I’ve had my new 15″ MacBook Pro Retina for exactly a month today so I thought I would share my experiences with it. Seems kinda fitting for my first post on the new site since it was completely built with the new MacBook Pro Retina. Damn that’s a long name… from now on we’ll call it the MBPR.
Well first off it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) the screen is AMAZING! I still occasionally find myself in awe of how crisp text is and much detail you can see in photos. It’s absolutely stunning. However, since everything that is “retina ready” is so crisp and clean it really makes things that aren’t retina ready just look bad.
I think the guys from the Iterate podcast nailed it when they said that this is a machine for developers/photographers and not your everyday user. Why is that you ask? Well the things that a “normal” user would do such as browsing the web, or working in MS Office look “wrong”. Images aren’t clear, text isn’t crisp and in the case of any app that hasn’t been updated to support high res, everything looks fuzzy. In MS Office the Apple UI buttons for close and hide are incredibly pixelated, I’ve even found that some of Apple’s apps don’t have all of their features updated. (i.e. Genius in iTunes is still low res imagery) It took a while but Google Chrome just released their retina update and damn it looks good… but that’s just the UI. Once you start looking at websites pretty much every image is low res (pixelated) and anything using text replacement is 50/50 on if it’s going to look correct. So with all of that said, I think a user that just expects their computer to work and doesn’t understand why everything isn’t crisp, will think that something is messed up.
The reason I say it’s geared towards developers is it seems like Apple wants us to help “fix” the experience for everyone else. Obviously Apple can’t fix our apps and websites, but we can. One of the first things I did is went and fixed my logos and changed a lot of things that were image based to text. Why? Because I want it to look good for me too. We’ll immediately start fixing our Mac apps so that they can look amazing on the screen. Then, we’ll reach out to all of our clients and let them know they need to pay us to update their sites and products. (cha-ching! Thanks Apple) For photographers, as long as you’re not using Photoshop, you have amazing screen real estate to work with and unless you’re a shitty photographer your images will look more incredible than ever.
From the actual development side of things moving to the MBPR from my old 15″ MBP has been a great experience. Well, with the exception of working with images… I use Coda 2 as my editor and the guys at Panic have made their software resolution independent for a while. With the text being so crisp my eyes aren’t as tired after looking at code all day. Since Google updated Chrome, all of their webmaster tools look great. There’s definitely things I’ve changed in my workflow and how I load content but overall it’s been nice to work with because everything just looks good.
Now lets talk Photoshop… It’s absolutely miserable. I would even go as far to say unusable for web graphics. Since images for the web are 72 dpi and the retina display is 144 dpi, when you open your PSD everything is fuzzy. Imagine if on a regular machine you took a 72 dpi file and increased the size to 144 dpi. Thats what it looks like… total crap!!! It doesn’t even work well to try and build at 144 then scale down because then your width and height have to be scaled and rasterized layers start pixel shifting and babies start crying and then everything just gets ugly . So yeah… right now, working on web graphics isn’t fun. Adobe is working on a retina update for Photoshop that’s supposed to be released later this year but I’ll be really curious to see how they “fix” the 72 dpi issue. In the meantime I’ve had to use a second monitor to work in Photoshop which sucks because the point of having a laptop (for me) is to not have to plug into things. I just want to use this kick ass screen.
- Here are some other quick notes about the machine:
- Extremely light
- I don’t miss the CD drive
- Not a huge fan of the power button placement. I press it a lot when going for the delete key.
- New speakers sound great
- Battery life seems great so far
- I don’t like the new charger. I can’t set it on my lap without it disconnection. The round connector was much better.
- I did have to buy an ethernet converter
- screenshots are HUGE
- Startup is ridiculously fast
So my conclusion is that this laptop is still an amazing machine and will only get better as more apps and websites get updated. I would highly recommend this machine to another developer but I would NOT recommend it to a designer. (At least not yet…) I think the experience will be very frustrating if you constantly design for the web.
I would love to hear what you think of the MBPR or if you have any questions about my experience with it. Drop me a line in the comments.
As a side note, if you’re looking for some amazing retina desktop images check out InterfaceLIFT.