Again, Apple gets all the attention

Apple has trumped the PC guys again. This time in a laptop category that HP or Dell should own.

15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.  A product that HP or Dell could have (should have) done?
15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. A product that HP or Dell could have (should have) done? Apple

So, why does the world obsess about the newest MacBook Pro and not competing laptops from Hewlett-Packard or Dell?

Let's just say that Apple has an innate sense about good design.

And you can bet Microsoft has uttered this sentiment behind closed doors more than a few times -- thus, the Microsoft-designed Surface tablet announcement this week.

But let's focus on the Retina MacBook Pro for now. That's a design that any PC maker could have feasibly done.

Big 15-inch class laptops fall right into the wheel house of the PC guys. Dell did the XPS 15z . HP has the Envy 15. But neither of those are comparable to the 0.7-inch thick, quad-core Retina Pro.

Vizio seems to be thinking like Apple: they came out with an ultrathin 15-inch laptop around the same time that Apple introduced the Retina MBP.  And Vizio's lineup is limited like Apple
Vizio seems to be thinking like Apple: they came out with an ultrathin 15-inch laptop around the same time that Apple introduced the Retina MBP. And Vizio's lineup is limited, like Apple's. Vizio

One of the few to get close is Vizio with its 4-pound 15.6-inch CT15, which offers resolutions up to 1,920 by 1,080.

And maybe that's the point. Vizio is not a traditional PC maker. It's best known for HDTVs. And it seems to be focused on a different kind of aesthetic than Dell or HP.

We'll see if Vizio can stick it out. Dell, to its credit, has had designs like the Adamo and Latitude z600 (see photo below), but never persevered.

Apple does, sticking with innovative designs like the MacBook Air (introduced way back in 2008) until it finds the design formula and market timing that works.

And it gets all the attention. The company certainly has my attention. The standard 15-inch MacBook Pro never appealed to me. Neither did PCs.

But now Apple has reinvented the 15-inch laptop, which builds on the Air but adds a display to kill for. (Yeah, Retina is a marketing thing but it's also very real. I willfully cave to Apple's hype in this case.)

So, are we going to see something comparable from the PC guys? Sony could do a 15-inch Vaio Z or Lenovo a ThinkPad X1 Carbon. But I'm not holding my breath that they'll set the world on fire.

Look, Mom, no optical drive. Dell did that way back in 2009.  And could have persevered with the 0.55-inch thick 16-inch Latitude z600, perfecting the design -- but didn't.
Look, Mom, no optical drive. Dell did that way back in 2009. And could have persevered with the 0.55-inch thick 16-inch Latitude z600, perfecting the design -- but didn't. Dell
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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