back to article Apple 13in MacBook Pro to fall into line this autumn

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, a stockbroker, has a good record on forecasts: he accurately predicted the launch of the 15in MacBook Pro with Retina Display just before the machine's announcement. He also correctly said Apple would kill off the 17in MacBook Pro. Now he's saying a 13in version will be out in the autumn, …

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Good

Good to finally see someone lean on the logjam

I just had an on-line chat with a 'droid at Dell, and they are still only offering 768 vertical pixels till you get to around 1800 dollars, then they grudingly admit a couple at 1080.

ps: the droid kept saying "1080p"

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jai
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price point

the price of the 15" mbpwrd is high, but you can kinda justify it to yourself (if not to the missus, but then she's unlikely to spot that it's a new laptop if you hide the boxes).

but for a 13" machine, the price is going to have to be a lot closer to the current 13" price point. Will the cost of the screens really come down enough for that to happen by October? That seems a little soon to me.

And does this suggest that perhaps there might also be a 17" mbpwrd next year with the pro desktops get their refresh?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: price point

What's to say the 13" will be a retina display? It really needs to be different to the air in a big way and screen is about the only way it can be different.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: price point

I suspect the 17" hasn't been dropped due to poor demand, but due to screen issues with doing a retina display for it. The 17" has always sold for a hideous premium and is much beloved by those who have to work on video and photos on the road.

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Re: price point

Apple, and their suppliers, can take a longer term view. They can take a temporary margin hit as production is ramped up, knowing they'll be fine in six months once the kinks are ironed out and things are humming along.

A typical PC maker, operating on thin margins competing with other PC makers operating on thin margins, doesn't have nearly the flexibility to do this. When they do something new and expensive, they charge more for it, then when it becomes cheaper they reduce the price. They'd rather not, but their competitors will if they don't and it'll hurt them worse than the lower price.

Apple prefers to keep the same price for something over its life, or at least until it gets updated. They can do that where PC makers can't because Apple is the only vendor of products that run Mac OS and iOS, as opposed to being one of many vendor of products running Windows or Android. Apple likely plans their pricing based on a target margin over the life of a particular product configuration. That is, when they introduce a new iPad with a retina screen and the bigger backlight and battery required for it, they have a particular target margin in mind. They will undershoot that margin at first, since the components cost more initially, but overshoot it by the time the product is ready for a refresh, when components drop in price. If they plan correctly, they get their target margin. Almost certainly, their suppliers take some contractual risk as part of this too - or maybe the suppliers take all of the risk, Apple does huge volumes and can put the squeeze on suppliers as a result.

So I don't think it matters whether the cost of 13" Retina screens is lower by fall or not, what matters to Apple is the average price from fall 2012 to fall 2013 (or whenever they next plan to upgrade the product)

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MBP/Air differentiation

If the 13" MBP goes retina, then having Airs with dual core + integrated graphics + 'normal' screens and MBPs with quad core, discrete graphics and retina displays would seem a logical differentiation. The new MBPs would also seem to be slightly better off ports wise.

If other laptop manufacturers start releasing Air type laptops with decent screens, I'd imagine that the next logical step would be for Apple to push the Airs to retina, but leave them thinner, integrated graphics/dual core and less ports. Perhaps that's what they'll do with the airs next year. If the retina display yields are becoming more economic by October, they should be pretty good by the next Air refresh.

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Re: MBP/Air differentiation

Taking the Air to retina resolution might have an issue with power consumption. Have you seen the MBP Retina teardowns? Despite having flash and not a hard drive, it has a huge battery. Same issue as the recent iPad -- a display box with a big battery in it, and a little bit of logic and storage tucked in on the side. An "air" with a retina display would probably have to be just as thick as this new MBP.

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Happy

A 13" notebook with retina display would be great

I do not care who makes it, but if I can get my hands on a good 13" notebook with hi-res display, and nVidia GPU (recent one (for CUDA)) I will be very happy indeed (especially as the boss should pay). A machine like that is really great as a portable workstation and demo machine for hi-res image processing. I know our code runs on OS-X, so I am completely agnostic about the manufacturer. I do suspect that the usual suspects (ASUS, please make one) will follow suit, and produce competitors. Then it will be all about price/performance and build quality.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A 13" notebook with retina display would be great

The trouble is that brands like Asus will need to wait for Windows 8 as Windows 7 doesn't properly support high density screens. Microsoft admit this themselves when they say "As anyone who has used a high-DPI screen can tell you, existing applications and the UI paradigms simply don't function, and become unusable." [1]

The bigger problem is that Microsoft has been too busy pushing the Metro UI so HiDPI won't be supported in existing apps until they get "Metro-fied". I suspect this will take a long time: re-making something like Photoshop into a Metro interface is much harder than just adding HiDPI support to an existing application.

I really don't see HiDPI notebooks from anyone other than Apple coming out before next year at the earliest. This year we'll only see it on Android devices, if that.

[1] http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/03/21/scaling-to-different-screens.aspx

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Re: A 13" notebook with retina display would be great

I don't agree. I hade a Sony Ultra Portable (TZ21) with 11" screen with 1368*768 was a joy to use - until I dropped something on the screen and it shattered :( Upping it to 1600*900 at that size would have not been an issue either (in fact I wish I could have done!)

As long as the panel is good quality and your have good eyesight you don't need your screen scaling to early learning font size.

I'm actually considering one of the 15" machine just to boot camp it to windows and use the extra pixels to see extra information on the screen. If I can get around the issue of having to splurge now as it's not upgradable...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A 13" notebook with retina display would be great

Anadtech has a shot of Windows 8 running at full res on the retina MBP:

http://images.anandtech.com/doci/6008/DSC_7424.jpg

(see http://www.anandtech.com/show/6008/windows-8-on-the-retina-display-macbook-pro for full article)

Personally I agree with Microsoft (and Apple) , text and UI elements like menus are just too small to be useful.

It might even be an ergonomics issue: such small fonts will no doubt cause eye strain.

You may have good vision now, so why blow it trying to use a setup like this? If so it could even open manufacturers to legal liability.

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Re: A 13" notebook with retina display would be great @9 Circles

That looks stunning! Actually, that may have just sold Apple a machine... (Sorry it wasn't until I got further in your post before I realised it was actually an anti decent resolution post). I take the review as something positive to be honest.

I doubt the eye strain issue. if you have good vision, and the display is as crisp as it looks on that photo it it will be fine. I've suffered more eye strain on crappy DPI early learning monitors (17" 1600*900 for example) than I ever have on crisp small screens.

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I have a 3 1/2 YO unibody Macbook, and would love to have bought a new 'ultrabook' type laptop, but for the silly prices and especially, lousy screen resolutions. I have absolutely no love for Apple, but this could be one thing that would actually convince me to consider one of their machines again.

I can't believe that the other PC makers have missed the boat so badly in this area of development. Is Apple really the only company that can innovate even a little?

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New design paradigm

Actually will be a 13" model but that measurement does not reflect screen dimensions.

In point of fact, the new MacBook Pro won't have a screen. Apple is once again showing the way to elegance of form and simplicity of operation by eliminating the visual complication and frustrating content of a display.

Operation of the device will consist of placing it on a surface and staring at it intently; users will find they need make very little adjustment to the new paradigm.

Sometime next year Apple will provide a unified, seamless user experience across its entire range by eliminating the keyboard from the MacBook and the display from the iPhone. The resulting featureless slabs of plastic and metal-- sold in various sizes-- will be the ultimate expression of refined design sensibility, and coincidentally will be wildly profitable as they will require no electronic components for proper operation.

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