Joseph Thomas

Earlier this week, Cupertino, Calif. based Apple Inc. unveiled their latest addition to the MacBook Pro lineup. The new MacBook Pro with Retina Display encompasses the best of the original MacBook Pro – raw processing power – with the portability of the MacBook Air.

Most notably, Apple forgoes the traditional hard drive in lieu of Flash-based storage and axes the aging SuperDrive altogether. These modifications, among others, enable them to achieve the ultrathin design. Apple assumes folks typically don’t use these legacy features, such as Ethernet, on a daily basis.

For the most part, they’re right. I won several Macs with optical drives, and very rarely do I insert a DVD. Nor do I use a wired Ethernet cable with my MacBook Pro, either. And those who absolutely need these features can order adapters. I envision Ethernet adapters being popular in the business community, where sometimes a wireless connection isn’t an option due to security reasons.

If you need those features, don’t let that influence your purchase. Ask yourself if you need those features while in the field. Chances are, you don’t. The adapter, for home or office use, will suffice in 99 percent of the cases.

What about the hard drive?

What about it? The new hard drives in the Retina MacBook Pro are extremely fast, resulting in increased productivity. Imagine how many minutes you’d save each day in startup time. Those seconds undoubtedly add up over a year.

If you’re a music junkie or have tons of large files, as in the case for graphic designers and videographers, the limitations of Flash storage are worrisome. Fortunately, most of your problems can be solved using a USB 3.0 external hard drive or cloud storage. To ensure you have enough room to process your files internally first, consider opting for the 768 GB model, although most will be fine with the 512 GB version.

For average folks, the 256 GB version is plenty. Most people rarely use their full MacBook Pro hard disk, unless they are into imaging, video, or music. It’s completely viable to assume the 256 GB option can meet your needs. And given the high prices of Flash these days, you’ll be better off.

Can I upgrade it later?

Sorry, Modder’s and hobbyists, the new Retina MacBook Pro isn’t upgradeable once purchased. So, choose wisely, my Mac friends, or forever hold your peace. Recent reports indicate the screen is soldered onto the lid of the unit, and the RAM and hard drive are saudered onto the motherboard. Luckily, Apple is pretty good about repairing machines. Unfortunately, they don’t offer AppleCare+ yet for Macs, even though they should.

Who shouldn’t buy the MacBook Pro with Retina Display?

The new MacBook Pro isn’t for everyone, especially given its high price. Folks who do not need the latest – and greatest – technology can likely find older generations, such as the Early 2011 MBPs, at a deep discount. This approach only works if the unit is severely discounted, I’d say more than $700 off MSRP. Otherwise, you can buy the new, non-Retina MacBook Pros with Ivy Bridge starting at $1,500.

What about the 17-inch MacBook?

Unbeknownst to us, Apple quietly killed their 17-inch MacBook Pro by not refreshing it as part of their WWDC 2012 event. It’s too early to say whether Apple killed the machine for good, but it will likely not be refreshed. I imagine they’ll employ a similar strategy with the 17-inch MBP as they did with the Mac Pro: death by age. They might sell the computer, but it will be the Late 2011 model with Sandy Bridge. Surprisingly, the 17-inch MacBook isn’t Apple’s top seller, as people began valuing portability over functionality.

Can I use my old power cord with the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display?

The new MacBook Pros are not compatible with existing MagSafe power adapters, as the new design is slightly bigger. However, Apple plans on selling MagSafe adapters that allow you to use your “old” power bricks. Unfortunately, the latest 27-inch Cinema Display is incompatible with the new MagSafe adapter on the 2012 MacBook Pros.

Did you buy a new MacBook Pro with Retina Display?

Were you one of the first Apple fans to buy the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display? Or are you waiting for the first reviews to come in? The new machine is undoubtedly powerful, but can it live up to its $2,400 price? And can you really notice the difference in resolution? In 3-4 weeks, we'll find out!