SAN FRANCISCO--The new Retina Display Macbook Pro made its debut at Moscone Center and drew a large crowd of fans, positioning their iPhones to snap pictures of the newest member of the Mac family. It was like a crowd ogling the Hope Diamond under impenetrable plexiglass at the Smithsonian or the stars walking the Hollywood red carpet at the Oscars.
It's part of Apple's magic stage act, which can make ordinary products look extraordinary and extraordinary products appear as works of other-worldly artistic and technical wizardry. With Tim Cook and his lieutenants taking over where Steve Jobs left off, the reality distortion field is not as strong, but there is still some engineering, if not performance, magic on stage.
"It's the most beautiful computer we've ever made," said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing. "There has never been a notebook this thin, this light, and this powerful. It's an engineering breakthrough," Schiller beamed.
The MacBook Pro is Apple's attempt to meld features from the MacBook Air, its predecessor MacBook Pro, and the latest iPad into a sleek aluminum body.
, Apple's latest laptop is unique, and defined by the trade-offs in its feature set:
At first glance, the new Pro covers a lot of our wish-list bullet points for a dream Air-Pro hybrid, although you'll have to pay a pretty penny to get one. Some features are notably absent by design: no Ethernet port, no optical drive, no 16:9 screen. Still, this new Pro looks like Apple's take on the 15-inch MacBook Air, done in high style.
High style doesn't translate into mass appeal, but the new, slimmer Macbook Pro could be popular with video editors and those who cannot live without 220 pixels-per-inch on the screen, up to 768GB of Flash storage, 7 hours of battery life, and an HDMI port. The MacBook Pro is available starting today, starting at $2,199. The plexiglass enclosure is extra.