Anticipation

I've ordered a new 15" Macbook Pro (with Retina Display) and I've been tracking it closely since I got the shipment notice earlier in the week. It appears it's arrived in Sydney today, and is awaiting customs clearance. Here's hoping that it will get delivered tomorrow so I can set it up and play with it over the weekend.

It took me a while to decide on this. Earlier in the year, I was considering going back to a two-machine setup. A large 27" iMac for the processing power and screen size for working on my photos and a bit of gaming on the side, and a tiny 11" or 13" Macbook Air for portability.

This recently released Macbook Pro really shook things up. It exceeds the performance of the iMac, and is even comparable to (and in some situation, beats) the venerable Mac Pro. I was initially hesitant in moving up to the 15" form factor, after getting accustomed to my 3-year old 13" MBP which to me is the perfect balance of size, weight and usable screen size.

Even though the new 15" MBP is thinner and has the same weight as my current 13" MBP, the bigger surface area plays tricks on your mind and it 'feels' heavier when I checked it out at the Apple Store, even when my rational mind knows this not to be true.

While I'm sure Apple would release a 13" MBP with Retina Display eventually, I suspect there will have to be some compromises. A smaller machine would mean a smaller battery, and lower battery life from the 7 hours rated for the 15" MBP. It is also quite likely that there won't be a dedicated GPU, instead relying on the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset to drive the Retina Display. While from most accounts it seems to perform reasonably well for desktop apps, having dedicated GPU acceleration for Aperture would be nice, as well as the ability to play the new SimCity when it comes out next year.

The 2880 x 1800 Retina Display is a sight to behold. I've been using both the iPhone and iPad equipped with Retina Displays for a while now, and love the clarity of text and photos on them. At this resolution, it actually exceeds the resolution of the 27" iMac (at 2560 x 1440) that I was previously considering. All those pixels squeezed into a 15" panel and enhancements in Mac OS X means everything is super sharp and clear. Well, not quite everything. Many apps would need to be updated with high-res image assets, and it may be years before the web catches up.

All these factors have convinced me that I don't really need two separate machines after all, and that the 15" MBP does everything I wanted the iMac for, but is completely portable. I can wait to get my hands on it!