13-inch Mac Book Pro rumored to be going Retina as soon as this fall

13-inch Mac Book Pro rumored to be going Retina as soon as this fall

Following the introduction of the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro at WWDC 2012, it should come as no surprise that more of Apple's Mac line will be making the @2x transition. The question is when. And the answer, at least for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, could be as early as this fall according to what NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim told CNET:

Production has begun of a 2,560-by-1,600 pixel density display that will land on a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro, NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim told CNET.

"The supply chain indications are that it's for a MacBook Pro 13.3 -- not a MacBook Air," said Shim. Displays are being made by Samsung, LGD, and Sharp, he said.

Larger desktop displays like the iMac and 27-inch Thunderbolt are challenged by cost and yield rate. Smaller laptop displays are challenged by battery life and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) power. 2560x1600 is less than the current 15.4"-inch Retina MacBook Pro's 2880x1800 but not by much, and would clearly look spectacular at 13.3-inches. However, the current Retina MacBook Pro drives its GPU flat out to run that display. And unlike the 15-inch MacBooks, however, the 13-inch line currently only has the built in Intel HD Graphics 4000, and not the additional, discreet NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. In addition to battery enough to support a 2560x1600, would Apple need to add a discreet GPU as well? How would those twin concerns, along with the thinner, optical drive-free design resolve themselves at 13-inches?

Whether this specific report is accurate or not is hard to say. It is highly detailed, and Apple is absolutely working on more Retina Macs, so it'll be interesting to see how the timeline plays out. The iPhone went Retina at 640x960 in 2010, and the iPod touch only a few months later. It took the iPad until 2012 to go Retina at 1356x2048, and the first Mac a few months more at 2560x1600.

We're still on the first generation, bleeding edge of Retina Macs, though. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is so outstanding, however, that growing pains, if any, are well worth it.

Anyone been waiting on a smaller, likely cheaper point of entry for a Retina MacBook Pro? If -- and it's still an if -- Apple does have a 13-inch MacBook Pro ready to ship this fall, will you be ready to pull the trigger?

Source: CNET

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

13-inch Mac Book Pro rumored to be going Retina as soon as this fall


I agree with Marco Arment's review/tweets - tempting, but i cant jump quite yet - but definitely within the next couple of years as the rest of the hardware catches up.

To bad they discontinued the 17" model line. I agree it would be impressive with Retina displays, and always wondered why Apple never made the full keyboard (with full numeric pad on the right side) on the 17" MB Pro in particular. I still feel it could be offered as an option on the 15" models, but it seems extremely unlike Apple will do this after all these years.

This is certainly not a surprise, and a predictable path for Apple to follow. But at 13.3" I'd be more inclined to wait for Retina to show up on the 13.3" MB Air.

And that, of course, brings up the idea of having Retina displays on the 11" MB Air...

I like the direction we are going towards Retina displays but I'm not ready to pull the trigger yet. I have the new iPad and an HTC Rezound both with Retina quality pixel densities. I'm sold on the quality of the image and text displayed but I'm not ready to absorb the cost associated with the retina MacBook yet. My wife and I have decided our next laptop will be a Mac but we are waiting for our Dell to actually die before we buy one. Hopefully it makes it a couple more years and the Air line will be Retinized by then.