Apple announced the "next generation" MacBook Pro at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference Monday, with most in attendance and tech writers everywhere salivating over it—but for now, it may be more of a niche product than a gamechanger.
By almost any measure, the computer is the most powerful commercial laptop ever created. It packs Intel's new Ivy Bridge processor—which is faster and uses less battery than previous processors—ultra fast internal storage, and is somehow thinner and lighter than Apple's previous MacBook Pro line.
But what has everyone talking most is the 15-inch Retina display, a screen with a higher definition than some of the best HDTVs and so many pixels that they can't be deciphered with the naked eye.
Ben Bajarin, an analyst with Techpinions.com, says it's "the best display on a notebook [he] has ever seen" and said it "set a new bar for a display on a notebook."
Similarly-detailed displays made their way to the iPhone 4 and the new iPad earlier this year, but it might take consumers longer to adopt the newest MacBook Pro.
With the iPhone and iPad, the Retina display was a built-in upgrade featured across all price points. The Retina MacBook Pro, on the other hand, costs $2,199 for a base 15-inch model and $2,799 for the fastest, top-of-the-line model. Upgrades to Apple's existing MacBook Pro line feature similar Ivy Bridge processors and other impressive specs at cheaper price points.
Until the cost of a Retina display drops to a point where Apple can include it on its base models, it's likely most people will continue living in a slightly less HD world.
"I think there's certainly a hunger for it among creative professionals. It may not be a giant [market], but I think it's an attractive price point for the value and experience," Bajarin says. He says that Apple will likely incorporate the Retina display into some of the base models as time goes on.
Don't expect to see similarly detailed displays in Windows laptops anytime soon, either. Bajarin says Apple has all but cornered the creative professionals market, while PC manufacturers are working on dropping prices.
"PC vendors are focused on $799 and below, that's the area Apple doesn't play in," he says. "You can't compete in $799 and below and put these innovations in, so they're working on the stuff Apple's not going to do."
Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org