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back to article Apple introduces 'next generation' MacBook Pro with retina display

In addition to updating its existing MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines, Apple has introduced what it's calling the "next generation" MacBook Pro, complete with a 15.4-inch, 2880-by-1800 pixel, 220ppi "retina display". "It's the most beautiful computer we have ever made," said Apple marketing honcho Phil Schiller during the …

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Mushroom

Stop the pixel counting nonsense

Pixel count is for morons. It has been used to sell crappy cameras to morons in the past decade, making photo buffs look like alien to the rest of the world when not giving a shit about the gazillion pixels on the new cameraphone-of-the-week. Please don't let that happen with monitors too.

I trust that the display on this particular model is good, but if MegaPickles begin to be a sale argument the market will soon be flooded by horrendous displays with very poor refresh, contrast, brightness and colour rendering but 16.5 GigaPickles. History shows that using pickles count as a sale argument lead to worse, not better, products.

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Stop

Re: Stop the pixel counting nonsense

You're kind of missing the point. It's not about the number of pixels but pixel density, and the point at which individual pixels become difficult to discern from one another at a given viewing distance. Hence the reason why Apple most frequently use the term "Retina display".

The pixel count is really only interesting from a graphics and battery performance point of view, as it has a detrimental effect. And I'm not convinced I'd like to play Diablo 3 at the full 2880x1800 resolution if they're going to be rendering 4 times as many pixels, as it they will probably have to compromise on the use of other rendering effects.

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Pint

Re: Stop the pixel counting nonsense

> You're kind of missing the point. It's not about the number of pixels but pixel density

Im not missing the point, you kind of are are. It's always about pixel density. On a 15" display 1080p is already overkill unless you're looking at it from 5 cm (in which case you have other problems). Retina display is purely a buzzwork which has no grounding in reallity. Proof is, they use the same for the same density in the iPhone and a laptop-sized machine. Ever wondered "retina display" would look like on a theatre screen? Exactly the same but you would need a 30-tons truck to carry the Blu-Ray disks.

On the other hand, IF it becomes a selling point, the cheap-and-dirty manufactures WILL build extremely crappy displays with gazillions pixels per square cm, exactly the same as they built extremely crappy camera sensors with gazillions pixels per square millimetre.

The Canon 5D Mk I is dated but still a decent camera. Guess how many megapickles the sensor has. You don't know? Look it up while the rest of us watch your chin hit the floor (note: I am not in any way a Canon fan).

In most cases the number or the density of pixels is rather unimportant. The *quality* of these pixels, in the other hand...

On a standard-sized laptop display and unless you have very specific uses like high-res movie editing, 1080p is more than you will ever need. And if you need more than that, chances are that you should be using a multi-monitor workstation with some _real_ grunt, storage and graphics anyway.

Cheers

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stop the pixel counting nonsense

Oh come on, computer displays have been pants for decades. Laser printers have been cranking out 300, 600 and higher DPIs for decades. Why have computer displays been stuck at 75-100 DPI for so long?

CRTs held back resolution for quite some time, now that we're using LCD and OLED we can easily improve. It is just that nobody has been interested in doing so. Now that Apple have given the industry a kick up the arse maybe we will see things improve.

If you watched the WWDC presentation you would see that they showed a 1080p video fit perfectly in the edit panel in Final Cut without needing to be scaled down. Quite handy to have 1080p easily fit on the screen alongside all of the edit palettes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stop the pixel counting nonsense

Some of us Reg readers have worked in the computer graphics industry, GPU development, vision science etc. I do wish people with limited technical knowledge would stop making misleading statements like '1080p on 15"' is overkill simply on the basis of a personal opinion. Theres a lot of nonsense written on the net to confuse non-specialists. The human eye is a complex sensor with a lot of variance from individual to individual. Sure viewing distance, pixel density, colour gamut are all factors and the monicker 'retina display' is marketing speak.

There is no question that 16:9 aspect ratio isn't the best match for human field of view in near viewing space of notebooks or that in portrait orientation this shape is perceived as too thin. Apples choice of 16:10 yields better usability for most application contexts.

Text readability is a key feature for notebooks and at typical viewing distance 16:9 1080p LCD type is less than ideal for text even for many over 60s (vision acuity always decreases with age although there is a lot of variance among individuals). Anti-aliasing goes some way in compensating but better to use higher pixel densities as the tech is becoming available. More wiggle room with photographs. Do the sums and 2000p is overkill for most purposes so we aren't far away from reaching spacial resolution nirvana for notebooks.

