back to article Apple unsheathes MacBook 13-incher

When Apple released the inelegantly named 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display this June, every Cupertino-watcher knew that it was only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped and its 13-inch sibling got the same retinal treatment – and on Tuesday it did. No surprise. The 13-inch version was first rumored mere days …


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  1. Si 1

    The only snag...

    ... is it only has Intel's HD4000 graphics chip on board. The 15" model has an overclocked Nvidia 650M which is at fairly decent for games (although not ideal for running at the full resolution). I can't see many games being able to run at "retina" resolution with Intel's piddly graphics on board on the 13" model.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: The only snag...

      While that's a valid criticism, there's something of a chicken and egg situation backing it up — the Mac rarely gets triple A titles at the same time as other platforms, giving it an ability to lag in GPU power. Of the current Mac App Store top 10, the [budget] ports of the Grand Theft Auto 3 series are probably the most GPU taxing. Widening the net to the top 25 brings a couple of Call of Duty titles into consideration but neither a more recent initial release than 2010.

      So there's empirical evidence that the GPU is more than good enough for the majority of Apple's customers, even though it's not about to attract any serious gamers.

      1. FutureShock999

        Re: The only snag...

        But there are always some gamers that run Boot Camp for PC games.

        But overall, the lack of dedicated graphics chip makes me very happy that I splurged on the 15" MPBwRD in June. I am sure this is more portable, and I do travel a lot. But they are both so thin and light now that honestly it just hasn't been an issue with even the 15" model. It is, no kidding, the best piece of technology that I have ever purchased, and when you consider that I bought my first computer in 1981 (yes, an Ohio Scientific C1P!) and have owned quite a number since, that may say something.

    2. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: The only snag... @ Si 1

      You're talking actual Gaming. right? You know.... the bit of entertainment where people use watercooling and linked GPU's on triple monitor ( or rather small-to-medium sized theatre set) setups.

      The only use a laptop/notebook has in that arena is as a standalone voicebox or reference device which happens to fit on your desk while not interfering with your machine pumping out FPS...

    3. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Re: The only snag...

      I would have thought the big snag was the brain dead decision not to include a network port. Why would anyone want to have a laptop without an Ethernet port?

      I'd be tempted to ignore my loathing for Apple Inc as a company and buy one of their laptops as they seem to be the only people of the market fitting decent res screens, but even on a baby laptop a can't live without a network port.

      And no, I don't want a dongly adapter piece of tat, thank you.

      1. Silverburn

        Re: The only snag...

        For consumers, I doubt the ethernet is a big loss - most people use wifi, and only the towers/gaming rigs have cables hanging off them.

        For corporates (who *do* use ethernet), it's not a big deal either - Apples corporate penetration is the exact square root of jack shit and they know it, so no great loss there.

        1. Lusty Silver badge

          Re: The only snag...

          We have a customer who put wifi in specifically to allow Apple products on the network because the CEO bought one. This isn't a small company either, it's a very secure Canary Wharf type company. Wifi only is fine in this day and age unless you need the bandwidth, and not many people do need gigabit. Those that do can use the dongle.

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

            Re: The only snag...

            No nVidia = no CUDA = no use to me. I also MUCH prefer ethernet, as I routinely do need bandwidth. Real pity as this machine ticks a lot of boxes for me. It looks really nice, I love the high resolution, and light weight. My current lightweight (13", 1.69kg) really needs replacement, but I need a machine with nVidia graphics and ethernet. Using a dongle is a pain, in my view.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The only snag...

          Plenty of them in use at Google.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The only snag...

        Most people use wifi or do not see an issue leaving a small and relatively cheap adapter on their Ethernet cable.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Re: The only snag...

          "Most people use wifi or do not see an issue leaving a small and relatively cheap adapter on their Ethernet cable."

          The problem is not that I mind having an adapter on my ethernet cable at home (though it is a potential problem when someone detaches it to use their native port, the adapter can get lost). My problem is when I want to use ethernet elsewhere (visiting other institutes, e.g.). It is just another thing to pack, no deal breaker, but still a bit of a hassle. If the things had a decent graphics card, I could certainly live with an ethernet dongle.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The only snag...

