Reviews of the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display always seem to focus on whether it's a wise purchase, especially compared with its 15-inch sibling or other MacBook models without the Retina display. This approach, however, doesn't make much sense.
If you 're looking for a flawlessly-constructed ultraportable with the sharpest possible screen, this is it. If you want a bigger screen, look elsewhere. If you can skip the Retina display, do so. TV commercials like to talk about people who are "uncompromising," but that's exactly who this product targets -- not the pragmatic.
At 0.75 inches thick and 3.57 pounds, the 13-inch Retina-equipped MacBook Pro packs more than 4 million pixels into its display (2560 x 1600 resolution), which is nearly twice the number found in an HD television. At 227 pixels-per-inch, the human eye supposedly can't distinguish individual pixels at normal viewing distances, so images look sharp and text looks like a printed page.
The super-sharp display isn't a touch screen, in case you were wondering, but it does employ IPS technology for a 178-degree wide viewing angle, plus has 75 percent less reflection and 28 percent higher contrast.
Flash storage is standard, making disk reads and writes up to four times faster than a traditional rotating hard drive. Also standard is a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5 processor with the option to choose faster 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 CPU, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 8GB of 1600 MHz memory, and up to 768GB of flash storage.
Standard equipment includes two Thunderbolt and two USB 3.0 ports. An HDMI port offers quick connectivity to an HDTV, and the notebook also features a FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones, improved speakers, three-stream 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a MagSafe 2 power port.
Apple claims the battery will last up to 7 hours and sustain the unit in standby mode for 30 or more days. A new Power Nap feature in OS X Mountain Lion automatically refreshes Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, and Photo Stream while the unit is asleep. If the notebook is plugged-in, it even downloads software updates and backs up using Time Machine.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is available with a 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, 8GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage starting at $1,699. With 256GB of flash storage, the starting price is $1,999.
Configure-to-order options include faster dual-core Intel Core i7 processors and flash storage up to 768GB. For more information, visit Apple.com.
Apple creates the thinnest all-in-one PC imaginable
Everything today seems to focus on portable computing -- notebooks, tablets, and smart phones. Some folks, however, still need a desktop PC to do their work, but they want to avoid "equipment sprawl."
Remember those hideous computer desks designed to house a tower, a CRT monitor, keyboard, mouse, and a printer? Thankfully, most have gone to particle board heaven. Today, all-in-one PCs provide stylish, stationary computing in minimal space, and none is better-looking than the new Apple iMac.
With third generation Intel quad-core processors, powerful NVIDIA graphics and new storage option called Fusion Drive (see below), Apple says that the new iMac is the most advanced desktop Apple has ever made. The claim doesn't seem too far-fetched, either.
To begin, the new iMac's form factor is unbelievably thin, thanks to an aluminum and glass enclosure constructed using "friction-spun welding." Overall volume has been reduced 40 percent, and the screen edges measure just 5 mm thin.
Also new is a completely re-engineered display that reduces reflection by 75 percent yet maintains brilliant color and contrast. The screen isn't a touch screen, but the cover glass is fully laminated to the LCD and an anti-reflective coating is applied using a high-precision plasma deposition process.
Computing power is provided by third generation quad-core Intel Core i5 processors that can be upgraded to Core i7. The latest NVIDIA GeForce processors deliver up to 60 percent faster performance for advanced gaming and graphics intensive apps.
Every new iMac now comes standard with 8GB of 1600 MHz memory and a 1TB hard drive. This can be increased to up to 32GB of memory and a new 3TB hard drive, or 768GB of flash storage for faster performance. There's no optical drive, but with two Thunderbolt and four USB 3.0 ports, the new iMac delivers even greater expandability and support for high-performance peripherals.
Fusion Drive provides the performance of flash storage and the capacity of a hard drive. It combines 128GB of flash with a standard 1TB or 3TB hard drive to create a single storage volume that intelligently manages files to optimize read and write performance. Fusion Drive adapts to the way you use your iMac and automatically moves the files and apps you use most often to flash storage to enable faster performance and quicker access.
The new iMac ships with OS X Mountain Lion, which includes iCloud, Messages, Notification Center, AirPlay Mirroring, Dictation, Game Center and the enhanced security of Gatekeeper.
The 21.5-inch iMac is available with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.2 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M for a suggested retail price of $1,299. With a 2.9 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M for a suggested retail price of $1,499.
The 27-inch iMac is available with a 2.9 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M for a suggested retail price of $1,799. With a 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX for a suggested retail price of $1,999.
Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online. For more information, visit Apple.com.