Rumors pointed to an unbelievable refresh across Apple's entire MacBook line: quad-resolution Retina Displays for every single laptop, from the tiny 11-inch Air to the powerful 15-inch Pro. That didn't happen, but Apple did deliver a quad-resolution panel for a redesigned MacBook Pro. The Retina Display branding is the driving force behind the new 15-inch Pro, which isn't replacing the existing model--it's a whole new tier above the regular Pros that starts at a pretty steep price of $2199. This is where Apple will be going with the rest of its laptops eventually--for now, it's an impressive premium system with a slim unibody and some serious computing hardware.
The new MacBook Pro measures .71 inches thick and weighs 4.46 pounds, a quarter-inch thinner and full pound lighter than the regular 15-inch Pro. Of course, the new screen is the star of the show: the 15.4-inch glass display packs in more than 5 million pixels at a resolution of 2880x1800. That's 220 pixels per inch. The display is still glossy, but Apple claims they've cut the glare down by 75 percent. There's no matte screen option.
Don't worry about everything on the display becoming tiny and impossible to read: apps will be updated to account for the new resolution, and those that aren't will be pixel-doubled to scale to the new resolution. Text will be crisper, and photo and video editing will really benefit from the extra screen real estate available around hi-res media.
As expected, Apple cut out some features to create such a slim laptop. The optical drive and Ethernet port are both gone, but Apple's selling Thunderbolt adapters for Ethernet and Firewire. USB 3.0 ports are in, MagSafe's seen an upgrade to a thinner power port, and an HDMI port now sits beside the card reader.
Internally, the new MacBook Pro is like an Air/Pro hybrid, with quad-core processing power and a dedicated GPU but solid state storage in place of a slower, cheaper hard drive.
The base model comes equipped with a 2.3 GHz quad-core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of dedicated video memory. Apple predicts 7 hours of battery life across all its systems, including the new Retina Display Pro. The system comes equipped with a 256 GB solid state drive by default, which is upgradeable to a crazy 768 GB (but only in the top-tier model, which starts with a 512 GB SSD) for $500 extra.
The Pro is upgradeable to a 2.7 GHz quad-core processor and 16GB of RAM, in case $2199 isn't expensive enough. And the rest of the expected Apple features are on board as well: 720p FaceTime camera, 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, dual microphones and a backlit keyboard. Welcome to the future of the MacBook.