            Ethernet adapter something of a red herring for this discussion, at worst a minor nuisance. The low performance graphics is the deal breaker for those of us who have a requirement for HD, shame this model seems priced for the high margin bragging rights market.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Re: The only snag...

        maybe it's part of the apple's philosophy "think different". The reason not to have a built-in network port might be to allow both left handers and right handers to decide where to have that pesky network cable. I sure am annoyed on some customer laptops to have the cable right next to my mouse. With the usb adapters on my mba I can decide on which side to have the cable salad.

    4. Chet Mannly

      Re: The only snag...

      "I can't see many games being able to run at "retina" resolution with Intel's piddly graphics on board"

      Plus it hampers the machine for photoshop use (you lose many of the real-time previews etc when using piddly inbuilt graphics).

      $1699 is a lot of cash for a 13" base model with no inbuilt graphics, and a massive number of pixels to drive...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The only snag...

      Relying on wireless?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not a Retina MacBook Air?

    If they were willing to dispense with the optical drive, wouldn't using the Air's form factor have made more sense? It is, after all, the ultimate in terms of thin and light.

    1. Filthysock

      Re: Why not a Retina MacBook Air?

      wouldn't the massive resolution screen require a bigger battery and hence a bigger case than the air?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HD 4000 is alright, used in Win7. I'm sure it'l run well a good number of good games, when in Windows, if not the latest Crysis-equivilent at full whatsit.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Games are not the only reason for wanting graphics clout. Physics simulation and 3D visualisation of medical data (MRI and CT scans) require more grunt. For many people the HD 4000 might be OK, but there are those whose work depends on graphics power.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        One might suggest that doing either Physics simulations and 3D vis on an ultra portable is the wrong tool for the job......

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          >For many people the HD 4000 might be OK, but there are those whose work depends on graphics power.

          And those people buy a mobile workstation. Or even this thing's big brother.

  4. AfternoonTea

    13 inches? Nothing to worry about here..

    1. Silverburn

      Never mind the length, feel the...

      oh never mind.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The smaller laptop was always popular with the Mac crowd. The earlier Powerbooks for example.

  5. Shane McCarrick

    Price- eek!

    $1700? For a 13"'er? I don't care that it looks like the bees knees- the guys in Cupertino mustn't have read the news lately- there is a recession on! Wifi only and no optical drive- so, you've to lug a dongle and a drive with you too? Thought we were past that. And the $1700 model is only the 128Gb SSD version?

    You know- this announcement has probably made my mind up for me. Galaxy S3- here I come..........

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Price- eek!

      Oh just shut up. Seriously - do you hang out in Apple stores just to tell them what you aren't going to buy?

      "See that? I'm not buying that. In fact I'm going to go and buy an S3! NER! See that? I'm not buying that EITHER! Take THAT Apple! Oh that that! That too. And I'm not having one of THOSE - no way. Ha ha - tossers."

  6. Chris Thomas Alpha

    price comparisons

    just to do a little price comparisons, I checked on the spanish/euro, british and american websites

    The spec I wanted was the 256GB SSD, 2.9Ghz option which you have to click a few buttons to get

    US: $2,199.00

    UK: £1,858.99

    ES: €2.279,00

    however, $2,199.00 in euros using is "2,199.00 USD = 1,699.55 EUR"

    that means the price difference between the US macbook and the ES macbook is €579.45 !!!! Thats almost a quarter of the euro price of the macbook.....

    However, it's worth considering that on the US store, it doesn't mention any sales taxes, maybe this is because in the US you're supposed to do this yourself with the IRS? Although I don't know how their tax system works, so I'm not sure why the prices don't appear with any sales tax.

    1. hexx

      Re: price comparisons

      you're forgetting that UK/EU prices include VAT, US prices don't include sales tax - that could give you your price difference.

