If you were impressed with the 2012 MacBook Pro retina display on the 15 inch model but didn’t want the extra size or price tag, your wait will be over in a few months. Apple plans to launch a retina display upgrade to the 13 inch MacBook Pro in October.
Apple has not yet announced whether or not the retina display will be part of an update, or offered as an optional upgrade on a late 2012 release.
As Apple continues to streamline their MacBook Pro line, other upgrades and changes are also planned for the best selling 13 inch model.
“Like the next-generation Retina display MacBook Pro, the 13-inch variety is expected to lack an optical disc drive and rely solely on solid-state flash memory storage,” according to Apple Insider.
Apple’s move to solid state hard drives follows a trend being set by the next generation of PC Ultrabooks, which are aimed at competing with the MacBook Air, and other slimmer, more powerful, Ivy Bridge-driven laptops.
In an effort to keep a tight rein on the supply chain and flash storage technology for MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads, Apple bought their own solid state hard drive company earlier this year.
“Apple reportedly acquired the Israeli flash memory design firm Anobit, in a deal that cost the company $500 million dollars…The acquisition is one of the most expensive for Apple since it acquired NeXT in 1996…and should cement the company's strategic shift to solid-state flash storage for its products,” according to Arstechnica.
PC makers are also coming after the MacBook Pro retina technology with their own version of ultra high resolution displays.
The Asus Zenbook took the Ultrabook market by storm last year, and promises to give the MacBook Pro a run for the money with a 2012 upgrade to an 1080p IPS display in the Zenbook Prime.
The Zenbook Prime IPS display is “easily the best display I’ve ever seen ASUS use and arguably one of the best displays ever deployed in a notebook,” according to Ultrabook News.
It could be argued in the past that few would have compared any PC display to a MacBook Pro. But all that is changing now. PC makers are not only in a better position to compete with Apple retina display MacBook Pro’s, some, like the Asus Zenbook Prime, are poised to beat Apple for high resolution laptop displays.
Ivy Bridge processors with Intel 4000 integrated graphics seem to be leveling the playing field between Apple and PC Ultrabooks. The good news for consumers is that the race may be for better quality, rather than cheaper prices.
The MacBook Pro retina display 15 inch model that was announced earlier this month, carries a starting price tag of $2,199. When the 13 inch MacBook Pro is released in October, it is likely to be more affordable than its 15 inch counterpart, perhaps in the range of the Asus Zenbook Prime, which ranges between $1,100 and $1,500, depending on optional upgrades.
The 2011 death of Apple creator, has bought changes to the Cupertino-based computer giant. Whether or not new leadership at Apple will significantly alter the direction or strategy of the company is yet to be seen.
There is little doubt that Apple is taking the MacBook Pro to a new level by adding their retina display to the 13 inch model. And it will undoubtedly make it the standard for all Apple products at some point in the future. That is - until the next best display technology comes along.