This MacBook choice of 1800p is more of a jump than is strictly ideal at this stage (larger display buffers need more GPU work to sustain frame rates in games etc. and mobile GPUs aren't quite there yet so apps may choose to use lower resolutions plus upsampling internally). 1800 comes from quirks in the OS X and iOS app models which mean doubling display size from 900p is simpler to run existing apps acceptably. Less of an issue with Windows apps built in last few years so for a premium Windows display I'd personally compromise with something like 1400p on 15" for state of the art in 2012 (not that anyone ships notebooks with the panels yet).

Incidentally having worked with far east and US display manufacturers some years ago, it was interesting to find quite a few people in the OEM and display business don't get resolutions either.

In a few years time everyone will be using higher dpi screens and we'll look back at the 768p notebook era as we now look back at 1990s CRT displays.

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Pint

Re: Stop the pixel counting nonsense

I remember back in the days when people in El Reg comments actually read the comment they replied to.

Oh wait, that was never the case anyway.

Please do carry on.

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Re: Stop the pixel counting nonsense

if you could only know how wrong you are...

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Ethernot

Needing to carry a separate Ethernet adaptor makes the laptop considerably less portable. WiFi is great for surfing the web and checking e-mail but it's crap for getting work done.

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FAIL

Re: Ethernot

oh fuck off, it's a laptop. 802.11n works beautifully.

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Devil

SD slot

What's that for then?

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FAIL

no 13 inch retina???

wow....what a bummer....I have to buy a macbook this month and now it's never going to put a smile on my face than owning one of those....I don't want 15 inches...it's too big... (she said)

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But retina's useable space is only 1440x900 right - so for productivity it's still not as good as 1920x1200?

Since Apple doubled the resolution (1440x900 -> 2880x1800), they can double the DPI and all the UI elements will be the same size, but be twice as sharp and detailed.

I don't think so but will OSX allow the user the option of NOT doubling DPI. So UI elements are a quarter of their typical size, but you can fit four times as much stuff on the screen.

I know little about OSX, but I'd imagine there's also a middle road of choosing some non-integer multipler (i.e. not 1 or 2) that would yield an "best-of-both-worlds" effect. Everything is a little sharper, you can fit a little more on the screen and it's only a little smaller. The wild card is how OSX deals with non-integer DPI multiples.

I have a 15inch with 1440x900 MacBook pro and the resolution is ok but have to wonder about the 11inch and 13 inch 1080p ASUS...ultrabooks

I would prefare Two turds (2/3'rds x 1449x900)

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Nah, wrong

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5996/how-the-retina-display-macbook-pro-handles-scaling

1920x1200's worth of space is one of the default scaling options.

Default is 1440x900's worth, then 1680x1050, then 1920x1200.

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Only 2880H pixels?

Visual measurements show that good human eyes have ~4K pixels horizontally. So as numbers go, the new Macbook is not there at 2880 pixels. But it's close.

And now they've (falsely IMO) claimed a retina display how will they pitch the next resolution upgrade? "The all new retina display plus"??? Oh well, marketing will figure that one out with even higher resolution BS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only 2880H pixels?

4K pixels horizontally over what field of view? How many degrees, or fractions thereof, per pixel do you mean exactly?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only 2880H pixels?

@Jim. Only the central part of the human eye is high definition, we make up for it by eye movements etc. Horizonal field of view is not far off 180 degrees but definition decreases as move out to peripheral angles. For displays we need to arrange to deliver to that central region wherever eye is pointing and required ppi depends on distance. Those 4K type figures have little value stated out of context.

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Re: Only 2880H pixels?

Sorry, but you're measuring this all wrong, you're assuming the screen would be against your eyeball.

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Re: Only 2880H pixels?

how do you get a 15" screen to fill your vision?

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Re: Only 2880H pixels?

Over your entire field of view (assuming a fixed eye).

But after writing my post I recognised that a viewer would never view the screen so close that it occupied the entire retina (though I *have* seen some folks do that). But for most users for whom the screen is only impacting part of the retina, the pixels are indeed small enough to be classed as retina resolution - or close enough as makes little difference.

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Re: Only 2880H pixels?

And my eyes only stay in the centre of the screen - riight?

