Friday, June 15, 2012

Not So Into the Fancy New MacBook Pro

I'm drooling over the new Retina Display MacBook Pro announced this week by Apple. It's quite likely the best computer Apple's ever produced (and therefore the best personal computer ever produced). But while sorely tempted, I'm not buying. I'll stick with my 2009 Macbook Pro.


$2200 - $2800? With SIGA still under $3, I can't even consider it. And neither should you, probably. Because of the steep...

Early Adoption Premium
All the enticements of this computer will likely be found - at lower price - in subsequent generations of less expensive Mac portables. None of it (the blazing speed, the generous flash storage and memory, the thinness, or the display, which some have called the most beautiful screen ever) is miss-it-and-you-lose stuff. Rather, this is an advance look at next year's "normal". You wanna early-adopt? Go ahead! But you'll overpay for the privilege.

This laptop, though thin, is pretty heavy compared to the MacBook Airs. While Air users make sacrifices for the convenience, it won't always be so. Look for convergence next year, when I'm betting we'll get it all. Though, alas, likely no optical (CD/DVD) drive.

Steep Depreciation Curve
When that convergence arrives, this machine will instantly seem like an anachronistically heavy beast, and is destined to sell cheap on the second-hand market. Buy now and you're at the wrong end of that curve.

App Catch-up
Apps will look like crud on the retina screen until they're updated by their repective developers. As you wait, you'll be burning expensive early adoption lead depreciation creeps nearer and nearer.

Whither laptop?
iPad serves well on the road (if you bring a wireless keyboard). I'm a longtime Mac laptop user, but only very rarely lug around my laptop anymore. Since my computer stays at home, a desktop computer makes more sense. They're cheaper, faster, and more easily repaired and expanded/updated. Some people may require a high-powered laptop in addition to an iPad, but I'd imagine that's an awfully small group, especially since you can do fairly sophisticated field editing (musical, cinematic, photographic, etc.) and work/enterprise stuff on an iPad these days (Microsoft Office for iPad is reportedly coming this Fall). *

Wasted Display
Like most people, I plug my laptop into a big monitor when at home. And, again, these days I mostly use it at home. So that expensive retina display would be largely wasted. What's more, when I do bring my laptop on the road, I need an optical drive (to watch DVDs in planes and trains) a lot more than I'd need a fancy display. And this one has no optical drive (Apple's decided we don't need 'em anymore, because streaming is "everywhere").

* - and the next version of iPad will, I'll bet, narrow the laptop gap even more.


Dave said...

What wireless keyboard do you recommend for the iPad (and for this guy with fat fingers)? Have you tried any of the covers with a built-in keybaord? I tend to take my MacBook on any trips of more than a day or two, and have to admit that the keyboard is the reason.

Jim Leff said...

I'm busted. See Slog tomorrow.

Dave said...

Cool. Thanks.

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