Apple's new MacBook Pro is inspiring a noisy chorus of superlatives: Apple's Phil Schiller called it the "most beautiful MacBook Pro" ever made. Sam Biddle at Gizmodo one-upped that with "[it's] the most amazing laptop we've ever seen." And over at Slate, Farhad Manjoo says it's "the greatest, and perhaps final, version of the personal computer." With a host of new features like a super-lean chassis, dazzling innards, and a startlingly crisp Retina display, the new MacBook Pro sparkles brightly enough to give even curmudgeonly anti-Apple folks gadget-lust. But the groundbreaking laptop does have its share of downsides. Here, five things you should know before you hit your local Apple Store (and endure a four-week waiting period for the in-demand machine):
1. It's difficult to repair
The editors of do-it-yourself website iFixit tested the new MacBook Pro for "repairability" and gave it the lowest score possible: 1 out of 10. A teardown revealed proprietary screws nearly exclusive to Apple, liberal use of glue, and expensive parts that will be vexing to replace — especially the costly new Retina display. "The new MacBook Pro is virtually non-upgradeable," Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, tells Computerworld. It's the first MacBook Pro that won't be unable to adapt to future advances in memory and storage technology. "This is, to date, the least-repairable laptop we've taken apart."
2. It's expensive
A $2,199 price tag for the entry-level model is more than "the typical American mortgage," says CNET. (Tack on hundreds for taxes and a basic AppleCare package.) And for most people, it's just not a very "practical" investment, says Chris Maxcer at TechNewsWorld. Apple design guru Jony Ive has gone to painstaking lengths to create what truly is a "work of art." But I decided not to buy it since I'm not a professional filmmaker or video editor. The beautiful new MacBook Pro "appeals to your heart, not your head."
3. Websites and apps aren't yet optimized for its Retina display
It's "more or less a certainty that laptops all over are about to make a strong push for high-resolution displays," says Ross Miller at The Verge. The more HD screens that hit on the market, "the more websites and applications... will be optimized for [them]." But right now that isn't the case. If you decide to purchase the new MacBook Pro, "you'll be waiting on the world to change."
4. Laptops may become obsolete
Apple is schizophrenic, says Farhad Manjoo at Slate. On one hand it's trying to kill the PC with the iPad, but it also keeps "extending the life of the personal computer with notebooks like the Air." It's as if Henry Ford released the Model-T, but "was also working on a way to breed faster, less smelly horses." There will eventually be a convergence as MacBooks pick up more of the iPad's features. "In three years' time, what will be the difference between a $499 iPad and a $999 MacBook?"
5. Cheaper Retina displays may be coming soon
For now the new MacBook is "the best all-around" notebook that Apple makes, says CNET. But "it feels like a rest stop on the road to... a not-too-distant future when all laptops are paper-thin and feather light." Don't be shocked when Retina displays filter down to less expensive laptops — like the $999 MacBook Air — sometime soon. And that might be worth holding out for.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why GOP reformers are bound to fail
- Sex can't explain the culture war
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- How the battle for religious freedom became a nonsensical free-for-all
- This simple hack for slicing cherry tomatoes will astound you
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
Subscribe to the Week