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Devil

Apple is trolling me T_T

After years looking for proper laptop/screen combination available somewhere near me, I have finally bought an HP dv6-6b19 with proper full HD no-gloss display with tolerable viewing angles (no IPS though). I was considering a MacBook Pro, but I didn't like their display, even the (almost) full HD 1050p matte option).

And a week later they release this retina thing. Successful trolls are successful.

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Mac OS X doesn't scale for big resolutions

I recently bought a monitor that can support the same high resolution as the Apple Cinema Display (2560x1440) but after using it for a few minutes I realised that nothing is readable at that size! Load windows and it's fine, but mac, no deal!

I searched around various Apple forums and it seems that everyone is saying the same thing. There are some hacks you can use to try make it a bit better but what's the point in running that high resolution if you have to hack things together to get readable text.

So what more on these new 'retina' resolutions?

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Trollface

Re: Mac OS X doesn't scale for big resolutions

Even Paul Thurrott (news editor for Windows IT Pro magazine) is of the opinion that Mac OS scales better than Windows. See the section "Better Resolution Agnosticism" in this article:

http://www.winsupersite.com/article/windows-7/what-microsoft-can-learn-from-mac-os-x-lion

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Re: Mac OS X doesn't scale for big resolutions

As you serious? I've been running two Dell 30" screens in 2560x1600 for many years now on my Mac Pro. Everything is perfectly readable. No hacks required.

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Re: Mac OS X doesn't scale for big resolutions

eh? I've been using 30" and 27" inch Apple Cinema displays for years and they're great. Don't push the screen back to get the same angle of view as before, keep it the same distance as your prior monitor and enjoy the larger desktop size - that's the whole point. The original 30" was - essentially - two monitors in one.

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Hmm... In 1979 we were shipping a full PC based 16 million point color display desktop 24 inch diagonal graphic system with CAD, PC layout and Mechanical Design and selling a 36 inch roll plotter along with it. The Display/computer/storage/keyboard package sold for less then three times the cost of Apples latest offering 33 years later. Of course Jobs had not yet ahem..licensed? Xerox PARC or even really learned what the hell a GUI was about in 1979.

Apple is way ahead of the pack.. you bet!

Just understand that the lone wolves are at least a decade ahead of Apple. Now the general population just has to learn that wolves need to feed on pieces of the fat boys carcass or the everyday user will never see real change, and the U.S. can go back to farming.

What this means is that inventors need to be able to get paid by the big companies that innovate/steal their inventions or they will dry up and disappear.

All those who claim that invention stultifies innovation have never actually created anything that is new or been involved in the process in which a Jobs or his ilk conveniently innovate someone else's ideas to slake his/her ego and thirst for power.

Things do change and it may well be that Apple has now made a place for real creators to invent and a new era of a creative Apple contributing as many new ideas as it takes but don't hold your breath.

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Happy

So about £24,000 in todays money.

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Surprisingly reasonable

I hate apple as much as the next Android/Ubuntu user but price wise this seems like a rather good deal. It's pretty difficult to find an ultrabook below the £1200 mark and you can garuntee it won't come with these features (even if you ignore the retina display) so £1500 ish sounds reasonable.

Oh wait! 1GBP = 1USD in consumer electronics world so this will cost a fortune...

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Stop

Re: Surprisingly reasonable

Not taking anything away from Apple's new kit, but cheaper ultrabooks _are_ out there. Google Shopping tells me that Toshiba Satellite Z830 can be had today for under £700 (as long as you're prepared to take your chances with an outfit called "John Lewis"). IIRC, the Reg reviewed the Z830, mentioning that it had an RJ-45 port which is why I kept it in mind.

Of course, if you want an i7 processor like the new MBP, you have to pay for it... that's not an Apple thing!

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Re: Surprisingly reasonable

"(as long as you're prepared to take your chances with an outfit called "John Lewis"). "

What's wrong with John Lewis? The John Lewis Partnership is great (they own Waitrose and their own department store chain). They're employee owned and company profits get divvied up amongst employees.

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Childcatcher

Can't one just get the panel and install it on another 15.4-inch laptop?

If one wants the 27-inch Apple LED Cinema Display with 2560-by-1440 resolution but cannot afford the $999 price tag.

One just needs to go to ebay and buy the same panel through another manufacturer.

The equivalent to the above Apple display would be the YAMAKASI CATLEAP Q270 SE 27" which is at $349 on eBay this morning.

Granted one need a Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter at $99 from Apple but for $448 that's a steal.

