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Portables (Apple) Apple Hardware

Analyzing the New MacBook Pro 914

MrSeb writes "Late yesterday, Apple released a next-generation 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. It has a 2880×1800 220 PPI display. The normal 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs have also been updated, but the 17-inch MBP has been retired, in effect replaced by the new Retina display MBP. Without a doubt, this new laptop is an engineering marvel in the same league as the original iPhone or MacBook Air. ... The Retina display MBP really looks nothing we've ever seen before. Here, ExtremeTech dives into the engineering behind the laptop, paying close attention to that new and rather shiny display — and the fact that this thing has no user-replaceable parts at all." Fleshing things out a bit more, iFixit has a teardown of the internals. Their verdict: effectively unrepairable by the user.
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Analyzing the New MacBook Pro

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:27AM (#40309431)

    apple has perfected separating fools from their money.

  • by rvw ( 755107 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:28AM (#40309447)

    This is quite annoying. When I bought my macbook three years ago, it had a 160GB harddrive. If I wanted to upgrade to 250GB I had to pay €130. I went to the nearest computershop and bought a 320GB drive for less then €100. That means I had a spare 160GB drive as well. The same goes for memory. I buy it via ebay in the US, for half the price. I hope there will be shops who will replace these parts for normal prices.

  • by matt_gaia ( 228110 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:31AM (#40309511)

    Because it has a shiny fruit on the back of it.... duh.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:34AM (#40309553) Journal
    While a wholly proprietary pinout(and a different wholly proprietary pinout than the last model's wholly proprietary pinout) the storage card is at least socketed... Given that there are likely to be a reasonable number of these sold, and to deep pocketed buyers, 3rd-party options will likely exist sooner or later. RAM, though, may leave you with a case of buyer's remorse...
  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:36AM (#40309569)

    It can be replaced it is just a huge pain to do so. I have done some ipod battery replacements and no the average non-slashdotter can't do it. The average slashdotter should be able to though, or should not be on slashdot.

  • No, really 2880x1800 (Score:4, Informative)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:38AM (#40309619)

    What you are confused by is the scaling for elements (like images) that are not built for a hi-res display. All system text, and all of the applications that come with the Macbook have everything at the full resolution.

    Anything built for a high-res display can be displayed in pixel perfect accuracy.

  • Re:Christ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:43AM (#40309695)

    ...they decided that selling $150 replacement batteries wasn't enough, now they need to sell $150 replacement batteries AND $150 replacement battery services...

    Hmm ... seems to me that it costs $129 for a new battery and that includes installation. Apple MacBook Battery Replacement []

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:44AM (#40309709)

    No matte option, only glossy

    The new screen has a much different front, they said in the marketing materials 60-70% less reflective than the older glossy models. It's why there's no matte option this time around (I have a matte screen currently and wouldn't go for a glossy option again either).

  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:50AM (#40309793)

    It's 2880x1800. Your confusion stems from Lion's text and OS UI element handling, which basically gives you choices about how big you want text and UI elements to appear. It looks like you can specify a kind of effective resolution, telling Lion to fool all the old software that doesn't know about high dpi screens into not rendering things too small to see.

    OpenGL and the Cocoa drawing APIs have full access to high resolution screen.

  • by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:54AM (#40309865) Homepage Journal

    No, not really 2880x1800. Make no mistake, this is not a 2880x1800 display, at least in the sense that most people would think. It's effectively a 1440x900 display, where each pixel is actually four.

    By which I mean that if you currently can fit 40 lines of code in a single editor window on your existing 1440x900 display, on this new 2880x1800 "retina" display, you will be able to fit those same 40 lines of code, just with extra clarity.

    Now don't get me wrong, the increase in pixel density is a good thing, but calling it a "2880x1800" is incredibly misleading (albeit technically accurate). You won't fit any more actual data, the same data you can currently fit will just have a higher resolution.

  • Re:Christ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:55AM (#40309885)

    >>>Mac plus -- the greatest Apple Macintosh ever built.

    Really? A 68000 @ 8 MHz computer that cost $2600 in 1986. The best? No wonder I never bought one (though I used them in school). The Commodore Amiga cost about 1/3rd that price, at approximately the same speed, but with full 4000-color display and TV compatible resolution, so it could show full-sized video. In fact it was used to produce special effects for several sci-fi shows. Plus it had preemptive tasking.

    The Mac+ was a boring black-and-white with teeny-tiny screen, that could only run one task at a time, and frequently crashed when I was using it.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:55AM (#40309887)

    You can't replace the battery in the Galaxy Tab, either, but nobody around here sharpened their pitchforks over it.

    Oh, on an unrelated note: Battery life on the Tab is pretty good.

