Battle of the 13" - MBA vs upcoming rMBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by RightMACatU, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. RightMACatU macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2012
    I'm days away from hitting the BUY button on a 2012 13" MBA Ultimate (i7/8/512) with ML and we now hear that the 13" rMBP is right around the corner... Great!? (in a sarcastic way)

    So, if an Ultimate MBA costs $2,200 and a 15" 2.3GHz/8/256 costs also $2,200... How much will the 13" rMBP be? Could we get the 8/512 for let's say $2,400?

    For me, this extra $200 would really be worth it. Let me hear you...
  2. Glockron macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2012
    I highly doubt there's a 13" rMBP around the corner. There are limits to what Apple can do in a 13" enclosure. Currently MBA is using all the space it has. A retina display not only requires more battery life, but also more computing power.

    I see the rMBP as the replacement of the now obsolete (except if you upgrade) 13" MacBook Pro. I don't really see it competing with the Air.

    Also - they're not likely to butcher a product so shortly after the WWDC updates. I'd say we don't see an rMPB 13" until at least the Haswell refresh.
  3. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    I agree. I doubt the rMBP 13" is around the corner. And even if it was, it'd be a 2560x1600 resolution, which is nothing but a glorified 1280x800 resolution (same screen real state, more crispiness). Besides, I'm not sure how it'd affect battery life and heat outputs.

    All in all, I'm not excited about the rMBP 13" at all. I still believe the MBA is Apple's best 13" offer.
  4. Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
  5. LYFK macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    I'm in a similar predicament as the OP, I cancelled an order last night because of the latest rumor. If I could get a 13" rMBP for anywhere between $1629 and $2400, I would not hesitate.

    I know the MBA is a great machine, really I'm just skittish because I'm a strategic buyer AND seller. I try to buy it when I need it AND when it's a good time sell my older machine/device. I've been doing it since 2004, it's a habit.

    I'll probably 'suck it up' and get an ultimate MBA 13", but I'm going to cringe a little if they release a 13" rMBP a month later. Even if we don't think it can be done, I feel like that's exactly what people were saying about the 15" rMBP.

    I am definitely a 'pro' user, but mobility is just as important a factor, and balancing the two is starting to wear me down!
  6. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you're torn between the fully decked out 2012 13" MacBook Air (a surprisingly popular choice in the Mac community, it'd seem) and the would-be 13" Retina MacBook Pro, I'm going to have to say that you ought to go with the former. My reasoning is this: after playing with the 15" Retina MacBook Pro, I can safely say that, if everything (in terms of apps and web content) were developed to take advantage of the retina screen, it'd be fist-fulls of win, but in 2012 it isn't. If you buy a retina display MacBook Pro (regardless of the physical screen size) most things as they run today will look pixelated and like crap and sadly, while apps might get their **** together, the rest of the internet (in terms of optimizing web content) likely won't. By the time retina is standardized, whatever retina MacBook Pro you could buy in 2012 will be on the verge of being obsolete (as in, unable to run whatever the modern version of OS X is at the time). For that reason, I'd say go with the souped up 13" Air as it stands today. Nothing you run on it will look like crap and with 8GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD space, you're good for the long haul for sure. By the time you are ready to replace this machine naturally, maybe Mac software and Internet content will be more or less retina-ready.

    The 15" Retina MacBook Pro is designed to be able to run on the Intel HD 4000 when in battery-saving mode. Therefore, if a 13" Retina MacBook Pro lacked a discrete GPU, it, in theory, ought to still be able to function. Let's remember that a 13" "retina" panel would likely have fewer pixels to push than the 15" panel currently in use.

    It's very much clear that, especially while rocking a 1280x800 (instead of 1400x900 like on the 13" Air) in 2012, the 13" MacBook Pro as we know it today has its days numbered. Same with the non-retina 15". To call it now-obsolete, on the other hand, seems premature.

