Is the New MacBook Pro Worth Your Time (or Your Money)?

Generally speaking, the event includes announcements of all-new Apple products - from iPhones to MacBooks - and the 2012 conference did not disappoint. Apple has once again changed the game with the release of the brand new MacBook Pro. But what does the new iteration offer, and more importantly, is it worth the $2000+ price tag?

Retina Display comes to the MacBook

There's no doubt that the biggest new feature of the MacBook Pro, and the one that's got everyone buzzing, is the new Retina Display. This 15-inch MacBook Pro is the first of the line to include such a screen. Previous iterations have had very high-res screens, but never high enough to meet Apple's own definition of 'retina' (around 300 pixels per inch). The resolution is now 2880x1800 pixels, making this laptop easily the one with the best screen on the market. To give you an idea of scale, that's about four times the number of pixels on an HDTV - so images and text will look phenomenal. Although it’s technically just Apple’s word for it, the term ‘retina’ means that the human eye cannot perceive individual pixels when viewing the screen at a normal usage distance. That means there should be no more pixelated images, text, or movies (depending on the media you’re viewing, of course).

A new form factor

The new MacBook has gotten a little slimmer and a touch lighter too. The 15-inch Retina Display model is now just 0.71 inches thick and weighs in at around 4.4 pounds. For those who've used a MacBook Pro in the past, that represents a difference of around 10% - which would be quite noticeable for previous owners. The reason for this loss of weight and thickness? Apple has chosen to remove the optical drive completely. That means no more burning CDs or watching DVDs. Whether this is a good or bad move on Apple's part remains to be seen. The actual shape and finish of the MacBook are almost identical to always, except that now many of the parts are proprietary, meaning that repairs could be tricky down the line.

New on the inside

It's not just the outside that's got an overhaul. The new 15-inch model has a 2.3GhZ quad core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. While the latter may seem a little on the low side, there are models available with faster processors, more storage and more RAM. But of course, you'll have to pay a premium if you want these features right off the bat. Apple has also improved the fans inside the MacBook Pro, such that they're now almost whisper quiet. They've changed the position of the fan blades so that they're asymmetric, which apparently alters the frequency and lowers noise levels. The vents are carefully positioned around the sides of the laptop and induct cool air to keep the machine working at top efficiency regardless of the weather. The battery life of the new MacBook Pro is also apparently improved, with Apple touting seven hours of use from a full charge - again, a very impressive stat if it translates to the real world.

The verdict

So should you shell out for a brand new MacBook Pro from the 2012 line? Well, that all depends on your budget. On the one hand, if you’re willing to spend over $2000 (or £1500) on a brand new laptop, then you’ll be getting a world class machine that, at present, no other laptop can match. Just be sure to arrange an insurance policy to cover it! If you’ve already got iPhone 4S insurance, for example, you could likely add your new MacBook to the same policy.

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one of the new MacBook Pro models, don’t forget that these types of laptop retain a lot of value (like most Apple products, for that matter). That means that if the day comes that you think you’ve had enough of your new MacBook Pro – or you need to cash in your current Mac – you’ll be able to sell your laptop here on, and you’ll get a great price for it too. In the meantime, though, enjoy Apple’s latest addition – it really is a thing of beauty.

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