      1. Chet Mannly

        Re: price comparisons

        "US prices don't include sales tax "

        Because not all states charge sales tax.

        Besides, none of them charge 25% sales tax

        This is just typical greedy Apple - the reason I bought my Apple laptop from the states. Even paying Australia's 10% GST it was still $400 cheaper.

    2. Andrew Lobban

      Re: price comparisons

      Yes, you have to add the tax which is different in each state. If you take that US price and convert it straight to £'s, at todays exchange rate it gives a cost of £1375.95 but you have to add the VAT at 20% which then gives £1651.14. So on that particular example it would appear that in the UK we get shafted for an extra £200+. Of course import taxes are different in each country as well as distribution costs, and in general, almost all products carry a premium over US prices. Quite depressing really although many European countries are even worse off than in that regard than the UK. I'd be surprised if there was any substantial difference in actual profits per sale to Apple on a country basis, the prices reflect charges in that particular climate.

    3. Chris Thomas Alpha

      Re: price comparisons

      why did I get 4 people thumbing me down? I don't think my comment was trolling or causing mischief.

      I think sometimes people don't understand the rating system, it's not to abuse by squashing comments you don't approve of, it's to rate comments which are clearly aimed to dislodge or cause the conversation to become derailed.

      I think the information I put was conductive to enhancing the conversation with some price info, not the contrary.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: price comparisons

        I think people downvoted you because your post was incorrect and didn't take into account VAT and import duties.

        Also the voting system is so people can upvote posts they agree with, and downvote posts they disagree with. Clearly 4 people (now 5) disagree with the incorrect information in your post. Want some cheese with your whine?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Chris Thomas Alpha

          Re: price comparisons

          the information was correct, in fact if you read my last statement, it states that perhaps sales taxes are the reason for the discrepancy and asks a clarification.

          would you like your cheese with your reading lessons? If you're gonna try to burn people, at least try to not look stupid at the same time.

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Is Apple becoming Oracle?

    I am currently on my second MacBook having migrated from "Windows" hardware to an x86 MacBook and then up to a Pro when the time came for a new machine. The time for a new machine has come around again but I am not really interested in any of the new offerings and more than a little put off by the jump in pricing and will, therefore, be holding off on the purchase. As Apple is selling more of its notebooks than ever it must be doing something right but I do wonder how many other people feel that Apple is starting to gouge its customers. We don't mind paying a premium for an excellent combination of hardware and software but we do tend put a figure on that premium.

    1. Chris Thomas Alpha

      Re: Is Apple becoming Oracle?

      yeah I would agree with this, I waiting since july with a busted screen on my macbook, suffering to get the 13 inch retina version when it came out.

      then when it arrives, it's 2,200 euros for the 256GB ssd + 2.9Ghz option........whaaaa....

      only 256GB ssd??

      dual core cpu??

      no nvidia graphics??

      the 500GB SSD is +500 euros!!!

      ok, 2,200 euros is a lot to ask for such a configuration, i'm seriously considering waiting until next july until the prices drop, I feel the price is just too high to pay for a laptop....retina display or not, I dont think it's worth what is effectively a 1,000 euro increase over the macbook pro without retina...

      I know the SSD adds to the cost, but I'm not willing to pay that much of a price jump, I can't justify that to myself without knowing I'm lying about how I feel about it.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Is Apple becoming Oracle?

        Drives are commodity anyway and probably best left to shops to install. I've a Seagate SSD/magnetic combo which I put in to my existing machine. It's pretty fast but I find that Mac OS parallel read/write performance is dreadful and best not to mention the 5 second waits that a call to my external, firewire backup drive imposes on everything including the UI. Have they got some of the single-threaded OS/2 Presentation Manager in there?

    2. Chris D Rogers

      Re: Is Apple becoming Oracle?

      Well, for Apple's share price to reach the magical US$1,000 mark they have to gouge their perceived rich client-base as much as they can - indeed, Apple now equates to "less for more" and all form over substance/ utility.

