The 15 and 13 inch Retina Macbook Pros are (likely) receiving an update on October 15th, and tons of people have asked me “Will the Retina Macbook Pro have…?”.
Based on these requests, and the quantity of misinformation out there, I’m releasing a guide as to what to expect for the retina macbook pro, which should be confirmed on the release date, of October 15th. If you’re interested, also check out our popular guide to Apple rumors 2013.
What Processor will the new Retina macbook Pros have?
Expect the next Retina Macbook Pro updates to have intel’s latest Haswell quad core i7 processors, which are faster and more energy-efficient, contributing to longer battery life.
Haswell is practically a given, and here’s why: Apple’s lesser line of laptops, the macbook airs, got Haswell at Apple’s WWDC in June. Apple’s iMac line of computers were upgraded to Haswell i5s and i7s just last week. Beyond needing to upgrade their pro line above that of their consumer line, Apple also needs to match competitors who are already sporting Haswells. Haswell is not an option.
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How Much RAM will be available on the new Retina Macbook Pro?
The new Retinas will likely offer 16 GB of RAM as stock (8 for the 13), with a possible (though unlikely) option of a 32 GB upgrade. Given the prevalence of gaming, and the typical advancement that comes with an upgrade, I find it unlikely that Apple wouldn’t give 13 inch users an opportunity to upgrade to 16 gigabytes (already stock on the 15 inch), but Apple definitely could ground 13 inch users at 8 GB total. More than adequate though.
Will the Retina Macbook Pro offer a 1 TB SSD (solid state drive)?
I’d put this in the category of “likely”. Users want more storage: It’s a fact. On the 15 inch, I’m predicting that the upgraded SSD option will be shifted up from the 768 gigabyte SSD, to a 1 terabyte SSD. On the 13 inch, Apple will probably continue to limit users to a 768 gigabyte drive. It’s about time Apple offers a 1 TB solid state laptop.
Will the Macbook Pro design change?
Probably not much. Apple may add another USB port (just an example of something they could do, not a prediction), or they may add a higher resolution Facetime camera, or improved speakers, but odds are the classic, thin, aluminum design, with the black bezel will remain largely the same.
Will Apple Update the Retina Display?
No. Apple will probably update the graphics processor, and build in more memory, but the flagship Retina display will not change. It already leads the industry, so there’s no reason to develop a new display, and they’re not releasing a touch screen mac anytime soon.
Will Apple Update the Cinema/Thunderbolt Display?
This question is anybody’s guess. The thunderbolt display is long overdue for an update, and could use a retina display, but that whole line of displays is highly unpredictable.
Will the new Retina Macbook Pros have better battery life?
Thanks to reader Pradeep Gorthi for requesting this, because I totally forgot
Yes. The Macbook Pros will likely have a much longer battery life, though the battery may not be much larger. Haswell processors (see above) are far more energy efficient, which should add at least a half hour to an hour. The new OSX Mavericks operating system is also remarkably efficient, and should add several hours to battery life for web browsing. Read all about Mavericks here.
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There’s a lot on the block for Apple 2013…at least according to the rumor gods. So what can we expect? Here are nine things we expect out of Cupertino in 2013.
- Retina Macbook Air: Likelihood: 60-70%. Lately, Cupertino has been rapping everything in a retina display, their super-high-definition, high density displays. The full-sized iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Macbook Pro line all have retina displays. Until this year, the retina display was simply too expensive to implement in a cheaper (though not close to cheap) computer like the macbook Air. Now though, with new technology and increased order size, Cupertino can likely get the parts cost down to a price where they can sell such a computer. Expect a delivery date of June, at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference at the earliest.
- Retina iPad Mini: Likelihood: 50%. While we’ll definately be seeing a retina iPad mini sometime soon, we can’t be sure it will be this year. Apple’s margins on the current Mini are already to0 low for their liking, so unless they can drastically reduce the price of components, plus Retina displays, it may take an extra year. No guess as to a release date.
- Retina iMac: Likelihood: 30%. How awesome would that be? A beautifully crisp 27 inch display the thickness of a pencil. The iMac already went through a brilliant overhaul last year, shedding serious bulk, so the challenge is fitting a retina display in without major size changes. Apple doesn’t normally do major computer releases two years in a row for the same line, so any retina iMac isn’t likely until at least mid-2014. Still, it has a chance because of the current proliferation of retina devices (see above.
