Musings on the Latest Apple MacBooks

 

The Apple WWDC day is over. Verge magazine eloquently talked about lasers and unicorns. And to an extent their expectation materialised with those new Retina MacBook Pros: 15inch Retina display, lighter that the current 13inch Macbook, at 2Kg? Amazing is an understatement.

The presentation was choke-full with refreshes and iterations of flagship products. And it featured the least amount of fillers (no guest speakers or 3rd parties) than most previous Apple presentations I remember.

The new Macbook Air addresses the nagging issues I faced with my current Air. Yes, 8GB RAM availability and faster chip sets felt painfully overdue.

Retina Display

retinal display

While the Retina Macbook Pro is revolutionary, it feels unfinished. Why did Apple ship it ahead of the release of Mountain Lion? Last year’s Macbook refreshes coincided with the Lion refresh. Confusing.

Only a day after launch, Apple pushed updates to the new Retina Macbooks, which apparently sport a modified version of Mac OS to handle Retina graphics. Confusing.

 

Oh and did I mention the price tag (£1800 to £2300 and upwards)? Or the 3 to 4 weeks dispatch time? Forbidding.

Market Skimming Pricing

An approach under which a producer sets a high price for a new high-end product (such as an expensive perfume) or a uniquely differentiated technical product (such as one-of-a-kind software or a very advanced computer). Its objective is to obtain maximum revenue from the market before substitutes products appear. After that is accomplished, the producer can lower the price drastically to capture the low-end buyers and to thwart the copycat competitors.

If you look at the rest of the Macbook lineup, confusion sets in. Retina vs conventional screens? Air vs Pro? Thin vs Thick?

The Apple laptop line clearly is in transition. I expect them to offer a wider selection of Retina laptops in 2013, at lower price points. Non-Retina laptops will be phased off.

In other words there is no reason to invest in a Macbook right now. The MacBook Air update was only incremental, and I bet it’s a matter of time before it gets a Retina refresh too.

The Retina MacBook pro is the avant guard of an entirely new generation of laptops. As Apple says—and reviewers so far agree—it truly is the best laptop Apple has ever made.

But it stands on its own right now. Most apps are not yet upgraded for the extra pixels. Mountain Lion is not finished either. Hardware wise, the new slimmer MagSafe 2 adapter requires a converter in order to work with the current Thunderbolt display cable. Confusing

Overall, Apple is making great progress with their line-up. However I’m not sure the Apple WWDC anouncements mean much for non-developers. IO6 will not ship until Autumn, Mountain Lion won’t ship for another month.

If you don’t desperately need a new laptop right now, my advice is to wait. Retina laptops will be cheaper (and better) in 2013. If you are in the market for a new laptop, then I’d go for the Macbook Air, which is faster, cheaper and mature by now.