Sweet-spot MacBook Pro Retina now in stock at Apple Stores
A problem I always face when ordering a new Mac is that I want more power or memory than the standard models available for over-the-counter sale at the local Apple Store. As a result I invariably end up ordering from the on-line store and waiting for delivery. It's encouraging, therefore, that Apple appears to have addressed this problem with the latest upgrade to the 13in retina-screen MacBook Pro. In addition to the standard basic configurations Apple's high-street stores are now stocking what I consider to be the sweet-spot specification for this computer.
Until a couple of weeks ago the faster model with 3.1GHz i7, beefed-up 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD was on special order. Now you can walk in and buy this powerhouse for £1,729. In my view it makes sense to get the fastest processor available at any particular time since, by the end of its three-year life, the computer will be looking pretty pedestrian in performance terms. Choosing the current base configuration could mean you will need to upgrade sooner and, as a result, it is false economy.
I am also a firm believer in cramming in as much RAM as possible, which is 16GB in the case of the MacBook Pro. In my desktop iMac I went for the 32GB maximum because, in the real world, more RAM is the key to faster processing, especially where demanding jobs such as video or photography are concerned.
The final decision is on the amount of storage. Solid-state drives are much faster than traditional mechanical drives (which are no longer on offer for the MacBook Pros) but the speed of the SSD is also important. In the latest MacBook Pros the drive speed has been more than doubled and this, also, will punch above its weight when it comes to processing times. As for the amount of storage, 512GB is currently the true sweet spot. Unless you really do need to store large amounts of data inside the computer (as opposed to using cheaper external drives), the 1TB option is overkill and is very expensive—too expensive in my view. On the other hand, the standard 256GB drive is probable too small in the modern world.
The new sweet-spot MacBook Pro with its upgraded processor, 16GB of memory and 512GB SSD is the ideal tool for travelling. It is lighter and thinner than the previous generation and, although some 600g heavier than the new lightweight MacBook, the Pro is in a completely different league when it comes to processing power and sheer ability. It also offers a full complement of ports for universal connectivity. It is good that you can now walk into your nearest store and buy this dream laptop over the counter instead of waiting for it to be built to special order.