  • by DurendalMac ( 736637 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:59AM (#40309973)
    Because Apple isn't selling a Thunderbolt -> Ethernet adapter for a whopping $29 or anything.
  • Re:Christ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:16PM (#40310257) Homepage Journal

    So why hasn't anyone else built something better already?

    because the parts lines(in factories) came online just this spring? and apple doing what it does usually, buying the entire supply(the screen) for the line.

    I guess it depends a bit also on what you consider better too. on a machine like that, I wouldn't mind some extra thickness for better ventilation. asymmetrical fans or not it's going to scream with load.

    but the ive video regarding them "designing everything" just oozed with bullshit, especially when none of the chips come from apple, the display isn't manufactured by apple and cramming the motherboard into that space really isn't an engineering marvel in 2012...

    the real marvel is that they didn't pair it up with intel shitgraphics really. and another thumbs up marvel is that the included an actual hdmi port! maybe steve is really dead.

  • Re:Christ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:19PM (#40310307) Homepage Journal

    Uh, yes it does. My old MacBook had the battery die after two years. I had to replace it ($150 mail order from Apple) and the laptop still works fine otherwise, despite being nearly four years old by now. (Oh, and I upgraded the hard drive. Something else you can't do any more.)

    Having a non-replaceable battery, especially given that it's Apple [], is absolutely a deal-killer.

  • by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:19PM (#40310315)

    The Alienware M14x has a 14" 1600x900 monitor (I assume TN). It's 1.71" thick, It weighs 6.45 lbs. I can only assume you're the stereotypical "all that matters is performance per dollar" type who will not be swayed by any argument...

  • Re:Christ... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Cramer ( 69040 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:20PM (#40310337) Homepage

    To be fair, (w.r.t. Babylon 5) the AMIGA didn't make the show... the Video Toaster CARD in the Amiga did 99% of the work. (and the video toaster was *not* cheap) The Amiga hardware wasn't fast enough to do video production -- neither was the Mac Plus, for that matter. (most 486's of the era couldn't either.)

  • Re:Christ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by mortonda ( 5175 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:23PM (#40310385)

    I love my first gen MBP, it has served me well. But it has gone through 3 batteries, and I need to order another one now. (They bulge out and die)

    The nearest Apple store is an hour and a half away. If I can't order an inexpensive battery and replace it myself, then.... I'm not going to buy the laptop. So long Apple. Great product, until you you started screwing us.

  • Re:Christ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dynedain ( 141758 ) <> on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:24PM (#40310425) Homepage

    Yay, anecdotal evidence time!

    I have managed over 20 Macbooks over the last 7 years and have had to replace only 3 batteries, all of which were covered as warranty replacements and so wouldn't have mattered if they were user-replaceable or not.

  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:24PM (#40310427)

    You are wrong. It's a 2880x1800 display. You can address each and every one of those pixels individually.

    If your code editor uses Lion's text rendering APIs but is not aware that the display is high DPI, Lion will lie to it and tell it that it's on a lower resolution screen so the text isn't ridiculously small. If your code editor IS aware that it's on a high DPI screen, it can display the text as small as your tired eyes wish.

  • Re:Christ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:50PM (#40310845)

    So why hasn't anyone else built something better already?

    because the parts lines(in factories) came online just this spring? and apple doing what it does usually, buying the entire supply(the screen) for the line.

    Well, Apple made some rather significant investements in their supply chain - they've paid Sharp and others billions to improve LCD screens, paid millions to the factories in Japan that produced raw materials for the batteries affected by the earthquake, etc.

    So it's not just buying up entire supplies (when you think about it, if a Mac sells a million units, that's a million screens - a rather considerable amount of product to produce. Not counting ones that fail Apple QC and end up on the secondary market as cheap monitors).

    There are other companies able to do so as well - Samsung invested heavily in OLED display technology, hence why practically all their phones have it. Heck, perhaps Apple was willing to pay for significant investments in OLED screen technology so they can use it in the next iPhone, but Samsung rejected it. After all, Apple doesn't throw you a billion dollars without expecting something in return.

  • Re:Christ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Macman408 ( 1308925 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:03PM (#40311051)

    For the Retina MacBook Pro, it's actually $199 []; $129 is for the MacBook, or the normal 13/15-inch MacBook Pro. (The 17" MacBook Pro battery replacement is $179.)

    That said, the price isn't far off other manufacturers' discrete battery prices; Dell's prices for similarly-sized batteries range from $146 for their cheapest 90 Wh 9-cell battery (for certain Inspiron models), to $300 for a 97 Wh 9-cell extended battery that covers the whole bottom of a Latitude, with most 90 Wh batteries at about the $170 price point. Compared to that Latitude one, $199 isn't such a bad deal for a 95 Wh battery...