      All their announcements Yesterday were a disappointment and an example of the above, it may look nice, but boy you have to pay for it, and any decent spec'd machine costs an arm and a leg - so effectively, rather than being a Computer company, or mass consumer business, Apple seems to be focusing on Ivy League students and the 1%'ers with more money than sense - particularly given the cult of Apple is all in vogue at the moment.

      however, whilst this may be true today, I remember when MicroSoft was in vogue and could gouge to its hearts content - my money's with the Asian-manufacturers, specifically Samsung and Asus - its only a matter of time before Apple is brought down a peg or two - perhaps then they'll realise that its consumer-base is actually multi-faceted and not all who purchase its products are the kids of rich millionaires or catwalk models - this is a shame, because at the turn of the century Apple was a great company that actually used to listen to its hardcore consumers - not anymore I'm afraid - it resembles and behaves more like MicroSoft at its worse.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Is Apple becoming Oracle?

        - my money's with the Asian-manufacturers, specifically Samsung and Asus - its only a matter of time before Apple is brought down a peg or two

        Yes, whoever is first to market with Android on a lightweight ARM notebook is likely to do some very brisk business.

    3. Chet Mannly

      Re: Is Apple becoming Oracle?

      "I do wonder how many other people feel that Apple is starting to gouge its customers."

      Apple started gouging its customers in approximately 1985, this is nothing new.

  8. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

    "Gone is the FireWire port..." AND THE ETHERNET!

    ... who cares about FireWire, yet you failed to notice that they've dropped the Gigabit Ethernet port?

    No wired Ethernet makes this a toy for café poseurs. I've a MacBook Air already, and strict WiFi security policies make it near useless in certain locations; this just extends that stupidity up to the "Professional" (heh) model range. Professional what, exactly?

    Toshiba are able to fit a full-size Ethernet socket into an Ultrabook that's 200g lighter than a MacBook Air, so why can't Apple do it in a full-size laptop?

    And while I'm aware that you can adapt the Thunderbolt port into an Ethernet socket using a dongle, I'd rather have something that won't go missing during the near-endless procession of airport bag searches that constitute modern busines travel, and being a special Apple proprietary connector(*), you can't just call into a MediaMarkt/BestBuy/PCWorld and grab a replacement.

    The best thing Apple ever did in hardware was to ditch the SCSI cables and Mini-DIN RS-422 serial plugs and go with industry standards. Seems that lesson has been wearing off...

    (* until everyone uses it, it doesn't matter if it's an open standard)

  9. fourThirty

    Rip off...

    So, from the Apple UK site...

    Entry point to owning a the cheapest Mac laptop (Macbook Air) is £850 for an 11.6" ultrabook with a meagre 64gb of HDD space...

    Entry point to regular Mac laptop (Macbook Pro) is £999 with a 5400 rpm hard drive and only 4gb RAM

    And now, the cheapest iMac available starts at £1099 for the 21.5" version....

    Each one of these machines is underspecced for the price, but built with limited upgradability and deisgned to be binned and replaced when it no longer meets requirements. (Which is likely to be fairly soon given the limited specs)

    Now they release a 13" laptop with an ultra high resolution, but hugely underpowered by the onboard graphics, with an entry price of £1449....

    I don't even know how to sum this post up, but this trick of removing the cheaper product lines and making the entry level pricing so high is quite frankly ridiculous. The stupid thing is, it won't stop all the students from blowing their entire student grant on a brand new grossly overpriced shiny. (How else would the be able to use twitter and facebook) No wonder they were complaining about tuition fees!

  10. The New Turtle

    This could be the best thing that ever happened to the presently stagnant ultrabook market, if only they can put professional screens into them instead of stupid consumer 1366X768 jobs.

  11. phuzz Silver badge

    I'm not really a fan of Apple, or their iDevices, but damn, that thing is shiny...

  12. Orv Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Optical drive

    Losing the optical drive doesn't bother me all that much...Apple's "Superdrives" consistently seem to fail after a few years, so I expect I'll have better luck with an external one. My suspicion is that their slot-loading design causes the drives to eventually end up full of dust.

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