“I get asked all the time by people what MacBook I would recommend to buy. It used to be an easy answer, but it got a lot more complicated today.”
MG Siegler, from his The Mac’s Mid-Life Crisis
This quote perfectly summarizes how I feel about the Retina Macbook Pro. It’s hard to imagine that just a few days ago, my dream Macbook was one with 8GB of RAM, 500GB or more of hard disk space and 1GB or more of video card memory. Post-WWDC, I think I may have just gotten what I dreamed about: the $2199 Macbook Pro has everything I wished for, and it got cheaper (compared to the previous-gen pricing). But when you put it beside the Retina Macbook Pro….
“I think I could live on 256GB of hard disk memory.”
Basically, when you compare the old Macbook Pro to the new Retina one, at the same price point, the thing that you have to sacrifice the most is the hard disk space. You’re looking at 256GB versus 750GB. As MG said, it used to be an easy decision which Macbook to buy. But now it’s really testing.
With the line of work I indulge myself in (engineering and creative media) it’s a no-brainer to opt for that Retina display. I wouldn’t have to squint at the screen, I don’t have to look for an HDTV to appreciate my videos, I could check even without zooming into a photo if it’s out of focus or not.
But that said, I don’t think I could easily survive on 256GB. Producing video-related work is by far the most expensive task (in terms of hard disk memory) I’ve ever encountered. I’ve only handled HD videos a few times in the past, but even five-minute projects could take up to 50GB of project files. So I thought, I could easily just connect and external hard disk and work from there.
Wrong. Doing so would negate the benefits of working on an ultra-fast SSD. Sure I could load my apps faster, etc but still, loading the media files required for a project would take some time.
Apple did a brilliant job with pricing for the trade-offs in these new machines. At the $2199 price point, you can’t upgrade your flash memory storage. For $500 dollars more you get 512GB minimum, upgradeable to 756GB. But $500 for another $256 GB? I don’t see the point. Especially when you think about the non-Retina Macbook Pro and its 750GB of memory.
Well, it was just announced, benchmarks are yet to be done, real-world usage would still be evaluated, and teardowns are still waiting to happen. Maybe a little waiting would be beneficial (especially when you take into account that first generation hardware can sometimes have defects).
Perhaps I should instead get started on how to earn that $2199 first and stop ranting about which Macbook Pro to buy (alas, the truth hurts… the pocket.).