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Issue: July 1, 2012

Editor's Letter: Pros weigh in on the new MacBook Pro

By: Randi Altman
Last month Apple introduced what they are calling an “all-new” MacBook Pro with a 15-inch Retina display. It offers Flash storage and third-generation quad-core Intel processors. It’s also noticeably thinner and lighter than its predecessor, coming in at 0.71 inches and 4.46 pounds — almost as thin as the MacBook Air. 
Apple points out that Flash is four times faster than a hardware-based computer, which will make many post pros happy. But they might have to wait a bit for their favorite software to be optimized in the display. While your apps will work, as of this writing only Apple software takes full advantage of the new resolution — this includes Aperture and Final Cut Pro X, and OS X Lion.

Brooklyn-based VFX supervisor/producer Eric Alba got a look at the new offering. “It’s fast, it’s thin, it’s quiet. The screen is gorgeous. I see details in photos and HD video I’ve never seen before. I compared it to the current non-Retina 15-inch and the difference in screens is immediately noticeable. The screen size allows for full-res HD video with room to spare on your screen. The details you see are stunning.”

That’s what we’ve been hearing — how this laptop with Retina will help pros work faster, with much more accuracy, and from anywhere. 
Max Nova, owner of editing house Shellac/NY, says laptops have always had a prime place in his company’s ecosystem. “My main work computer is a MacBook and has been for five years. I still edit on it regularly — with an extended keyboard, wireless mouse, additional monitor, and FireWire 800 RAIDs/network drives as needed.”  

He feels like he’s been “waiting forever to become completely untethered in post — from analog and digital SD and HD video, and graphics cards, and giant shared storage servers, and the jet engine squeal of freezing machine rooms filled with dinosaur devices sadly committed to dead codecs. Not that I’m predicting any format extinctions in post any time soon. I’m just happy that 80 percent of the work (99 percent of the creative?) really doesn’t need any of the above, towers included — though my keyboard, mouse and monitor preference may make me a bit of a workflow snob.”

Santa Monica-based VFX artist Jim Geduldick calls the new MacBook a “power beast. The resolution is amazing; we just need the apps to catch up. We can view near-native resolution in better detail a lot of the high-end images we are shooting. Two Thunderbolt ports, HDMI and SSD standard…”

While he’s excited about this laptop, he is also excited about the HP z820 towers. “I’m hope to get my hands on a tricked-out z820 this summer.  Also a new DreamColor coming out at SIGGRAPH.”