We knew new MacBooks were on their way sooner or later, and anyone who held back to buy a new model (myself included) found themselves rewarded with an across-the-board set of updates.
Aside from that exciting and extremely expensive $2,199 machine, however, Apple's new lineup of MacBooks doesn't differ all that much from last year's lineup. Unless you want to spend north of $2,000, your Apple upgrade path for laptops involves choosing either an Air or a thicker Pro.
The future of Apple's MacBook Pros looks to reside in that newly designed Retina Display model, whether you like it or not. If that's the case -- and in the future these redesigned Pros become the core of Apple's product line -- here's what I'd want to see.
4G. I was wrong...the new MacBooks have no built-in mobile broadband options whatsoever. They've already figured out how to get 4G on an iPad, and the presumably the next iPhone; why can't they get 4G into a larger laptop, a feat most other manufacturers have managed?
Ethernet. The new Retina Display Pro relies on an adapter to add a Gigabit Ethernet port. Maybe Ethernet is the optical drive of the future, a feature best relegated to being optional instead of included. Still, the new Pro has plenty of room to fit one in. I know it'll never happen...but then again, USB 3.0 and HDMI appeared this year, so maybe anything's possible.
A larger, non-SSD hard drive. Pro users want lots of storage for videos, high-res photos, and graphics files. Sure, you can buy a fast external drive, and spinning hard drives use more power and have slower access speeds, but why not offer larger storage options in magnetic or hybrid hard-drive configurations? Flash gets incredibly expensive: going from 512GB to 768GB costs an extra $500 on Apple's Web site.
A bigger trackpad. Believe it or not, but Apple's once-tremendous multitouch clickpad doesn't seem quite so epic anymore, especially framed in the larger-bodied 15-inch Retina Pro. Maybe I'm spoiled by the even larger Magic Trackpad, but an expanded area would be welcome.
Edge-to-edge screen. MacBook Pros still employ a fair amount of bezel around the screen and the keyboard. I don't really crave edge-to-edge screen so much as I crave a smaller footprint. If a 15-inch Pro could be put into the chassis of a 14-inch laptop, the larger Pro could feel far more portable, much like the Samsung Series 9 15-inch ultrabook.Optional non-Retina Display on the thin Pro. Sacrilege, I know...but the truth is, having a Retina Display on a MacBook Pro is a luxury. I want the thin chassis of the new Pro with some of the flexible lower-priced options in the thicker Pros. I think I'm not alone in that regard, based on talking to a few friends since the WWDC keynote.
Make it clearer what model I want to buy. Maybe it's not fair to judge this year's crop of MacBooks that way, but Apple has always had the advantage of a clear, simple product line. Between the Airs, the Pros, and the new MacBook Pro, the lineup risks being a little fragmented. The truth is, I want the thin feel of the Air and the capability of the Pro, but I can't afford the new Retina MacBook Pro. Comparatively, the iPad has a range of basic models that don't vary too much in price, making the decision a lot easier. I hope that there will be consolidation next year, when the design of the new MacBook Pro trickles down to replace the "older" design Pros.
What do you want on the next MacBook Pro, or are you happy with Apple's new models as they currently stand?
Read our review of the 15-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro.