I’ve recently upgraded practically all of my work tech. I’ve upgraded our phones to iPhone 5s, I moved from my 1st generation iPad to a new iPad Mini, and I’ve retired my main work machine, an early 2008 iMac and replaced it with a new MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina Display and a companion 27-inch Thunderbolt display.
I’m feeling pretty good about the changes. It’s a relief. I spent weeks agonizing over doing anything at all and then making the choice about exactly what type of equipment I needed.
For those who claim that the age of innovation is over for Apple I just have this to say: bullshit. This new MacBook Pro is remarkable. I dare you to sit it next to any other non-Apple laptop on the market and not be able to see that it is superior in virtually every way.
I’ve been a laptop user since the age of the “luggables” in the late 80s. My first was a Compaq portable that weighed 15 pounds and was the size and shape of a lunch box. And it felt like a lunch box loaded with bricks. I’ve used Mac laptops of virtually every vintage and placed dozens, perhaps hundreds of them inside businesses for colleagues. One of my past favorites was the beautifully designed but underpowered Powerbook Duo, which could be docked like a VHS cassette into a desktop dock.
My most recent laptop was a 2006 15 inch MacBook Pro, a dedicated work machine that I took with me from my last full-time job and is now my wife’s home machine. It’s a monster, but still quite usable.
Just over a year ago I helped my youngest daughter pick out a new machine to take with her to college. I encouraged her to get a super-light MacBook Air, but she decided that she wanted more power and the built-in CD/DVD drive and went with a 13 inch MacBook Pro. It’s proved to be a great machine for her (which she’s decorated it with this decal – or one very much like it).
I considered the MacBook Air as well. It is a remarkably portable machine. But frankly, I don’t care as much about portability. I will primarily use this machine in my office and only move it from my main desk, connected to the Thunderbolt Display, to my new standing desk where I’m writing this review. I made more than one trip to the Apple Store and consulted with my friends, many of whom were colleagues at the defunct Now Software, a once popular Mac software company.
I selected the MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina Display.
It’s not a MacBook Air, but the machine is amazingly small and light, especially compared with other laptops. Open here before me as I type it appears to be carved out of a single piece of aluminum. My daughter compared it to her just 1 year older 13″ MacBook Pro and proclaimed hers a monster compared to mine (she might have used the word “cow”).
Compared to my previous machines it’s a rocket. The flash “hard drive” makes loading programs or opening files practically instantaneous. All of the lags and waits I’d experienced with the aging iMac are gone.
And the Retina display. Wow. It’s crystal clear and truly high definition. It’s easy to see the difference when it’s connected to the non-Retina Thunderbolt display. I’m not as picky as some who find that once they’ve seen a Retina display that they can use nothing else, but it is a beautiful screen. It was an easy choice when compared to the non-Retina MacBook Pro which I could have purchased for a considerable savings.
I don’t miss the CD/DVD drive. I still have my old iMac and it has become our home media center. I rarely use the CD/DVD drive in it. I really don’t need the SD card reader in the new machine, but it’s a nice addition. I’m getting to the point that I don’t want ANY openings or connections in my portable devices. Wireless charging and connections are the way of the very near future.
There’s something about this laptop that makes me more comfortable and confident using it than I’ve ever been using laptops. It feels both solid and just the right weight and form factor.
I’ve been primarily using it with separate wireless Apple Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, but the gigantic trackpad on the machine itself is very nice. As for portability, it’s a bit too large, but only just, to fit into my Levenger Bomber Jacket Messenger bag. I’ve purchased a Timbuk2 Quckie Messenger Bag for the rare occasions when I’ll need to take the machine outside of the house.
If my pattern plays out, this new machine should serve me well for the next four to six years.