Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Jun 12

WWDC 2012: Does the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display threaten the Air?

Apple Chief of Marketing Phil Schiller shows off the new MacBook Pro with Retina display (screenshot, WWDC livestream)

Every once in awhile, I have to face facts. I’m a bit of a hardware nerd when it comes to the best computers and laptops. I love learning about the guts of my computer, and anytime a new update to a system comes out, I want to know more.

That’s exactly what happened yesterday, June 11th, at Apple‘s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference. I, like many people around the world, spent the morning glued to my screen as Apple CEO Tim Cook and director of marketing Phil Schiller unveiled the updated lines of MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, as well as an all new MacBook Pro featuring a thinner body and retina display.

Seeing a refresh of their current MacBook Pro and Macbook Air line was great news, with upgraded processors, faster graphics cards, and, for the Pro line, USB 3.0 across the board. However, it was the unveiling of a the next generation MacBook Pro with a retina display that stole the show. The most striking thing about this new model (besides the incredibly high-resolution retina display) is just how thin the new MacBook Pro is, at just 0.71″ when closed. Even open, the laptop looks very sleek, and the screen almost seems non-existent when shown in profile.

This slim design doesn’t come without a few sacrifices. Apple removed the optical drive (that is, the CD/DVD player/burner), which accounts for the bulk of the size loss, and moved to flash memory to avoid including a large sized hard drive (purely in size, mind you, as the SSD flash drives included can go up to 768GB of storage).

The other sacrifice to the reduced size of the MacBook Pro may be the MacBook Air.

Does the thin design of the new MacBook Pro encroach too much into the MacBook Air's territory? (Photo:

Before its redesign two years ago, the MacBook Air had existed largely as a forgotten piece of hardware, overshadowed by it’s larger MacBook and MacBook Pro cousins. While it was thin and small, that was all it boasted compared to the rest of the line. With a sleek redesign, the removal of an optical drive, and the switch to a flash memory based system, the MacBook Air once again became a popular option for those seeking a light, full featured mobile computer.

With the updates to their MacBook Pro line that encroach into the areas that make the Air unique, the MacBook Air may soon find itself forgotten again amidst thin body design and retina display screens.

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