Today Apple released a 15” Retina quality MacBook Pro – it’s absolutely gorgeous from what I’ve seen in the promotional images and camera shots. Whilst dazzled by the specifications of its new 5.1 million pixel IPS display, I almost missed the part where Apple quietly gave the 17” model the boot from its line-up.
I’ve owned numerous MacBook Pros over the years, some in their 15” configuration, and others in their 17”. I concede I do shed a small tear for this gargantuan display, as I have always loved having the extra pixels on screen to work with, even if it’s something as simple as watching a movie. This is mostly because I have long had a MacBook Pro as my sole computer – although that seems to be changing, what with my frequent iPhone and iPad usage these days.
Goodbye Old Friend
The 17” MacBook Pro has long been the favoured workhorse of a portable computer for video and photography nerds. What better way to look at that kind of content when you’re on the road and need as much screen real estate as possible whilst performing your editing. That being said, the 17” MacBook Pro most likely served such a tiny slice of the high-end market, that Apple simply said “screw it.” One only need look at today’s silent “update” to the already aging Mac Pro to see where Apple’s priorities lie. It’s very easy to say they are merely catering to the pro-sumer market, yet I don’t see it that way. I see Apple creating the worlds most powerful and portable notebooks, with the additional flexibility of being able to connect to amazing Thunderbolt displays. You aren’t losing a whole lot with the new Retina MacBook Pros. Sure, perhaps a 17” Retina display would be amazing for some, but I’m sure even those die hard users (such as myself) will come around and just embrace Thunderbolt I/O. It gives you the exact kind of flexibility of storage expansion when you only need it. My biggest complaint about running a 17” display at 1920×1200 resolution is that I still can’t fit the iPad Retina simulator in its entirety. Even with thought the 15” Retina display is physically smaller in size, edge to edge, what you lose in physical size you gain in pixel density.
One other aspect which is entirely plausible is that a 17” Retina display would be prohibitively expensive. The Retina 15” model is already several hundred dollars more than the regular version ($2199 Vs $1799), so you can do the math on what it might cost for a 17” display.
When you factor in a combination of an unattainable price point plus a small segment of the market, one can posit that Apple may have felt the 17” model was no longer reasonable to keep around any longer – they would be right.