Give it two-three months and the same thing will be possible for laptops.

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Re: Can't one just get the panel and install it on another 15.4-inch laptop?

Or go to Hazro.co.uk - A uk company that deals in the same panels but the monitors are assembled in the UK

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Stop

Re: Can't one just get the panel and install it on another 15.4-inch laptop?

What would be the point unless you run an operating system that is truly display resolution independent? Font rendering normally is but GUI controls and icons are not often designed to be, so actually being able to click on buttons accurately might prove extremely difficult.

I use a Dell 27" 2560x1440 monitor at home with 108.8 dpi and I find that UI controls are getting a bit small compared to my old Dell 24" 1920x1200 monitor which had a 94.3 dpi. This new 15.4" 2880x1800 display has a dpi of 220.5. You're going to need software that can scale to that pixel density and still be usable!

IIRC, NeXT computers used to use Display PostScript so that it was truly resolution independent.

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Re: Can't one just get the panel and install it on another 15.4-inch laptop?

The Apple 27" panel is an LG unit and the same as used in HP's ZR 27 model. Apple's does, of course, have a few niceties included like USB audio, iSight cam/mic and Thunderbolt, but the HP has more inputs, side USBs and costs around half as much. I bought the HP for home and use the Apple at work, don't know which I prefer.

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Flame

I give up...

I've had a few heated debates in the past with my flat mate who used to work for Apple, mostly over how they can release a top spec, horrifically overpriced laptop and not include simple connection ports than are a modern day standard like HDMI. His usual reply is "Well you just have to buy an adapter" I then point out that if I've just spent £2500 on a laptop, why should I then have to spend more to get functionality that is present on my £400 13" netbook? Sure someone who spends £2500 on a laptop probably isn’t going to blink at another £40, but for not including something as obvious as a HDMI port in past models Apple infuriates me.

Where am I going with this? THEY NOW ADD A HDMI PORT AND REMOVE THE NETWORK PORT?!?

*Explodes*

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Facepalm

Re: I give up...

If you can afford a £2500 laptop, then a £25 adapter isn't going to kill you. Anyway, isn't wifi common as muck now-a-days? Why worry about a dedicated Ethernet port? They'll be cheap thunderbolt breakout boxes if you want some extras when you dock the laptop at home as a desktop replacement.

Sheeeesh, it's difficult to please people today. Apple offer an amazingly spec'd laptop that will last you a life time and still people want more.

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Re: I give up...

802.11n

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Re: I give up...

I agree in most cases Wifi is available, but sometimes it just isn’t the best option compared to an Ethernet connection. And while as i mentioned I’m sure forking over yet more money isn’t a problem for most, it still irritates me that it has to be done for a top spec £2500 machine.

It’s a very nice machine, but overshadowed for me by sheer stupidity. What more do people want you ask? Only a little bit more I’d expect, 1 Ethernet port more to be precise.

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Is it a base model?

If so, an IBM Z-Series is a base model, too

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Finally - an upgrade path!

Finally I have an upgrade path from my old Dell D820 15" 1920x1200 (WUXGA) 16:10 display.

It seems all laptop manufacturers have recently switched to the cheaper mass-produced 16:9 TV 'HD' panels. For any developers, artists and musicians this loss of vertical resolution is a huge loss. Those saying ">1080 is pointless" have clearly been won over by the 'HD' marketing droids.

I've held off up(down?)grading for this very reason but my 2Ghz Core Duo is struggling under load. Dual booting this macbook pro for desktop apps (Linux) and Cubase (OSX) seems like the perfect solution.

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Meh

I'd rather have seen a seriously long-life ARM-based machine. Will be keeping the current MacBook Pro around for at least another year and giving some money to Samsung instead.

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Coffee/keyboard

yea its pretty pricey, and you can try and compare it to an ultrabook. Thing is ultrabooks still run that piece of shit windows. Whatever version you talk about windows is shit.

espically if you are trying to do anything creative which is what the macs are aimed at, not the facebook douchbags who buy it to brag about browsing facebook from a shiny new HD mac despite spending 2k for a internet browsing machine

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"yea its pretty pricey, and you can try and compare it to an ultrabook. Thing is ultrabooks still run that piece of shit windows. Whatever version you talk about windows is shit."

Well that's a convincing and well supported argument!

