I plunked down $2,300 and change for a 13 inch retina MacBook Pro yesterday (256 GB flash storage, plus Apple Care and a USB Superdrive).
I must have been one of the first to order the computer on Apple's web site, since I kept refreshing the closed-down store page until it popped up all functional, with the new goodies -- iPad Mini, new iMac, and my lusted-for laptop -- ready for purchase.
Surprising. Because if I believed myself, I never would have thought that I'd end up doing what I just did. Consider...
Last June I anguished about whether to buy a 15 inch retina MacBook Pro or a 13 inch MacBook Air.
A few days later I'd come up with reasons to choose a basic MacBook Pro over the new retina model.
After a few days more I was talking myself into why I should buy a 15 inch retina MacBook Pro.
In August I explained why I wasn't going to wait for a 13 inch retina MacBook Pro.
Yet here I am in late October, eagerly waiting for Apple to ship me a replacement for my dearly beloved, yet now dated, three year old 13 inch MacBook Pro. Obviously I changed my mind -- after changing my mind several other times after the 15 inch retina MacBook Pro made its debut in June.
I played around with the 15 inch'er several times at an Apple Store in suburban Portland's Bridgeport Village. I liked it, but I couldn't fall in love with it. At the risk of sounding sexist, it was like dating a woman twenty pounds overweight after enjoying the company of someone pleasingly svelte.
Everytime I touched the bigger retina laptop, she (oops) it seemed just too damn large.
The extra real estate to the left and right of the keyboard struck me as excessive. And no matter how I tried to convince myself that I needed a larger screen, I recalled how the 13 inch display I'd used for three years suited me just fine.
So whenever I was tempted to call an Apple Store employee over and say "I want to buy a 15 inch retina MacBook Pro," the words wouldn't leave my mouth no matter how loudly they echoed in my brain. I'd go home, then daily look for Internet gossip about a 13 inch retina MacBook Pro.
Gossip which became more believable in October. Supposed sightings of the smaller retina laptop were reported. I decided to wait until the iPad Mini release party on October 23, this being the most likely date for a 13 inch retina MacBook Pro announcement.
I'm glad I ended up ordering a 13 inch retina model. That size just seems, well, fitting to me.
My current 13 inch MacBook Pro fits nicely in my backpack. The retina replacement will be a pound lighter and 27% smaller in cubic inches (109 vs. 80 cubic inches). That'll give me room to store the superdrive and an ethernet adapter the occasional times I need those devices -- which are built into my current MacBook, but were left out of the new retina MacBook Pros.
Reviews of the recently released 13 inch'er are scant. A round-up of initial impressions can be read here. But I didn't feel like I needed to wait for detailed reviews to order a 13 inch retina MacBook Pro. It felt right to do this. After it arrives, I'll have a couple of weeks to change my mind.
From what I've read, the geeks who've left comments about the 13 inch little sister of the well-received 15 inch retina laptop generally aren't wild about it. Many seem to be gamers, or 3-D afficionados, who don't like the graphics capability in the smaller machine. Plus, they think it's overpriced.
To which I reply, that's no big deal to me.
Since I prefer a 13 inch laptop to a 15 inch laptop, I don't mind Apple pricing the 13 inch retina MacBook Pro a bit higher, proportionately, than the 15 inch machine -- when compared with the non-retina models. And I doubt that I'll ever need more processing power than what the model I just bought offers.
I loved the look of the retina display when I tried out the 15 inch model at an Apple Store. I'd bring along my basic 13 inch MacBook Pro, set it beside the retina display, then think "ugh!" when I looked at my computer.
The display always had seemed pleasingly sharp and clear. But I didn't know what I was missing until I saw the retina screen. Being a blogger and an author, I spend a lot of time staring at words on-screen. Letters look fine on my current computer; they look way better on a retina display.
My 64 year old eyes will appreciate that.
Spending about $300 for a retina display and some other benefits over a 13 inch MacBook Air with a 256 GB flash drive is well worth it to me. If I keep my new laptop for three years, that's $100 a year, 27 cents a day, for the pleasure of looking at much better looking text and images.
I put a quarter in the tip jar at Starbucks whenever I get a grande Pike Place. So I feel fine paying that much daily to myself for a beautifully designed new 13 inch Apple laptop with a beautiful retina display.
Apple makes great products. My three year old MacBook Pro has performed almost flawlessly. A few days ago I closed the cover to put it to sleep, which dislodged it from the support of a slanted laptop stand that I keep it on for a better typing position.
My frantic late-night attempt to catch the sliding computer failed. Crash! It dropped in a free fall from a four foot high kitchen counter onto a hard tile floor. My wife yelled, "Is your computer OK?" "I bet it is," I assured her.
I was right. Apple knows how to make computers that work reliably. Even after being dropped. I'm looking forward to my 13 inch retina MacBook Pro being as enjoyable to use as my old laptop.
Update: here's a review that calls the 13 inch retina MacBook Pro Apple's best laptop. Naturally, I agree.
As it stands with Apple’s current laptop line-up, the 13-inch MacBook Pro comes out smelling like roses. It doesn’t have the raw horsepower of the 15-inch Pro, and it doesn’t have the extreme thinness of either Air, but it does have the overall best value. With its respectable internals, mid-range weight, and brilliant screen, the 13-inch Pro is simply the best laptop Apple sells now. A week ago, that wasn’t the case. The previous version of the 13-inch was good, but the new version is fantastic. Unless you have very niche and specific needs, this is the laptop you want to have.