- iPhone 5S: Likelihood: 95%. We have no idea what the next iPhone will hold, but based on Apple’s past releases, we can expect it to be called the iPhone 5S, and we can expect it to have an identical exterior design to the iPhone 5, with internal enhancements. It will see the newer, faster dual band Wifi, a new processor, a better camera, and a few other minor features to bring it in line with competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy SIII.
- Apple TV (actual TV): Likelihood:49%. The late Steve Jobs really wanted to reinvent television, and evidence shows that Apple has been working on such a device, but there’s not enough convincing evidence that they’re ready to roll out such a device this year. This was Apple’s first attempt at a real TV.
- iWatch: Likelihood: 5%. It was painful for me to give this even a 5% chance. A lot of rumors have stirred around the idea of such a device, but I don’t EVER see Apple developing a watch, and especially without proof-of-concept and longevity by the first wave of smart watches, like the Pebble.
- Touchscreen Mac: Likelihood: 10%. On the one hand, Steve Jobs denied that Apple would ever make a touchscreen mac, but on the other hand, he said the same thing about tablets before Apple took over the tablet market with the iPad. I don’t see it happening because the iPad pretty much serves that roll, but it isn’t outside of the realm of possibility. Not this year.
- iMac Pro. Likelihood 55%. Ever since Apple updated every line but the Mac Pro, pro users have been worried as to the future of the Mac Pro, a creative industry standard. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed an entirely new pro product on the way in 2013. Whether this takes the form of a more configurable and High end iMac is unknown, but a Mac Pro in some form is 100%.
- Stock Dividend. This is a product of Apple in a different form, pleasing a different crowd. Analysts have indicated to me that Apple will likely have a dividend for shareholders this year to spread the benefit of their ridiculous cash flow.
And that’s pretty much Apple’s year in 2013. Anything else is a mystery. Let’s compare notes on New Years, and see how we did. Answer this in the comments: What Apple product are you most looking forward to in 2013?
Recently I finally had the chance to try Apple’s 15 inch Macbook Pro, and here’s what I think of it.
Unlike the 15 inch market, the 13 inch market for Apple is extremely crowded. There’s the ultralight Macbook Air starting at about $1200 and the “ultra-heavy” Macbook Pro weighing in at 4.5 Pounds and also starting at $1200. Then there’s the 13 inch Retina Macbook Pro, a weird combination of the both of them that starts at $1700. As regular readers know, my personal computer is a 15 inch Retina Macbook Pro, and my previous mac was a 13 inch macbook pro. So I’ve got experience on both sides.
“So Should I Buy a 13 inch Retina, Standard Macbook Pro, or Macbook Air?”
The 13 inch Retina Macbook Pro is a pound lighter, around 1/5 thinner, and much faster than its’ heavy legacy cousin. And then of course it has the crisp Retina display. There’s really no comparison. The only advantages of the legacy model are price, a disc drive (not a big loss for me because when I need to load disks, I use another computer as a remote disc using Apple’s application), and swappable RAM and hard drive. In my mind there’s very little competition.
When you compare the Retina Macbook Pro to the Macbook air, it’s a far fairer fight, and a harder decision. The Macbook Air is fantastic. It’s 1/2 a pound lighter than the Retina (1.5 pounds lighter than the legacy MBP) for starters, and a hair thinner. It also has an all flash architecture which makes it lightening fast for basic tasks. Where it falls short is where the retina macbook pro excels. Its limited power makes it less suited for creating things (professional video editing, graphics, etc). It’s also got a much lower definition screen, and only an SD slot, thunderbolt port, and USB port for connectivity. The Retina display 13 inch MBP has an SDXC slot, two USB ports, two thunderbolts, and an HDMI for hooking your computer up to a TV.
The 13 inch Retina Macbook pro is very fast, and everything on the Retina Display looks beautiful, but if you’re just looking for a computer to answer emails, write word documents, and browse the web, you’re better off with the Macbook Air and an extra $500 in your pocket.