"espically if you are trying to do anything creative which is what the macs are aimed at"

Last time I checked, Windows ran Photoshop perfectly well and Wacom tablets worked fine. Or are you talking about sound, because Cubase, Sibelius and I'm sure others too, all run fine on Windows. Maybe you mean 3D graphics and animation? Well, I have VUE installed on Windows 7 and though I don't have a render farm on Windows, I know I could and I bet it would be price comparable to the same on Macs (better probably). Same with Maya and basically a long list of creative software. Not to neglect a certain word processor for the writers amongst us.

So really, I have no idea what you're talking about unless you're talking about this false image that some try to present as Macs being the tool of creative people and Windows being the domain of "I'm a PC, I do spreadhsheets" trite little advertising stereotypes.

Seriously - Macs, Windows, both are fine for creative work. I don't know what you're talking about.

Or is there some magic creativity enhancing property of M

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WTF?

anything creative? lolz

troll alert. you really never passed lemming appleville in college. photoshop? runs faster on a generic pc win win7 x64 and gpu variation acceleration. premiere? same thing. vegas vs final cut pro. again. and fcp x sucks so bad that there is a backlash and most people can get refunds. wow. refunds for an apple product.

corel painter? pc. wacom interfacing, easily pc (quad monitor support is a breeze and under $400 with 2-4gb gpu support).

audio bobs? pc. usb3? pc. vast amounts of cheap generic 7200rpm drives, raid 5 even? pc. esata, pc.

so troll on about how "art" is "easier" on a mac. #derpathon.http://www.reghardware.com/Design/graphics/icons/comment/wtf_32.png

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Devil

Ever since HD became the new consumer word screen development has gone back 2 steps. I have ben using 1920*1200 for years, actually from the moment this resolution was available.

Now every vendor+dog pushes 1920x1080 because of HD video. Well I'm sorry but HD is just not HD enough.

I personally am happy that crapple are pushing a higher resolution screen, maybe the rest of these twats will get on and start shipping 2k and 4k screens....

I can't think of anything better than having 3840x2160 or higher on a nice 27" or 30" monitor.... I would make my life much easier in photoshop, gaming would actually become "extreme" (my card has 3GB vRAM so I can at least run 2560*1600 in games) watching films can be scaled up with no problems... any half baked £100+ PCIE card with 1GB VRAM can upscale a simple video stream with out even breaking a sweat....and I can display 3 or 4 things on-screen that I am working on.,,

Bring it on I say......

As for laptops...they suffered the same shit, for some reason this abundance of shite 1366x768 screens seems to be everywhere.... someone somewhere obviously has a few warehouses full of these cruddy things and is somehow STILL pursuading vendors to use them...

12" screns should have 1440*900 minimum.

14" 1600*X (X being whatever ratio for 4:3 16:9 )

15" 1920x1080 (BO(RING)G STANDARD HD)

17" at least HD (Had a Dell with a nice 1080p about 6 years ago....niiiiiicccceeeeee!)

As for HP DELL LENOVO(and IMB when it was IBM).... well.... having enterprise experience in all three vendors, I can tell you that their business models are exceptionally well made and very reliable, if a bit dull.... you get what you pay for. Buy a shite consumer all-plastic(im talking about the chassis) POS with a crappy glossy screen.... well more fool you for not investing in something a bit better....

Another act of stupidity I see all too often. Vendor wants X for SSD and RAM on laptop. X is about 50% more than the parts cost. Twat buys laptop and complains it is expensive. Why not buy the machine with the smallest cheapest setup you can get for RAM and HDD .. then install your own..... its not farking rocket science.... you can clone a drive in minutes and installing ram is as easy as putting toast in a toaster ffs.

BLEH!

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Impressive specs, would buy but I will remain content with my 2010 MBP for a few more years at least

Impressive specification in the new Mac Book Pro.

Apart from the performance, the build quality of Apple notebooks are very good - clean, light and strong. And I will remain content with my 2010 MacBookPro 17" for another 2 years at least. I'm no fanboi - I also use a Windows 7 / Ubuntu dual boot desktop and a Windows XP netbook.

By then, if I was considering replacing, in 2 years time perhaps hexacore or octocore notebooks with multi core graphics chips, 100Gbit optical Thunderbolt and even faster and bigger flash would be the new state of the art, making those who buy today's latest release as envious then as I would be of them buying this latest update out now.

One can't win at the game of having the latest, as technology marches on. The key is to accept this and be content with what one has for the useful life of the item and realise that most tasks can still be done on that, even if it involves a little more waiting.

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