MacBook Pro retina pricing

I usually like reading ReadWriteWeb, but I think this article this morning is just link bait (which obviously worked, because I’m linking to it):

Buying a MacBook Pro with Retina means shelling out at least $2,199 for a notebook with a 15.4-inch, 2880×1800 display. Top-end models approach $3,500!

By comparison, the cheapest 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,799, with half the resolution and a different but roughly comparable set of features and specifications. (The Retina version is smaller and lighter but lacks a DVD drive, and uses expensive Flash storage instead of a slower conventional hard drive.)

Anyone who has used an SSD knows there’s nothing “roughly comparable” between the these two computers’ configurations. But we can help them with the math.

Let’s take the cheapest 15-inch at $1799. To get “roughly comparable”, we’ll need to upgrade the RAM to 8GB ($100), and upgrade to the same 256GB SSD ($500), for a total of $2399. You could add another $100 to upgrade to the 1680×1050 hi-res screen, but let’s assume you don’t want that.

To be fair, that machine will have a DVD drive and an ethernet port. So, let’s add those to the base retina MacBook Pro. Base model is $2199, add the USB SuperDrive ($79), and add the Thunderbolt ethernet adapter ($29), for a total of $2307.

So the retina MBP is actually cheaper – AND it comes with 1GB of video RAM, vs. 512MB in the classic MBP.

Is the retina MBP expensive for a laptop? Yes. But none of the 15-inch MacBook Pros are cheap. The new model with the retina display is actually quite aggressively priced, IMHO, as compared with the prior models.

One thought on “MacBook Pro retina pricing

  1. Fredric Paul

    Greg, thanks for the kind words about ReadWriteWeb.

    As for this story, apart from the Retina screen itself, you can’t buy a MacBook Pro with Retina display without paying a lot of more than a standard MacBook Pro, which is already far more computer than most people who buy it really need . Yes, it comes with a lot of other
    stuff, and yes SSDs cost more than HDDs, that’s why so few people order them on standard laptops. But with the Retina model, you have no choice but to spend more to get all the nice-to-have, high-end components whether or not you really want or need them.

    If you want to quibble with the $400 figure, fine. But the fact remains that MacBook Pro with Retina display is a very expensive machine that will deliver limited additional benefits for most users – but everyone wants one anyway because it’s pretty and because Apple
    has done a great job of positioning it as a desirable status symbol.

    We thought that was worthy of discussion.


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