    Apple unveiled the iSight model iMac G5s three months before replacing them with the Early 2006 Core Duo equivalents. (Though if memory serves, they were sold side-by-side for a month or two.) Apple is perfectly capable of repeating this sort of thing again with the 13" MacBook Pro (let alone with the 15" MacBook Pro as well). They clearly see the transition from Hard-Drive/Optical-Drive/Removable-RAM to integrated-everything as a substantial move and are clearly trying to take their time with it as they'd be morons to assume that, as stubborn computer users, we'd just roll with it overnight.
  7. RightMACatU thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2012
    Makes total sense.
  8. Wokis macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2012
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Well the 13" MBP is kinda in a weird place already in many people's eyes already since the performance difference between it and the air is very small. Then there's those who appreciate the ethernet, optical drive and replaceable parts. And well, they have their model for this year, at least.

    A 13" RMBP wouldn't in my view intrude on any of their other two 13" notebooks (though one of them is dated and is not likely going to be around for another refresh). It'd be the cream of the crop and would likely cost way more than the former two.

    It'd likely be "fatter" than the Air, skipping the wedge shape, thus allowing for a larger battery.
  9. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008
    Im kind of in the same situation, might even go with a PC if I don't want to wait until the 13" rMBP is out because I don't know if I can live another year with the Air's crappy resolution.
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Display resolution and mobile GPU are the major deciding factors for my next purchase. I have been using 1280 x 800 on a notebook since...2003.
  11. Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    We've been hearing rumors of the 13" RMBP for a while, but we really don't know for sure whether one is going to come out (title is somewhat misleading).

    As for prices, my guess is that $2400 is about right. I'd predict $1800 for the low end model, $2400 for the higher-end 512GB model.
  12. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    One of the most often cited reasons against 13" rMBP is graphics. 15" rMBP pushes 2.6 million pixels (2880x1800). Rumored 13" rMBP will likely push 2 million pixels (2560x1600). 15" rMBP has the luxury of having both integrated (Intel HD 4000) and discrete graphics (NVIDIA 650M). 13" rMBP will probably be limited to integrated (Intel HD 4000).

    So is Intel HD 4000 up to stuff? Using 15" rMBP in integrated mode, HD 4000 is generally capable of pushing 2.6 million pixels. But it struggles at time, noted by choppy frame rate when animating Mission Control or scrolling long website in Safari. Intel HD 5000 due next year be more ideal solution for driving 2+ million pixels. But for now, I think Apple will consider Intel HD 4000 to be good enough for the masses.

    As for the price, using 15" rMBP vs. 15" cMBP as a yardstick, 13" rMBP with 256GB will likely be priced at $1599-1699, or $100-200 premium over higher-end 13" MBA configuration.
  13. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    The ultimate MBA does have double the SSD storage space of the base rMBP, but if you're going to spend THAT kind of money get the rMBP.

    $2200 for a laptop is a pretty ridiculous amount of money IMO, but if you want it, get it.
  14. Phil22 macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2009
    Davidkoh does the air have a quite a bad resolution? I read reviews on amazon and everybody mentions how good the display is, however, I trust what you guys say more.

    I notice on wikiedpia that the air has been sporting the same resolution since late 2010.
  15. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    My imagined rMBP 13 has one advantage over the 13" Air for me. Two TB ports and presumably the graphics guts to drive two TB Displays. That's right, one 27" display isn't enough for me!
  16. LYFK macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    Most everyone echo the same remarks wrt specs: buy what you need. If you need storage space more than you need cpu or gpu performance, shouldn't that be the deciding factor? A rMBP w/512GB will cost another $600, and a $2200 cMBP performs great and has 750GB HDD but loses points on mobility.
  17. blufire95 macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2012
    I think only the haswell CPU with the HD 5000(?) can handle 2560x1600 and two Thunderbolt Displays. So we will see the rMBP 13" in 2013 and not this year.
  18. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2011
    i'd say it depends on what you're using the storage for. If it's for media when you're home, then a 2TB 2.5" usb3.0 should do the trick. I think the main issue is people who must have the optical drive on the go and don't want to lug a super drive with them (technically these could be ripped to the aforementioned 2tb external for much less than upgrading the internal ssd.) If SSD speeds are needed there are also external options for that especially given the two TB ports you shouldn't be limited in any way except financially perhaps.
  19. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008
    I would say it was a great resolution when it came out compared to the competition, but I think the resolution is lacking a bit if we look at todays technology. The screen is decent in all the other regards, it's just that I think that 1440x900 is not enough on a 13".
  20. LYFK macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    So then technically the most pragmatic option would be to get the 1.8Ghz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, + a portable usb3 external for media. (Something like $1800 total?)

