Maybe, I’ll change it for an Air later one..I don’t know yet.

    • Ben Terry

      Thats awesome. What are you going to be doing with your MBP to need that high of specs.

  • Demian Seiler

    Wow, that is a very tough call. I try to look at purchases from an economic cost perspective as @ThatGuyKC mentions, but am not always successful at telling my heart to zip it. I have been going back and forth over the purchase since the announcement, only just ordering my new MBP Retina this past weekend. I gave myself time to get over the “wow” factor that often follows big tech keynotes.

    In my case, I decided that the purchase was worth it. I currently have a 4-5 year old 17″ MBP and it has been the most amazing machine I have ever owned. But, with a max of 3GB of ram, and an aging Core 2 Duo processor it is starting to get long in the tooth and has really started showing its age as my computing power needs have increased.

    My needs are basically that of someone that does a lot of enterprise level web development. I usually running locally installed application servers like JBoss or Tomcat along with a MySQL database all up and running at the same time. Of course coding large projects requires some serious compilation power as well as power to run all of my development tools at a super high resolution. Additionally, while I am not a professional photographer, I do shoot events for people on top of my own photography work where I capture and process well over 1000 images at a shot. I use my iMac for this currently, but would love to get mobile with my image editing.

    All in all, after going to an Apple Store and seeing the product for myself, I decided it was worth the plunge.

    One test for you is this. Configure your new MBP with everything you need to work as you do on your Air so your workflow sees no hiccups between computers. Then every time you go out the door, try to forget about the newness of the tech in the MBPR and grab only the computer you find yourself naturally wanting to use that gets in the way the least. So for example, I love my 17″ MBP, but it is a boat anchor to haul around, and I tend to get Air envy at times. This certainly had me taking pause and seeing if instead of the MBPR I should wait for the rumored new Airs to arrive. In the end though, I decided while I would like to be more mobile with how light the Air is I still get more work done with the MBP. And that makes all the difference.

    • Ben Terry

      Wow. Thanks for the comment this is super helpful for us all trying to figure out upgrading our Macs.

  • James Henley

    I’ve found for a long time that safari renders better on a mac than chrome, and especially than firefox. Is it just me, or have others noticed this?

    • Ben Terry

      Ahh this is probably true, but I want to believe in Chrome!

  • Andy Darnell

    Keep it and give it to Sue.

    • Ben Terry

      short and sweet. great advice. +1

  • Chris Langille

    As beautiful as it is, I just could not justify spending the money (especially when you have an Air already) and this is coming from someone who isn’t afraid to drop (sometimes needlessly) a dime.

    I have a 13″ MacBookPro and it’s the best of both worlds. Very portable, and very powerful. I don’t see myself upgrading this thing for a long time. I love it so much, I might actually be buried with it.

    I have WAY too much other stuff I could spend all that money on than retina display! Just my opinion of course! Have fun with it!

  • Tyler H

    Do a cost analysis…is the 2 or 3 k you spent on this worth the really pretty picture (that isn’t totally usable yet) when you already said you’d be blogging (the main thing you do) from your Air?

  • david

    get rid of it

    air for life!

  • Ken

    There’s an old business maxim that says:

    “The best way to make a dollar is to not spend it in the first place.”

    So, will that sparkly new machine make you $3,000.00 back in productivity?

  • Bill Knox

    Return it. The Macbook Air 13 will be released in Super Jet Eye retina, in time. The 15 inch Macbook Pro Retina was released to soak up all the old 17 inch lovers, then Apple will move to pick pocket the 13 inch air Lovers.

    Don’t get me wrong I love Apples!

  • Jessica Zirbes

    With major purchases if I’m not 100% sold, I return it.

    • Ben Terry

      what about 99.9%? I find myself there majority of the time. Should I just round up?

  • JamesW

    Keep it man keep it :)
    Air is much more easier to use for blogging.
    But that thing is the beast xD

  • Shakthi