  • Re:Christ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by C_amiga_fan ( 1960858 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:04PM (#40311057)

    No. The Video Toaster was a genlock with built-in special effects (wipe, fade, etc). We used to have one in our college TV station. That's all it did. BUT the Amiga's 68000 CPU did the number-crunching to generate the CGI, and the Amiga coprocessors displayed the 704x480 image that was captured to videotape (one frame at a time) for Babylon 5, seaQuest, Above & Beyond.

    If for some reason you STILL don't think Amiga can do CGI, just go watch the Star Wars Walker Demo. Or any other video/demo from that era. Or you could rewatch B5's axis transport/elevator and notice how pixelated everything looks..... a side effect of the Amiga's low resolution.

    >>>The Amiga hardware wasn't fast enough to do video production (most 486's of the era couldn't either.)

    It doesn't have to be "fast". They are only generating ONE frame every hour or so. According to one of the animators Mojo, it could take an entire week just to generate a few seconds of CGI.


  • Re:Christ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:09PM (#40311141)

    I love my first gen MBP, it has served me well. But it has gone through 3 batteries, and I need to order another one now. (They bulge out and die)

    There is a difference between 1st gen and current MacBooks. The user replaceable batteries only lasted for 300 charges, while the new non-replaceable ones should last 1000 charges. With larger capacity to start, so you will use fewer charges.

  • by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:11PM (#40311193) Journal

    As someone above said:

    It's DDR3L SDRAM - that L stands for low-power. If you can even find a high-speed DDR3L sodimm, you will pay more for it than for the Apple memory. What do you get with that L? Maybe about an hour more battery life with 16GB installed. Is 17% longer battery life worth the $100 premium? Probably to most people spending $3K or more on a laptop already.

  • by CaptainJeff ( 731782 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:15PM (#40311261)

    The right thing to do is...

    ...always a matter of perspective. The iPod (and a lot of Apple's devices) offers a far superior interface and experience for the vast majority of users. If my mom buys an iPod and it breaks and she's upset, I will argue that the "right thing" for me to since, since I have the capabilities to fix it would be to do so. By doing so, I increase my mom's happiness, I get to undertake a fun little technical challenge, and both me and my mom are happy. If instead, I "guide" her to buying a user-serviceable device that she hates to use due to an inferior interface from her perspective, then she's lost money, doesn't have a device she likes, and she's mad at me. I cannot see how that would be the right thing to do.

  • Re:Christ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by s73v3r ( 963317 ) <> on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:21PM (#40311353)

    There's a fuckload more to making a battery "user replacable" than just wrapping the cells in plastic.

  • Re:Christ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by s73v3r ( 963317 ) <> on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:26PM (#40311425)

    What's a marvel is that you seem to think that the same things are important to everyone. Most of us don't care about "user replaceable". The other benefits of the machine outweigh any potential inconvenience.

  • Re:Christ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by uglyduckling ( 103926 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:11PM (#40312081) Homepage
    The HDD is upgradeable.
  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:15PM (#40312125)

    It's actually not. []

    While Apple uses the latest SATA protocol, the connector is physically incompatible with either Mini PCIe or mSATA.

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:16PM (#40312141)

    I just checked my Asus Transformer. SHIT NO BATTERY BOX. Let me go get my pitchforks. We can storm these companies together.

  • by Vegemeister ( 1259976 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:20PM (#40312195)

    I'd much rather have a lighter, more durable notebook and buy my RAM now, than save maybe $100 by buying it next year.

    Factory-installed ram is three times as expensive as what you can get on Newegg now, and this holds for pretty much every laptop vendor. Face it, the new MBP is a $2100 machine with only 8 GiB of memory, and if you want more you have to pay an extra $200.

  • by Tobenisstinky ( 853306 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:41PM (#40312481)

    Exactly; this isn't an Apple thing, it's becoming an industry thing. My Le Pan tablet - non user replaceable battery, Motorola blue tooth hands-free unit, same, my Vtech cordless phone, user replaceable, but batteries are only available from Vtech. Sooner or later companies will figure out that they can do the same thing with batteries as they did with ink cartridges.

  • Re:Christ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @03:15PM (#40312877)

    Quick search on has 16GB DDR3 RAM at $149, versus $200 from Apple, preconfigured. Your prices suck because you live in the UK, not because of Apple. And yes, I used to live in the UK...don't miss UK prices one bit.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:03PM (#40314539) Journal

    Perhaps you both have good sticky fingers and never drop your phone? I've seen the battery pop out of a Druid X just 2 days ago.

    My Droid X has been dropped lots of times. Last June it went down with me on east i84, at speed, motorcycle accident, ripped out of the holster, case scarred up from the impact and skittering across the asphalt, recovered by the EMT who got it back to me after I regained consciousness in ICU. The phone still worked and the battery had not popped out. So no, I don't know what you're talking about. "The battery popping out" sounds like a made-up thing from Apple fanbois.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban