Apple 13 Inch Retina Laptop: A Review (Contains References to Fire, Alcohol and Bananas)

Posted on 16/11/2012 by


Yesterday my new pony (er, laptop) arrived. And because it is so shiny (wonderful, brilliant, distracting) I did not write anything (brilliant, scintillating, or lunatic) to share with you this morning.

Claire: Does the baby have a name yet?
Me: I think I’m going to go with Rick’s idea and call him Bar Drake.
Claire: So Kandace spends most of her time flat out on the couch hugging the Bar then?
Me: Heh. Yeah… You know when you put it like that I sound like a total delinquent.
Claire: Sound like? la la la. You know there is a reason I like you.
Me: Oh dear.

So instead, an impromptu review of the new toy! In case any of you want one of your very own. Or think it’s funny watching me push buttons and bounce up and down in my chair when they do stuff.

Warning: Review may contain thoroughly biased opinions, weaponry and random violence. Also, possibly bananas. I’m not ruling anything out.

Me: I think the delivery guy was giggling at me. Possibly I looked too happy to see him. Now the question is: what to do? Do I unwrap him?
Rick: Yes.
Me: You should see the box he’s in. It’s teeny! Well, first to deal with the packaging… Noooo. Packaging too good. Can’t. Get. In!
Rick: lol. There is a pocketknife by the bed.
Me: It has no voolnerables! Am applying sword to the problem… Hah! Success! Have penetrated airlock. Smells funny. Come to me my pretty…

So, little book of pony care instructions: Feed oats when good. Don’t forget to check hooves. No wait… Other kind of pony.

Claims to be a 13.3 inch laptop. Wherefore this extra third of an inch?

Aw, comes with its own screen cleaner. Also claims iPhoto is the best way to work with your photos. Lies.

Ooh, this is my favourite bit so far: “This computer is not intended for use in the operation of nuclear facilities, aircraft navigation or communications systems, air traffic control systems, or for any other uses where a failure of the computer system could lead to death, personal injury, or severe environmental damage.” What do you think they’re trying to say here?

Ignore booklet. Booklet filled with lies and misdirections. What else is in the box?

Ah. Weird freaky power cable. Still sad about that. I mean, honestly, they changed the design back to the stupid-let’s-catch-on-fire design.* Even if you’re of the majority of people who have never had their laptop catch on fire** the new/old design is dumb.

They had a model that stuck out sideways, that caught on the things and was always getting knocked out of place and they fixed it by building a beautiful inline model (that also never caught on fire). And now they’ve changed it back. Because they are challenging me.

But I don’t want to set my new pony on fire. I like him.

Me: He is all smooth and curvy. Whoa. Weird power button. And the power button is where the eject button used to be.
Rick: Interesting.
Me: No ejecting things for me.

Oh, Look at that. It has a magnet that will erase credit cards and hard drives. Nifty! I mean… Okay. How does one ensure that one’s stuff stays an inch away from the magnet?

Rick: Can you tell me his model identifier?
Me: Well, hang about. I haven’t turned him on yet. We’re still getting to know each other. He has all these interesting vents. And, oh, differently tactile keyboard. Or… wait, maybe it’s just that most of Pan’s keyboard has worn smooth over time. And the slightly rougher feel was the original. Keys are softer and shallower though. S’nice.

I was about to say ‘the screen seems bigger’ but I think the reality is the bevel is smaller…

Okay. Pressing the ‘go’ button. Chime!

Introducing him to Styx***… Oh fun. Time to enter my apple id. Wish me luck 🙂

Me: Just changed my apple password for the eleventybillionth time. I hate their new password requirements with the fire of a thousand suns.
Rick: Hugs. Why do you have to change it all the time?
Me: Well… mainly because it only allows you to get it wrong twice before it forces you to change it. It all started when Apple randomly decided I’d had it too long. So I changed it, but then the second time I forgot I’d changed it, so it made me change it again. And then we were in the long grass because while I can usually figure it out, I tend to need three shots at it. Also sometimes I type ineptly. And it won’t let you choose something you’ve had in the last twelve months. And has insanely nitpicky rules about what you can and can’t use.**** Head -> wall.

Ooh. Base desktop is pretty. Also, the dock shadows are creepy rather than pretty this time around. And the indicator lights are harder to make out. I wonder if I can fix that. Meanwhile, back at the ranch… The internet seems to be working.

Me: Oh lame. New OS does battery percentage rather than time. Pfft.
Rick: No option?
Me: No! There used to be an option! They took my option away! Sad panda!

I must say there are a few things about this OS that are making me go, “But why did they do that? That is dumb.” At least all the things they did that with in the last update I had the option of reversing…

Me: Am staring in some dismay at the staggering number of apps it came installed with. I am sure I do not need all of these.
Rick: 🙂
Me: I have become used to the more streamlined Pan since all those reinstalls.
Rick: Why’s it different? New OS version?
Me: Partly. And also because in the last installs I point blank refused to let it put things like iPhoto on my computer.
Rick: 🙂
Me: But there’s also a bunch of new things that I am eyeing sidelong and muttering, “Who are you and what are you doing here?” at.

Ah. That wonderful moment where you finally get to the settings menu and explain to the laptop about tap to click. Next step: a name!

Me: Oh and also My God. Have I mentioned how fast this thing is?

And then I ran away with the pony down the garden path and into Wonderland where everything opens at the speed of blinking and the clarity is almost unsettling, like you could reach into the screen, and it runs so much cooler than my old laptop I start to wonder if it’s actually on.

In short, while he is all of a day old and I am still checking his teeth, so far he is my favourite. This is why children are always afraid of their younger siblings. Concerned about being replaced. And I feel a little bad about it, I do. But Pan can relax now, all the pressure is off. We’ll hook up to play Portal 2 in a bit and the rest of the time he can kick back and have a mental margarita and have really a lot less concern about the possibility that one day I might set him on fire.

Regular 13-inch MacBook Pro next to the new Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro (late 2012 models). The Retina is a little smaller in all dimensions.

I haven’t yet figured out if the ‘little brother’ is the smaller one or the younger one…

* Possibly not its actual name.

** It’s happened to me twice. Although there were extenuating circumstances. The first time. Still. It’s not like I picked up a torch and said, “Let’s see what happens.”

*** Wifi.

**** Okay, they’re not that insane, but I have a rather high level of frustration with them by now.

Posted in: Kandace