MacBook Pro Retina — is it ready for business?
Being an early adopter is fraught with peril. One can tell digital “pioneers” because they have the arrows in them — as the first of a new series of anything always has some rough edges and a learning curve. While I consider myself more of a second wave guy, I decided to be a pioneer over the summer while I had more time to learn and experiment.
What is it?
The MacBook Pro has arguably been the gold standard of notebook computers since they first appeared. I have been a MBP user since 2007, and with minor exceptions, it has served me well. Running both Mac OSX and Windows XP applications, it’s reliable, versatile, fast, and travels well, so what could be better? An updated model! Here are some of my first impressions of the new MacBook Pro Retina.
It’s lighter and much faster; the solid state drive boots up in less than 15 seconds! Excellent screen — very clear; has a built-in HDMI port so you can plug in directly to a Flat Screen TV or other device with a HDMI port for one cable viewing for presentations and watching Internet TV (very cool). You can purchase a one-year “One-on-One” training contract for $99 at the time of purchase only, to give you unlimited training at the Apple store for Mac, iPhone and iPad training (an excellent option), but you may want to skip the extended warranty. Apple was able to transfer my old Mac applications and files over for free (you should be able to do it yourself — but my transfers didn’t work) which is a very big help as opposed to loading everything over again. I now run Parallels with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010 and instead of having to reboot to Bootcamp when I need to use a Windows application (and after much effort to install and get to work properly) it now runs seamlessly. When I click on a file, the MBP knows if I want to use a Windows or a Mac application and opens the appropriate resources and can even share files between the two operating systems (awesome — the best of both worlds.). There is also better connectivity with Apple TV.
There is no external modem option so if you need to send and receive faxes on your notebook you will have to change to an Internet fax service and if you need to use a modem for dial up, you need to do a work-around; no user serviceable battery — you have to take it to Apple to replace, which may be expensive. You need to purchase extra adapters to use an Ethernet port (for direct connection to Ethernet or for direct file transfers from other computers), another for a vga port (for use with most video projectors), it doesn’t support Firewire (high speed connections to external disk drives) but does use USB 3 which seems as fast. This could make some of your external drives obsolete. You will also have to purchase (about $75) an external optical drive to read, run, or burn CD/DVDs.
If you are a Mac fan or new to Apple devices and can afford it (it’s pricey), no problem — go for it. If you are looking to replace your current Windows business notebook computer and not a Mac user, I would go slowly, using them in parallel until you’re comfortable, but don’t wait until your notebook dies. I can see why the new MacBook Pro Retina will be the new platinum standard for universal notebook computing.