    That way, it should perform well and if something better comes along (such as a 13" rMBP), sell the machine before the 1yr warranty is up for a little under $1100?)

    Then really (minus the external HD), you're spending about $1.50/day to own an interim solution.

    Seem feasible?
  21. GoSooners macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2011
    Although 1440x900 may be the 13"s Best for Retina, there will probably be the additional resolutions to gain more screen estate just like with the 15" rMBP.

    I find a good balance whilst not having to sit too close with the 1680 x 1050 resolution on the rMBP. Hopefully by the time the 13" is released, the lag issues will be fixed with these higher resolutions with Mountain Lion.

    Additional needs to keep in mind when comparing to the MBA... is that there are additional features that would be advantageous to your non-typical consumer such as dual Thunderbolt ports and an HDMI port (assuming it carries over). This will be useful especially for me where I can still drive two external displays (non-Thunderbolt Displays) at work and be able to drive my TBD display at home (will probably add another one since the Intel HD4000 can support dual TBDs with the latest MBA).

    After "owning" the 15" rMBP for a couple weeks, and with my necessary use of Windows applications running natively in Windows (AutoCAD and other engineering software), the discrete GPU would have to be used. In an office setting where I am 50% of the time, this is fine but when travelling, utilizing integrated graphics takes less of a toll on battery usage and would give me a couple more hours (see Anandtech's data on battery usage between discrete and integrated GPU on the 15" rMBP). The form factor was just a bit large for me and hoping the 13" would provide a suitable compromise.
  22. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    from what's being rumoured, a 13" rMBPro may appear late Sept/early October.
    price is an unknown, though it'd have to be dearer than the Air which makes the MBA the better value - hands down.

    noting others comments about the pro's and cons of the 15" rMBP, Apple would need to get their stuff together to make a 13" model 'simply work'

    the resolution in the Air is crisp bright and very readable
    a 13" rMBP would provide that extra grunt that some users need, but that most of us don't.

    it all comes down to value for money, but I wouldn't be holding off buying an Air to await (3 months at least) a rumoured rMBP

    my $2 worth
  23. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008
    Yeah, for me the sweet spot with resolution is a 1920x1080 (or 1920x1200) on 13". I wouldn't want much more though (I am not talking scaled here).
  24. mrs1986 macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2011
    What??? 1440x900 is not enough?? You got to be kidding me...

    You guys should be aware that a "retina" 13" will be the SAME real state screen just more pixels per pixel?

    I think the people saying 1440x900 is not enough in a 13 inch screen have no idea about anything... When you have to work in a computer you have to be "comfortable" at doing it, i dont think that a 2880x1800 resolution in a 13 inch screen could be comfortable, is just ridiculous and makes no sense.

    YES you will have a super ultra whooper doble resolution in your tiny screen but you wont see a **** in it...

    God, people dont know what they are talking about these days... They just want more and more more more more useless things on their computer....

  25. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008
    No, a retina MBP would not be the same real estate. I would bet you could configure it to run resolutions for more real estate in the same manner you can configure the 15" rMBP to run at 1920x. You don't seem to know what you are talking about.

    I have no problem using 1920x1080 on a 13" at all, 1440x900 is too little real estate for me.

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